Food Inedible, Policy Untenable

, , , , , , , | Working | November 24, 2017

(Some friends and I go out to dinner. All of us have worked in the service or customer service industry at some point, so we tend to be pretty understanding and forgiving of most things. However, the service on this night is bad enough that we have no choice but to ask for a manager. The hostess and wait staff have been rude, and our food shows up inedible; six people order at the table — one steak, two burgers, and three chicken dishes — and every dish is burnt or overcooked. The burgers are so bad they are basically hockey pucks, the steak was ordered medium and comes out blackened and hard, and the baked chicken is hard and stringy. We point this out to our waitress.)

Waitress: *huffs and rolls her eyes* “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

Friend #1: “The burgers are really overcooked, and anyone who got chicken can’t even eat theirs, it’s so bad.”

Friend #3: “And my steak is really overdone. I asked for medium and this is… Well, it’s a tire.”

Waitress: “If you want new dishes, you have to pay for those meals, too.”

Friend #2: “No, we don’t. Since when is that a rule? It’s the fault of the kitchen.”

Waitress: “If you don’t like what you get, and you order something new, that’s not our fault. That’s on you. We had to keep everyone’s food under the heat lamps because that one ordered a steak and that takes longer to cook. Blame her.” *storms off*

(At this point, we are all shocked. We flag down another waitress and ask her to send over a manager — this waitress at least is nice. We explain to the manager what has happened and find that the manager has the same attitude. She insists that if we are getting new food, we have to pay for those plates along with the first. She refuses to even acknowledge how burnt our food is.)

Manager: “I won’t explain this again. If you want another dish, you have to pay for it. I can’t just give free food to every customer who is picky. Don’t order things that you don’t like.”

Friend #3: “Look, lady, we aren’t looking for a freebie here; we just want food we can actually eat. You can’t expect us to pay for food that we can’t even eat. Your kitchen made the error, not us. I sure didn’t go back there and burn my dinner.”

Manager: “If you aren’t going to pay, I’m going to call the cops.”

(We all share a glance because we’ve never experienced something quite like this. We have, to our best ability, made it clear that we intend to pay for dinner. We just want to eat that dinner first, and we can’t eat the dishes we have been served. I finally sigh and shake my head.)

Me: “You know what? Forget it. Just bring us the check. We’ll find somewhere else to eat.”

(I throw down my credit card, pay, and get us out of there. I’m irritated and starving by this point, as are my friends. Instead of waiting at a new restaurant we just go to [Friend #1]’s house and make a few frozen pizzas. We all have a good laugh after we eat and calm down but are all still pretty irritated by the situation. I grab the website for comments and questions off of our receipt and send the story of what happened. Two days later I get an email from a customer service rep. The email starts with a very scripted line thanking me for my patronage of their restaurant and that they “always strive to give the best customer service possible.” Then it takes an interesting turn.)

Customer Service: “It’s always hard to hear that someone is not happy with our service. We reached out to our [Town] location for their version of the story, as well. The particular event you described can be especially confusing for those not familiar with our policies; however, rest assured that the wait-staff and manager were both acting upon a policy that is the same for all our of stores. We are always so pleased to hear our team members upholding the values we have built our company around. In the event that a customer is not happy with their meal, they always have the option of ordering another item off of our generous menu. However, in the event that someone does order something new, they are responsible for both dishes ordered. It is only in a rare occasion that [Restaurant] will waive the fee of an ordered dish. I hope this clears things up, and we hope that you will give us a chance to serve you again in the future!”

(I am shocked at this point. I wasn’t expecting much to come of reaching out to the company, but I certainly wasn’t expecting that! About ten minutes go by; then, I see another email appear in my inbox. It is from a name that I don’t recognize, but upon inspection, I see that it is someone who had been CC’d in the response from the customer service rep. He obviously hit Reply All instead of replying directly to the original sender.)

Email: “Nicely handled! Gotta let these scammers know whose boss!”

(The email is signed by someone with a position stamp of some sort of District Manager. I take a moment to quell my rage before sending my final email. Just as this DM did, I make sure to hit “Reply All.”)

Me: “*Who’s. ;-)”

(Immature? Maybe. But it sure made me feel better.)

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Some Of Your Clients Are Ice Cold

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2017

(I take incoming calls at my office and direct them as needed. There are times I will take my lunch at the desk and answer calls. This is one of those days, and I have just sat back down with a hot meal when the phone rings.)

Me: “[Office], how can I help you?”

Client: “Hi, this is [Client].” *pauses* “I just noticed the time! Are you on your lunch break?”

Me: “I am; I just sat down, actually.” *laughs* “This gives my food time to cool off; it’s fresh from the microwave. How can I help you, [Client]?”

(She spends 50 minutes asking me questions, sometimes repetitive ones that I’ve already answered in length, before she finally winds down. I have gone from pleasant to agitated with time, because I’m hungry and my lunch break is almost over.)

Client: *sounding gleeful* “I bet your food is ice cold now, isn’t it?”

Me: “It is.”

Client: *laughs and hangs up*

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Dogs Are The Best Drugs

, , , , , | Friendly | November 23, 2017

(I volunteer with my dog at a rest home. We go around all the rooms and common areas interacting with the residents, especially those who love dogs. Because it’s a rest home, the residents are elderly and often ill; I am getting used to old friends passing away and new ones coming in. As I’m nearing the end of a corridor, a lady is standing in her doorway. We haven’t met her before.)

Resident: “Is that a drug dog? Are you here looking for drugs?”

Me: *jokingly* “No, why? Have you got some?”

Resident: *big, deep sigh* “Only the ones they give me, sadly.”

(Later in that same visit I accidentally walked in on two of the residents canoodling. I left that day reminded that age is no indicator of mischievousness!)

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37 Years And Still Behaving Like A Toddler

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(There is a local general store and deli a few minutes from our house with delicious sandwiches. The owner runs the shop and is always working, with maybe one other person. Lately, the usually set business hours have been sporadic. One afternoon, my dad calls the shop to politely ask when they are closing that day — we’ve tried to get food there the past two nights and are hoping they’ll be open tonight. When asking them about the hours my dad is polite and friendly, with no hint of anger in his voice.)

Dad: “Hi, we were wondering when you are closing tonight?”

Employee: “Just a moment.” *after a minute* “3:00 pm.”

Dad: “Oh, okay. What is the reason for your odd hours? We’ve been trying to come, but you closed at one the other day and three today.”

Employee: “Just a moment.” *fetches the owner*

Owner: “Hello?” *not yelling but sounds short*

Dad: *repeats previous questions*

Owner: *very angry sounding* “Because I’m old, and when I get tired, I quit!”

Dad: *realizing he is angry and trying to be positive* “I like how you think.”

Owner: *a bit angrier* “I’ve been doing this for 37 years, and I can do what I want!”

Dad: *still trying to just be polite* “Good answer. We wanted to order sandwiches today, but won’t be able to make it to the store in time, so we may send our neighbor.”

Owner: “Fine, just call them in!” *hangs up*

(We had been planning to still get the food since my mom was craving it, but I realized that, personally, I really didn’t want to get anything because I don’t like rewarding bad behavior. Whether my parents and neighbor got anything was up to them, but because I seemed so angry, they decided not to get anything, either.)

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Certainly Driving That Point Home

, , , , , | Related | November 23, 2017

(I’m about eight years old, but thanks to a dysfunctional family, I’m very mature for my age. My family goes to visit our cousins in their house, and it’s like a palace to me. Instead of a cramped, roach-infested apartment, they have a two-story house with a fireplace. Their house has beautiful, obviously new things, while our house has old things from a yard sale. Their daughter is about my age, but is an only child, so she has the best toys that actually work, and no older siblings to bully her. Her parents are always talkative and energetic, while my mom lays in her bed and cries all day due to depression and my dad goes out and drinks at bars. Needless to say, I’m EXTREMELY envious of their daughter, who is like a princess to me. Plus, she’s very friendly, unlike my siblings. When it’s time to go, this happens:)

Me: “Please! I don’t want to go back!”

Mom: *extremely embarrassed* “Stop being a nuisance; you have to go with us!”

Me: “But their house is so big and ours is so tiny!”

(Dad just turns red and says nothing.)

Mom: “Uh, you can’t just stay!”

Me: “I want to stay!” *cries*

Mom: “You’ll have to work and clean dishes and such. It isn’t so easy to stay!”

Me: “I’ll do it! I don’t care!”

(They finally dragged me out of there, crying hard and screaming. My cousins said nothing, only looked concerned. I was a really quiet child, so I guess they were shocked. I held a lot of resentment against them for not realizing and helping me, but as the years went by, things got better. My dad stopped drinking and got a better job and an actual house, and my mom tried to be more involved in her kids’ lives. I haven’t spoken about that incident with them because I am so embarrassed about how humiliating I was, but maybe it was a wakeup call for them.)

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