June 8, 2011

8 Jun

Spent the past few days in Chicago for work for my second time ever in the city, and I’ve decided that I’m really starting to like Chi.  Despite the horrible winters, the summers there are absolutely delightful, and this time I realized more than ever what a fratastic city this is.  The last time I was in Chi with S et al, I was so absorbed in our own fratmosphere that I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the Chi crowd.

On Friday I was meeting up with C for dinner with his law firm buddies at this place called Citizen Bar.  I arrive at this two-story outdoor bar, and my jaw just drops.  I seriously never knew there were so many fratty young people living in this city.  I’ve been living in the East Village for way too long.  SOOO many pastel pop collar shirts at Citizen Bar — I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I felt like I was back at the Fly Garden Party all over again.  It was my dream come true.  Where were all these guys in NYC?!?!??!??!  Oh, I know.  Fratting around at Dorrians and Fiddlesticks.

Dinner with C was lovely, and free for me.  I had just hung out with C the past weekend for 5 year reunion, and so we reminisced on the good times that neither of us could remember.  What was supposed to be a civilized dinner turned into quite the rowdy dinner of C’s law firm friends throwing back beer after beer with C’s friend D hitting on me in what was a subtle way until C loudly stated, YOU GUYS SHOULD JUICE.  I laughed it off awkwardly and then pulled C to the side with a firm look of NO, TOO SHORT, but I played along with it anyway in an effort to get a free meal out of the night.  I ordered the most incredible mini chili hot dog appetizer and strip steak with guacamole and mashed potatoes, and I totally succeeded.  When D willingly picked up the tab for me, C nudged me again, being like “You know what THAT means” and I gave him another look of NO WAY.  Unfortunate for D, what he didn’t know about me but what he probably should have guessed about me based on the way I was talking all night was that I never go home with a nice gentleman who buys me dinner.  “Nice” and “dinner” aren’t in my preferred vocabulary.  Guys who DON’T buy me dinner on the other hand…..

Anyway, I was on a roll on this trip and scoring free meals left and right.  The next morning my wireless wasn’t working in my hotel room, and so I leveraged that to get what I wanted.  How do I always score things for free, you ask?  There’s a strategy to it all.  It’s called being bitchy, yet appreciative.  Here’s what you have to do in a situation like this, when you’re the customer and not getting the service you deserve:

  1. Start by complaining to a low level rep
  2. Complain to another low level rep — they likely aren’t going to be helpful either, so then you demand to speak to their manager; invokes fear
  3. Speak to manager — acknowledge that manager is manager level; acknowledge that reps are lower than them
  4. Make it clear that the REPS are not being helpful, but that you hope as the MANAGER, he/she can be more helpful
  5. Explain situation; be firm and bitchy without raising your voice — buzz words include “completely unacceptable” and “huge inconvenience”
  6. Manager apologizes; finds solution
  7. Be very appreciative but reinforce that what happened was NOT ok — bring it back to the fact that manager > rep: e.g.,  “You know, I have to be honest; it was incredibly frustrating talking to the lady at the front desk; she just really wasn’t helpful at all and I was able to get ZERO work done all morning as a result of this inconvenience, but you on the other hand have been INCREDIBLY helpful — I really appreciate your help”
  8. Manager’s self-confidence as manager goes up; tries to find way to thank you for boosting their ego for the day
  9. Manager gives you free things
  10. You = winner

That is how I scored a $50 delicious room service breakfast of 4 eggs over easy, toast, sausage, bacon, 3 kinds of juices and coffee for free.

To add to the free weekend, I went to a work reception on Saturday night where they rented out the entire Field Museum and themed it molecular gastronomy with caterers walking around in white lab coats and lab goggles.  It was one of the most amazing receptions I’d ever been to.  In line with the theme, the caterers were walking around with gazpacho in test tubes, sweet corn puree made into lollipops on a dry ice machine, pork belly with marshmallow cream torched on the spot, mini deviled quail eggs, filet mignon slices with horseradish foam, dumplings in really thin colored edible paper, etc etc etc.  It was all literally right out of Top Chef.

After that I was of course still hungry, so I met up with DFi for a cheap stir fry dinner that night; the next night I watched the Mavs vs. Heat game with DFu over homemade Hamburger Helper and matzo ball soup; the next day after that I had lunch with DB; and my Chi trip was complete.  Heart Chi.

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