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Where not to eat - The Lyorn's Den

Wed Apr. 11th, 2012

05:20 pm - Where not to eat

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... at least when you have low blood sugar and a history of demophobia and social anxiety: here.

Yesterday I had the day off, it was a perfectly nice spring day, and I had a list of stuff I wanted to buy or at least look at, so some time before noon I bicycled into the city for some shopping (didn't get one third of what I wanted, but am happy with what I got).

Early afternoon, my mood darkened and my stomach was requesting lunch in very certain terms. I prefer to try out a new place whenever possible, and that particular one looked nice enough from the outside, pretty open, good view to the busy pedestrian zone, and I wanted pizza. Prices were a little higher than your typical pizza place, but within range for the location.

I went in and a woman sitting behind a till silently gave me a card. I stepped back to watch the proceedings. The place was about three quarters full, all tables were occupied. There were queues at the counters marked "Pasta" and "Antipasti". No queue at the pizza counter.

I formed a theory about how this worked, went to the pizza counter and ordered a pizza and a water. I got the water and a device. I stepped back to my "watch the proceedings"-position to find out what was supposed to happen next.

After some time my legs got tired and I had not yet groked how stuff worked, so I asked at a table if I could sit down there and got told off. So I continued to stand. Some people carried trays. Some waiters carried trays. There was a coffee bar in another part of the room, and a staircase in the back with people going up and down. No one had pizza.

The device in my hand said "I know when your pizza is done". My other hand got cold from holding the bottle of water. I didn't want to go upstairs because I did not know how stuff worked, and if I chose wrong, I might have had sat there forever with no pizza. Being alone, there was no way to claim some place and go scouting from there.

Instead I waited until no one was waiting at the till, went there and said, "I do not get this. How does it work?" The woman, quite put off by being asked such a stupid question, said, "This device knows when your pizza is done" (because I cannot, like, read). "And if you want to sit outside you have to pay."

I went back to my observation place. Which, it has to be said, was halfway between the door, the till and the coffee bar. Hardly inconspicuous. But at least no one seemed to have a problem with that. Still nothing happening on the pizza front.

There had been ten slips of paper at the pizza counter. Did that mean that there were ten pizzas in the queue ahead of mine?

And then my low blood sugar found my social anxiety, and they called on my demophobia for a nice game of "freak the Lyorn", and I, well, freaked. I considered attempting to cancel the order, but for the moment I was freaking out only silently, and being told off a third time might have caused me to freak out noisily. So I went to the till when no one else was there, said "I just want out of here". The silent women took my ten Euro without comment, and I ran away, leaving the card, the device, and my drink behind.

Now, that's one place I will never go to again. I told the tale to my co-workers today, and they all knew the place or others of its type and said that it had no service and what service they hadn't was lousy, and one could get a pizza faster, better, and in more comfort at every street vendor's.

Yesterday, anyway, I walked a few hundred meters to this place and sat down in a comfy little café, read about two or three pages in a motorbiking magazine, and then the friendly landlord served me enough bread, cheese, meats and cold cuts to feed two, and all that for far less than ten Euro.

Bicycling back, the wind was going my way and I was home in less than 50 minutes without even trying very hard.

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Current Mood: irritatedirritated

Comments:

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From:lexin
Date:April 11th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Did you ever find out what was supposed to happen in that place? Because that would have completely freaked me out. I hate being in that kind of situation and coffee bars in the UK can be confusing enough.
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From:lyorn
Date:April 11th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
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Talking with my co-wokers, we found the solution to the pasta situation: It's standard self service, except for the payment. You queue, they make your pasta to order, book the cost on your card, you pay when you leave.

None had ever attempted the pizza, but we agreed that at some point in time the device would probably give some kind of signal and then you go to the counter and pick it up.

The coffee bar part we didn't discuss, and we did not find an explanation for what the waiters were doing and why.

I have been at some confusing eateries where selecting, paying and receiving were in seperate places, but those usually had a layout which supported the workflow, and, most important, the staff would talk to you when you seemed lost or were asking a direct question. Or gesture, if you did not speak the language.
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From:mad_freddy
Date:April 12th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
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When I was last in the city I saw this place, had a short look inside, thought it was very weird and went somewhere else to get some food. Seems like I was lucky not to try the place (and it was packed with people and very noisy, anyway...)
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From:lyorn
Date:April 13th, 2012 07:24 am (UTC)
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Yes...

I liked their design (writing, tables), and as I tend to get overlooked by waiters, self-service has its advantages for me. But that one was just... Argh. Worst of both worlds.
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From:flederkatz
Date:April 15th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)

To be honest tha place look awful

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When you visit here the next time we could either go great pizza place, were they serve ginormous incredibly thin and absurdly yummy pizza, this amazing place were you can choose between about half a dozend different Cheese-Fondues or the infamous moving belt all-you-can-eat-sushi place....

Each one has great service and great food.
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From:lyorn
Date:April 15th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)

Re: To be honest tha place look awful

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I have a thing for minimalist long oak tables *G*

And you are not invisible -- great help in catching a waiter!

I hope I'll manage to visit in May. Music, our team "Wandertag" at work, and a firefighting training are making mincemeat of my long weekends...


Edited at 2012-04-15 20:30 (UTC)
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