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Long Forgotten

 A few years ago my fiance and I were on our way home from his biweekly D&D game. It was winter and I was very cold. I asked my fiance to stop off at McD so I could get some of their cappuccino to help warm me up. Because of how late it was, we assumed that their lobby was probably closed or closing and opted for the drive-thru. There were no other cars in line so we were happy about that. We pulled up to the speaker and my fiance opened the door (we were driving my car and my window froze shut one day and never worked again). The lady inside told us that she would be with us in a moment. 15 minutes later, we still had nothing. I was done after 5 minutes, but my fiance prefers to give people the benefit of the doubt. I told him to pull around front and if they were open, I was going in to complain. I went into their lobby and was greeted instantly. I told the cashier that I wanted to see her manager. The manager comes up and asks what was wrong.

I told him, “My fiance and I were just in the drive-thru. The lady said she would be with us in a moment. That was 15 minutes ago. All we wanted to order were 2 drinks. We are now freezing cold for having to be exposed to the elements for so long.”

His reply “I’m sorry, the only thing I can suggest is that she forgot you were there.”

That steamed me. I replied matter of factly,  “I worked for McD for 3 years and I can assure you that this was considered highly unacceptable and I would have been reamed a new one if I ‘forgot’ about a customer. I don’t understand how this can be considered acceptable here.”

He ended up giving us our 2 drinks for free, but that night ruined it for us. We have not been back to that one since.

What did he expect me to say to that? “Thats ok.”?  If he had just said, “I’m sorry about that, I will make sure to have a talk with her. What can I get you?” I would have been perfectly fine. But to say that I was forgotten about is a rather bad business practice I think.     1017-08
The manager said he was sorry and offered a possible explanation as to why you received poor service.  I honestly don’t think a customer has a right to know how a manager will discipline an employee.  What matters is that the manager assumes all responsibility for communicating to the customer that the issue is duly noted and will be addressed. 
You waited too long and thus your ire built up steam.  At four minutes, I would have beeped the car horn to get the attention of the employee and asked if there was anything wrong with my order.   I’ve also been known to get their attention with a goofy wave and grin to remind them I’m still here…and waiting. 
I’ve worked in fast food (yes, they did have McD’s in the Dark Ages) and my son works in management for a fast food establishment.  It just doesn’t help him do his job when a customer’s very first contact about poor service has been ratcheted up to “highly agitated” mode.   You’ve got a problem and that means he’s got the same problem, too, and both of you have the same goal of acheiving customer satisfaction.  Appealing to him in a calm state about the facts of the matter BEFORE you’ve allowed yourself to get riled up is a far more productive way to resolve the problem.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Bink February 16, 2010, 12:11 pm

    The hostess seated us at a restaurant and told us our waitress would be with us shortly. We waited at least 15 minutes, and maybe longer. Finally, my husband called the restaurant’s number on the menu from his cellphone and said, “Hello-o? We were seated awhile ago, and we’re ready to order.”

    The manager came out and was terribly apologetic. We assured him that it was okay, we were just hungry, but he comped part of our meal, anyway.

  • catvickie March 26, 2010, 11:01 am

    Reminds me of the time we went into a place that had not bussed their tables, was very casual, and had no clean tables, so we sat at a dirty one and waited. Other customers came in and did the same thing, they sat down and they got waited on, maybe they were regulars?? Anyway, after about 20 minutes of that, we just got up and left. All we got were some puzzled looks from a couple wait staff.

    I still wonder what they thought we were doing there–I thought maybe we thought we were the customers who had been there before, who knows! We were still pretty young–now I would go up to someone a lot sooner, and ask could we please have some coffee and a menu. Jeez. . . . .

  • livvy April 28, 2010, 10:45 am

    @catvickie – sometimes when someone sits at a dirty table, the wait staff doesn’t notice that it’s a new group – they quickly glance over and assume that those people have already finished. (Although I do get miffed at waitstaff who never check on my table after the bill is originally presented and/or paid).
    As Ms. Jeanne suggests, better at some reasonable point to try to confirm that someone hasn’t forgotten you, for whatever reason. People do make mistakes, forget things, get distracted, etc. If you were the employee, would you rather be gently reminded of your mistake so you could correct it with an apology, or would you rather the customer waited, became aggrivated, and then demanded your boss discipline you in a way that he or she deemed necessary to assuage their anger?
    I guess I’m sympathetic, based on my own experience – I was a horrible waitress, even though I tried very hard to be a good one.

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