Not Meating Your Expectations

, , , , | Working | October 7, 2019

(My mom, my husband, and I have stopped by a Chinese takeout place to pick up food for ourselves, my dad, and my two brothers.)

Mom: “We’d like six to-go meals.”

(She indicates the Styrofoam clamshells which are the general de-facto meal size here. These come with one side and two meats. There are options for meals with one side and one meat, which comes in a plastic bowl, and for one side and three meats, which is uncommon. We do plan on getting two extra servings of meat on the side, which will make two of our meals ring up as one side and three meats, but we never mention these until later on so we don’t confuse the employees.)

Counter Employee: “Okay!”

(She takes our first order, writing shorthand for each food on the clamshell. She has to pause to ask another employee what the shorthand is for one of the meats.)

Counter Employee: “And you wanted three meats on that, right?”

Mom: “No, we’re getting six meals each with two meats.”

(The girl takes the rest of our orders, pausing once to fill a clamshell. I’m unsure if this clamshell was for one of our meals, but almost speak up about it because she has just filled half the clamshell with the dregs of the last batch of chow mein, which at this point is almost entirely cabbage and celery. After checking with other employees for the shorthand for two more meats, the girl finishes writing our orders and starts filling our clamshells. Almost immediately we see her putting fried rice, [chicken #1], and [premium meat #1] in a clamshell.)

Me: “Wait, is that supposed to be one of ours?”

Counter Employee: *mumbles*

Mom: “That’s not right. We only ordered [premium meat #1] on one meal, with veggies and [premium meat #2]. That plate should have either double [chicken #1] or [chicken #1] and [chicken #2].”

(The girl starts mumbling to her supervisor, who is now trying to figure out what’s going on. My mom asks her to hold the food where she can see it, and rather than holding the clamshell under the sneeze guard where we can see it, she holds it flat at eye level behind both the metal top of the sneeze guard and another employee’s head, at this point standing about six feet away from us. There is NO way to see what’s in there, even for my tall husband.)

Mom: “Can you hold it where I can see it?”

Counter Employee: *holds the clamshell exactly where she held it before, not bothering to move closer*

(The supervisor determines the girl has written the wrong shorthand for [chicken #2]. I had watched as she asked for the shorthand for [chicken #2].)

Counter Employee: *starts filling more of our clamshells*

Mom: “Can I get more than just three pieces of shrimp in the shrimp [premium meat #2] that I’m paying $2 extra for?”

Counter Employee: *mumbles*

(The manager has noticed what’s going on.)

Manager: “The serving size for shrimp is five shrimp.”

Counter Employee: *mumbles more*

Manager: “Do you want us to give you a second serving of shrimp?”

Mom: “No, I want her to give me all five pieces of shrimp I’m paying for, not three pieces and a ton of vegetables.”

Manager: *whispers to the employee*

Counter Employee: *finally puts more shrimp in the meal, then continues making our meals*

Me: “Wait, wait, you aren’t going to fill all three of our meals with chow mein with cabbage and celery leftovers? Was that one of ours that I saw you do that to before?”

(There are fewer noodles in the entire pan than go in a standard serving of chow mein, but almost enough veggies that she could fill ours with “chow mein” if she emptied the pan. They check all our clamshells, and it appears that the meal I saw her fill with cabbage, celery, and a few shorter noodles went to some poor person who didn’t see what she was doing.)

Manager: *to the employee* “Wait until the new pan of chow mein is done.” *to my mom* “The next pan of chow mein is almost done.”

(The manager walks over and says something to the cashier, and as he walks out into the restaurant area I approach him to explain to him just how many issues have been popping up from this girl.)

Me: “I know walking up midway it seems like my mom is being dramatic about this, but this girl has been making big mistakes every step of the way.” *explains exactly what happened before the manager came over* “We definitely will be checking every one of our meals before we pay.”

Manager: “Wow, okay, this is something she needs to go back to training for. And I agree with you to check all your meals. How many people do you have here right now? Would you like free drinks?”

(The manager gives my husband and me free drink cups and talks to my mom, who refuses the cup because she doesn’t drink soda. He discusses what has happened with my mom while my husband and I fill our cups. My husband and I walk back over as they are lining up our meals to check them.)

Mom: “Wait? Why is there another meal with [premium meat #1] in it? We already went through this once.”

(I look at the plate and see that it has chow mein. All three meals with chow mein are supposed to have [chicken #1] or [chicken #2] and the same beef side.)

Me: “That’s supposed to have [beef side] in it.”

(An employee filled a small container with our other serving of [beef side] as the manager told us to just take the mistaken serving of [premium meat#1] for free. In the end, we left with only one serving of the side meat we had planned on getting two servings of because it would have been ten minutes longer to wait for the other. When we got our meals home, I looked at the shorthand labels on them. Almost every one of them was scribbled over and rewritten, and the girl had managed to mislabel both [chicken #2] and [beef side] as [premium meat #1], despite having asked for help with the shorthand for all three of those meats.)

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