Saturday, July 27, 2013
How did I want this whole thing to end? A free meal for me and my family? I mean, maybe. That wouldn't be so bad, I guess. Free Red Robin burgers for a year? That's way too much, plus, I'd rather have a burger from Tribeca Tavern or even 5 Guys. A letter of apology from Sam, the barbershop quartet singing owner of the first ever Red Robin in Seattle, WA? Sam is more than likely long dead, so while a personalized letter from his ghost would be quite novel, it might also frighten me into a catatonic state from which I may never return. My own Red Robin franchise, free of charge and staffed entirely with curvy cosplay enthusiasts? That is both unlikely and sexist. In short, I didn't know what I wanted. What I got was a phone call.
Take the dumbest you've ever felt, times it by 100 and you still won't feel a fraction of the shame and embarrassment I felt when I got Red Robin General Manager Wood Wilson's call last Tuesday.
"Is this Matt Lawson?" said the nicest voice in the world.
"Yes. Who is this?" said the smart-ass who tweeted a bunch of goofy garbage at a national burger chain because he was bored and suffering from blog writer's block.
"This is Wood Wilson, general manager of the Red Robin in [LOCATION REDACTED] and I just wanted to say we're all really sorry about the brioche bun."
What could I do? What could I say? I laughed, but not in a mocking way. More in a way that said, "You caught me. I'm an asshole."
"You really don't have to apologize," I said. "I was just, um, kind of surprised when I found out about the brioche bun, you know, after the fact." I SAID THIS! WHY DID I SAY THIS? Sure, I was surprised, but I also didn't care at all. I thought #YouOweMeBriocheRedRobin would be a funny hashtag. That's it. So, my lackluster bacon cheeseburger came on a sesame seed bun. I've had countless lackluster bacon cheeseburgers on countless sesame buns and they've been fine.
"Well, I wanted to personally apologize, and let you know that we've taken care of the brioche problem." This poor, sweet man. This isn't what he wanted his life to be.
"You really don't have to apologize, but I appreciate your call," I said, my face redder than the tomato that didn't come on my Berserker.
"Hey, next time you're here, ask for me. I'd really like to meet you."
And punch me in the balls, I'm sure. That's what I'd want to do. Oh, I'm a dick.
"Sure thing. What was your name again?" I ACTUALLY GRABBED A PEN AND SOME SCRAP PAPER!
"Wood is your last name?" I WAS WRITING ALL OF THIS DOWN.
"No," he chuckled amiably. "My first name is Wood. A lot of people hear that and go, 'Wait, you're name is Wood?'" He ended this sentence with the most charming chuckle ever uttered in human existence.
I wrote down Wood Wilson's name, congratulated Dave (the Red Robin executive who originally contacted me by e-mail) on his recent marriage, laughed uncomfortably too many times to remember, and finally assured Wood that the two of us would meet someday and share a laugh. And then it was over.
The wife and I had some friends over for dinner tonight, and I brought my phone call with Wood up.
"Two part question," I said. "Do you think I should've asked for something, and, if so, what?"
Jonathan basically told me I was right not to ask for anything. Sallie and my wife both felt a free meal-for-three should have been offered at least. I probably agree with both statements.
So, that's how it ends. Not with a bang, but with an uncomfortable phone call from a man named Wood who assured me that all of Red Robin's brioche issues are a thing of the past. Oh, life.