March 24th, 2007

Taco Bell/Pizza Hut

Now, it's really my fault for going to this particular Taco Bell/Pizza Hut in the first place. (For those unfamiliar - essentially a Taco Bell that also serves cheese, pepperoni and supreme personal pan pizzas and personal sized orders of 3 breadsticks.) I worked a stint there several years ago while in high school, and the few times I've visited since it seems that the already slow service has already gotten slower.

But it's Friday. And, it's Lent. I love cheese pizza, but never order it as I usually opt for hawaiian when ordering by myself as NOBODY else likes it, and when ordering with others most people aren't fond of cheese pizza. Thus, I usually indulge myself during Lent.

Seeing as I hadn't yet had my Lenten indulgance, and seeing as it's been a particularly exhausing week at work and I didn't want to wait for a pizza, I opted to get a personal pan pizza from the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut. I knew I'd be in for a wait, but I also thought I knew what I was getting myself into.

When I pulled in, the drive-thru had at least 6 cars waiting to get to the speaker. Being a fast-food employee in a former life, I figured my better bet would be to go into the almost empty lobby as the orders are put in order in which they are placed regardless of whether they are inside orders or drive-thru orders, thus allowing me to 'cut' in front of the cars still waiting to get to the speaker.

Yeah, wrong. There were two people in front of me when I got inside. I placed my order, filled my soda, and sat to wait. Two guys came in behind me to order, a family came in after them, and a lady with her daughter came in shortly after the family.

By the time the lady and her daughter placed their order, I'd been waiting nearly 15 minutes. Granted, I expected a wait of at least 10-15 minutes, so, though irritated, I was not upset quite yet. Lady and daughter sat at a chair near mine. And we wait. We wait so long that it's now been 10 minutes since lady and daugher sat down. Then we wait some more. At this point I realize I'm an idiot, because not only has every car in the drive-thru that was there when I arrived already been served and left, they've cleared out quite a few cars since.

At one point I notice the manager *almost* take charge by yelling at the counter girl who was sending text messages to "put that up!". Followed by the drive-thru girl, a perky girl with a loud mouth (I sat fairly far back from the counter and could hear everything she was saying the entire time I was in the store) asking for a change, with a response from her manager of "what the hell you need?". All of it in plain view of anyone in the store.

Lady with daugher looks at me at some point and comments on the wait. We both agree that it seems as if they aren't making the food for the inside customers in the order they were recieved compared to drive-thru. I hang on, now having waited nearly 30 minutes and realizing at this point if I demand a refund I'll just go home hungry on top of being angry, and knowing I'm the next person in line. Lady with daughter and I chat occasionally about the wait, and as I'm passing 30 minutes total time waiting, she storms up to the counter with her receipt.

I was rescued right then as they called the number for the men before me, and my own order. The one positive - my cheese pizza did actually have to be made (Lent and all - lots of orders for them) so I at least knew I wasn't sitting that long waiting for something sitting in a heating cabinet as the pizzas usually do. Content in that knowledge I grab my food and bolt, meanwhile hearing the beginnings of an exchange between lady with daughter and loud mouthed drive-thru girl that was quickly turning into dualing bad_service and customers_suck.

Considering I've walked into many pizza places on a Friday night and placed much larger to go orders, I still can't fathom what on earth took a little over 30 minutes. More than that, I can't fathom what the people before me, and lady with daughter behind me who ordered off the actual Taco Bell menu could have been waiting for. What I do know is inside orders were completely ignored for drive-thru ones - something I know happens anywhere since drive-thru times are monitored, but that I've NEVER seen happen to the extent where the person who's been waiting the least amount of time inside, with several people behind them, has been there at least 20 minutes.

Taught me a valuable lesson about why I'm so much happier now that I avoid fast food. Next time I want pizza for one, I'll call ahead to Imo's on my way home.
St. Eldritch

Small but weird

This is a small suck, but it struck me as sort of bizarre.

Last night my roommate, her boyfriend and I went out to dinner. We're college students, so the local town has a few good, yet inexpensive places to eat. One is an Italian place which has an almost cafeteria-like setting. You get in line, someone asks what you want and it's made in front of you from ingredients sitting in jars behind the glass barrier, ala Subway. Then you take your tray, pay and sit down somewhere. Simple.

So, I order penna with meatballs and it's made and in my hands within minutes. I pay and go back to wait with my two friends. They ordered after me, one wanted a chicken sandwhich and the other wanted pasta. They had ordered literally seconds after me but after ten minutes of waiting, it became apparent that something was wrong.

I waited with them, hoping my food wasn't going cold, as we noticed that no one was working on my friends orders. Suddenly, a man who looked like the manager walked over, looked around and asked what my friends had ordered. They told him and he immediatly started to look for the man who took their order and who was supposed to make it.

Seemingly, the man just WALKED OFF. He didn't tell anyone he was leaving. He just left. The manager was livid and searched the entire place for his employee, but he was never found. He had another cook make my friends food, and after the long wait, we finally could sit down and eat.

During the meal, we still saw the manager searching the resturant for the guy, and then we saw him shouting on his cellphone. I assume the guy completely left the resturant. I can understand if you have to go to the bathroom really badly and run off to take care of that (or some other important emergancy, like cutting a finger or something) but it doesn't seem as if that was the case. The guy just left and didn't tell anyone, or relay that my friends had ordered food. He was just gone.

We were floored. Who does that?
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Papa Johns

Saturday night pizza cravings. We call Papa Johns and I place an order FOR DELIVERY from Lisa at 8:41pm. My address is VERIFIED for delivery and I give my credit card number for payment. I am told 30 to 45 minutes for delivery. Pizza has not shown up by 9:30pm. I wait. Pizza has not shown up by 9:51pm. I place a call to Papa Johns and speak with Lisa again.

The following exchange takes place:
Me: "Hi, I place an order for delivery about 1 hour and 15 minutes ago and I do not have my pizza yet, so I was just checking on the status."
Lisa: "Your pizza is waiting for you to pick up."
M: "I specified delivery"
L: "No, I took the order, you said carryout"
M: "No. . . I would like it to be delivered"
L: "I took the order and you said carryout"
M: "I said delivery. We even verified my address"
L: "I verified your address instead of your name. And you said carryout"

At this point, I was thinking 'what the hell?' Why exactly are we arguing? Conversation continues . . .

M: "uh . . " (cutoff by Lisa)
L: "Well, I just send your pizza out with the next delivery."
M: "Okay and how long will . . ." (cutoff by Lisa)
L: "LISTEN! You said carryout . . ." (Lisa is cutoff by me)
M: "You LISTEN! Just cancel the whole damn order if. . . "
L: "OKAY!"
M: "I do not like your attitude. Be sure to refund my credit card." (I hang up)

I chill out for about 3 minutes and call back to speak with a manager.

L: "Thank you for calling PJ, can you please hold?"
M: "Sure" (waits a minute or two)
L: "How can I help you?"
M: "I need to speak with a manager, please"
L: "I am the manager"
M: "I need to speak with another manager then please"
L: "Listen, I took the order and you said carryout."
M: "I need your managers name please."
L: "Ma'am, I offered to send your pizza out with the next delivery"
M: "No thanks - I would just like the refund and your managers name"
L: "You can call 1-800 . . " (Lisa is cutoff by me)
M: "Just a minute, I need to grab a pen"
L: "I HAVE other customers. I cannot wait on you."
M: "I have waited an hour and 15 minutes for a pizza from you. You can wait two seconds while I grab a pen." (already has pen in hand) "Okay - the number?"
L: "His name is Rick - no no, I'm sorry. Rick is someone else - his name is James."
M: "So your manager's name is James?"
L: "Yes"
M: "And the 1-800 number you were going to give me."
L: "There is no 1-800 number. Just call back in the morning and James, that's my General Manager, will be here. He's my manager. He's the person who will have to talk with me. He'll be here in the morning."
M: "Okay - and your name?"
L: "Lisa F-----, that's F - - - - -"
M: "F - - - - -?"
L: "yes"
M: "Thank you" (hangs up)

Why would you argue with me? First of all, we went so far as to verify my address and then you took my credit card information so it could be charged. You then quoted me a time for normal delivery - 30 to 45 minutes (I live about 6 minutes away). When we call in for pick-up it's only 15 minutes. It was definitely for delivery. So someone messed up - no problem.

Then, you offered to have the pizza sent on the next delivery - I agreed and TRIED to ask "when?" and THEN you started arguing with me AGAIN about me having ordered it for carryout? WTF. So yes, that's when I lost my cool and told you to just cancel it. When I call back you THEN start switching your manager's name and don't give me the original number you were going to give me. . . Fishy.

Throughout the conversation you were loud and rude. As much as I hate saying this, I am a manager in customer service myself and your shitty self shouldn't be answering phones - much less be a manager. So yeah, I will be calling your "manager" to complain. Screw Papa Johns - and that charge better not go through . . . (no recepit was signed, so it shouldn't be a problem).
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