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The Trail For The Receipt Has Gone Cold

, , , , , | Right | September 29, 2020

I’m a manager of a fast food location in my city, just one of about a dozen in the area. Today, we’re short-staffed so it’s just my coworker and me running the store until our night shift shows up that afternoon. Because it’s so busy, I get behind on some things and am still in the store around five pm, over twelve hours after my day first started.

The phone rings and as I’m trying to finish to go home, my night shift worker answers the phone for me. My day shift help has already left for the day. 

Coworker: “Thanks for calling [Store at Location]; this is [My Name]. How can I help you today?”

There’s a beat of silence.

Coworker: ”I’m not sure, but my manager is still here. Do you want to talk to them?” *Pause* “Okay, let me ask.”

He turns to me in the office.

Coworker: “This lady wants to know if we have an 800-number to call?”

Me: “To make a catering order? We have one but we can just take it in the store now.”

Coworker: “No, for a complaint.”

Me: “They can call corporate but they’re closed. I can talk to them now.”

Coworker: “Okay. Yes, ma’am? We don’t have an 800-number for complaints. You’d have to call corporate, but my manager says they’re closed for the weekend already.”

It’s Friday evening now.

Coworker: “Would you just like to talk to my manager, instead?” *Pause* “Okay, one minute.”

She hands the phone to me and leaves the office to help more customers and finish prep. I answer and the woman states she was in the store earlier and got two subs and meals but isn’t happy with her subs. One was cold when she ate it and the other didn’t have enough sauce, but she isn’t in the area anymore. She got the food around one and it’s now almost 5:15 pm.

Because we started a major remodel at the beginning of the year, I’m able to get on the computer and find her order digitally to remember when exactly she came in and to also make sure she’s calling the right store with her issue, as it’s a common enough mistake. After talking for a few minutes, with her getting more and more agitated, I finally manage to find her order that matches what she say she paid. She paid and left the store right around 12:15 that afternoon. After getting more information about what was wrong, she said she had two subs toasted with a bunch of veggies and sauce on them.

Customer: “The girl who made them put too much on it. I wanted extra sauce but she didn’t even heat my meat up and it was cold when I bit into it.”

Me: “Well, I am incredibly sorry that you didn’t have a good experience at our location. I do remember my employee making your order because you wanted [5+ items] toasted on it; is that correct?”

Customer: “Yeah, but it wasn’t even hot when I ate it. We took a bus there and we live two hours away. She microwaved it first but she still didn’t cook it enough and it wasn’t good.”

Me: “So, she first microwaved your meat and then toasted everything? I’m sorry, ma’am. Did you wait the two hours to eat it or was it cold immediately after opening?”

Customer: “No, we ate it on the bus but not right away. We were almost to [Exit thirty minutes away from my store] and my steak was cold; it was awful. She kept asking me to repeat my order and it was really rude.”

Me: “I’m sorry she asked you to repeat your order. Sometimes it’s hard to hear when we have all our machines running or if the store is super crowded. But if you waited almost thirty minutes to eat your food, it would be cold. What I can do for you is you can bring back the bad food or your receipt to our store and I will replace your food for you personally. Then, I can make sure all your food is heated and toasted so it won’t be cold for you.”

Customer: “We don’t have the food; we already ate it. And I didn’t take the receipt because I didn’t want it. We were in [Town] for an appointment and I won’t take a bus to replace the food.”

Me: “Okay… Well. If you ate the food, almost an hour after it was made, it’s going to be cold. But I’m here about six days a week and I can take your information for future training so this doesn’t happen again.”

Customer: “So you aren’t going to do anything? I can’t get a refund?”

Me: “If you still had the food or took the receipt like it was offered, I could give you a refund in store with no problem. We can’t issue refunds over the phone because all refunds are in cash with the original receipt. It’s policy.”

Customer: “Well, that girl was super rude and you won’t even do anything about it. She didn’t make my food right and you won’t help me!”

Me: “I am doing everything I am able to, ma’am. I’m sorry you had a poor experience with us and assure you I will work harder with my staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again, but I can either replace your food free of charge in the store or give you a refund. But you have to be in the store for either of those to happen.”

Customer: “We didn’t eat right away and now I’m being punished for it. My food shouldn’t get cold if it was toasted right!”

Me: “Ma’am, any food is going to get cold if you let it sit in a bag for thirty to forty minutes. I can’t do anything about that. If we heated the steak before toasting, it I can promise you that steak was piping hot when it came out, even when covered and cooked with multiple other items on top, but it won’t stay hot forever.”

Customer: “Well, I’m going to call your boss and deal with someone who actually knows what they’re talking about! It shouldn’t be cold!” *Hangs up*

I had been on the phone for over twenty minutes by this point and my staff came to check on me. It was the Friday before a holiday and it was almost six pm. No one was going to answer her call. I texted my boss a quick story of the call so he knew if her complaint went through. He sent back, “I wouldn’t worry about it. We don’t have superpowers.”

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