What is Up At La Madeleine on Mockingbird?

Warning: Smallish rant to follow.

Long ago, when I was a college student at SMU, the La Madeleine on Mockingbird was one of my favorite hangouts. Free bread, delicious tomato basil soup, and a cozy atmosphere to study in. I remember the service being quick, and if I wanted takeout, it took the usual amount of time (10 minutes max) from order to out-the-door.

But the last two times I’ve been to this La Madeline (both within the past six weeks), it’s been wheels off. Way off. Last night was no exception.

Follow the jump for what happened.

It was 7:45, and the place was more than half empty, with the exception of the five people waiting in the takeout area. All had looks of mild irritation on their faces when I walked in, which should have been a tip off. (It wasn’t). I made my way to the counter to order, and stood for a good five minutes before ANYONE even appeared behind the counter. I mean–no one making salad, no one pouring soup into cups, nothing. Then a girl finally comes out, and she saunters over, picking up things on the table, putting them down, staring into space. I ask her, “May I please order now,” and she sort of shrugs. I order my salad, and she walks away. But she doesn’t go to make my order, or the order of the dude who’s been waiting ten minutes, or anyone else’s. She just walks over to her friend who has appeared at the other end of the service bar and they start talking and laughing. At this point, one man starts to lose his temper. He shouts, “Can I please get my order?” and she glares at him, dishes some soup into a container, and sloooowly bags it up. He yanks the bag out of her hands and leaves. She continues to chat/do nothing, with her back to us most of the time. Finally, about 15 minutes in, a manager-type lady comes up, and starts asking her about the tickets (how long have they been up here, what are you working on, etc). I’ve never seen a person more ambivalent about his/her job in my entire life. She just couldn’t care less about the four pairs of eyes staring her down, or her boss who was getting quite upset (though not upset enough to apologize to us, or to start making food herself). A gentleman turned to me and asked, “What is going on? Have they been acquired or something?” A lady who came in after me started yelling. “Hello!! Can I PLEASE get my order? I mean, how LONG does it TAKE? Are you on DRUGS or something?” Which was a little extreme, but still. At this point I got my salad and I ran out. All told, it took 25 minutes to get my food, but the worst part was the unfriendliness and the absolute unprofessional nature of the staff. The workers simply did not want to do their jobs. An almost identical version of this story happened to me a few weeks back. Back then, I thought it was just a fluke, but after last night, I have to say something. Something needs to be fixed, quick, because people are upset.

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