I’m Bill from Ottawa. I stumbled across your site while googling for “customer complaints”, and have spent the last hour or two entertaining myself with the stories and comments… well now, “entertain” doesn’t seem right, but you know what I mean. I can tell you though, Ottawa just as bad as Toronto when it comes to customer service. I have so many stories, I’m amazed anything gets accomplished at all in this world.
Now I’m a very easy-going guy, the counterweight to my bone-deep cynicism. I take most things in stride, including money, but there is one thing for which I spare very little patience, and that is stupidity. As a computer programmer and technician, retail and customer service environments have been central elements in my career, so I guess I’m a harsher critic of the jaw-droppingly moronic strangers who disappoint me every day. I’m going to relate to you my latest story, possibly the cheapest so far, regarding $2.50 worth of food. It is a cheap, but iconic anecdote of the chronic incompetence that pervades today’s youth. I’ve posted it to my own blog, but feel free to reproduce on yours if you so choose, and I will gladly link it.
McStupid is as McStupid does
This evening, I stopped at McDonalds after work (I know, junk food is bad – whatever!). Now I have a habit of placing large take-out orders, with “large” being around $40, and almost every time the McLackeys make fun of my large order, as they seem to think it is different than serving four people separately for the same items. Apparently they just can’t deal with numbers greater than two. Anyway I placed my order, and the guys dutifully prepared my food with impressive skill and speed, when another employee, who presented himself as “Steven”, ran in from the back to “help with the rush”, a rush of me! He was randomly putting things in bags and waving them over the counter, hoping someone would claim each bag. He had not been present when the orders were placed, so he had no clue who wanted what. I pointed to my receipt and repeated the list of items, and finally he packed my order, though I had to correct him several times as he was too hurried to pay attention.
Once I got home, I realized I was missing two small burgers. It was nothing big, and frankly I wasn’t about to walk all the way back just for a couple of burgers, but a credit or even just an apology would have been courteous. I called the restaurant, and wound up talking to buddy Steven. I explained the discrepancy, and he immediately got defensive, stating he was absolutely certain he had bagged my order without error, and that it was I who was mistaken. I casually restated my case, that I had eight burgers where there should have been ten, and this time he accused me of trying to cheat them out of two free burgers. I still don’t understand why he would accuse me of trying to defraud them out of $2.50 worth of food on a $42 total, but I guess not everyone is blessed with the gift of common sense. I was starting to lose my patience with this sad little peon, so I hung up and my wife called back a few minutes later. She is a far better diplomat than myself, and yet was barely able to get the employee’s name and his manager’s after much arguing, and he wouldn’t even tell us said manager’s schedule so we will be calling blindly until we can get a hold of him.
It goes without saying that the poor manager will get an earful about the many ways in which his underling has disappointed us, but I have to wonder why and how someone in a customer-facing job can be allowed to fail so miserably. He could have said “I’m sorry for the mistake, would you like your burgers ?”, an offer I would have politely declined and that would have been the end of it. Instead, he winds up with a formal complaint on his record, and the manager will be sending us gift certificates, which I will gladly accept and make a point to use when Steven is on-duty. Part of me wishes he would learn from the experience and grow as a person, but the cynic in me knows better. I can only hope Steven will find another job that is a better match to his abilities, or lack thereof. In the mean time, I will make a point to refuse service from him, when I next indulge in my favorite artery-clogging snacks.
This article was submitted by one of our readers. Penciltrick cannot make any claims as to its authenticity but the article was accepted on a good faith belief that it is an accurate and truthful account of the events listed.