Get off my lawn.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Customer Service

I went to Back Yard Burger the other day to get lunch. It was somewhere around noon, so the place was packed. There are two drive-through lines, one on either side of the building. Both were full. It was also hot. I was also in a car shaped like a magnifying glass with a black interior.

I pulled up to the microphone and ordered lunch. "That's $5.27" came the response.

Then I waited. And waited some more. I got bored after about 10 minutes, and listened to some music. I estimate the total time I spent waiting in the heat at about 15 minutes.

When I got to the window, a girl leaned out, and said "$4.96." I handed her a $5 bill, thinking "Fine. I ordered something different, but if I end up with someone's grilled chicken and orange juice, I don't care. Just get me out of this car."

A couple of minutes later, the same girl, now looking confused, appeared. The following exchange took place:

She: Did you order a burger with pepper jack cheese?
Me: Yes.
She: You gave me the wrong amount.
Me: I gave what you asked for, and I'm expecting 4 cents change.
She: Well, that's the wrong amount. It's $5.27.
Me: Here you go (handed her another $5 bill).
She: Well, heh, that's wrong too. I need more.
Me: Since I already gave you $5, the additional $5 should just about cover it.
She: Well, okay... (looking at me like I was mistaken and stupid) (closes door)

(30 seconds elapses, girl reappears)

She: (clutching the bill to her chest) What's 26 + 6?
Me: 32, but I'm thinking you're more interested in the sum of 27 + 6.
She: ...uh...
Me: 33.
She: ...mmm...
Me: Give me the $5, and you take this (handed her 27 cents).
She: (hands out food and $5) Thank you (closes door).

You could reasonably call this an example of poor customer service. It's just a burger, nothing to get excited about. But:

  1. A customer was kept waiting.
  2. A customer was trifled with regarding their money.
  3. A customer was treated as though they were wrong, even though they weren't (it's theoretically impossible for a single customer ordering food for themselves and paying for it with cash to make a mistake).
  4. A customer got to watch a company representative get stumped over a problem that some 4-year-olds are able to solve in seconds.
I wonder how many times this happens per day, and what causes it? Is that girl actually unable to compute 26+6 without the aid of a calculator? Was her environment so chaotic that she became confused? Or was it my striking beauty that threw her off? Or the fact that I run Ubuntu on a laptop, and not SuSE?

The burger was pretty good.

I think it's more funny than anything, but funny in a "Wow you're pathetic" sort of way. BYB, I'm laughing at you, not with you.


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