The Complaint Department is Now Open
Did you see the picture of the sandwich in this post? That’s the sad excuse for a sub that I received from a local restaurant in my area. For my son’s second birthday my husband and I decided to take the easy approach to party planning by ordering subs from a local sandwich shop. I think this may be the first time we didn’t spend the day cooking and preparing, but we wanted to enjoy the time with our friends and family and opted to let someone else prepare the food.
During the party I noticed one of the subs was missing quite a bit of meat, but to be honest I was rushing around entertaining and didn’t pay close attention to the quality of food. A few hours later as we were wrapping up the remaining subs I was dismayed by the quality of sandwiches we purchased. A sub that should have contained healthy portions of turkey, cheese and veggies contained almost two thin strips of lettuce, no cheese, barely any meat and the saddest excuse for a tomato that I’d ever seen.
I paid over $100 for a platter of sandwiches that were all similarly composed. Of course, no one at the party complained. Even my parents refrained from comment until I asked them about it.
That night I took pictures of the food we received and emailed the restaurant with my complaint. In essence I kindly stated that I’ve ordered from this particular establishment many times and that I’ve never had a problem with the quality of food before. I explained the state of the sandwiches and the fact that they lacked ingredients of every type and reasonable portion.
The very next day the owner of the store called to apologize. He asked me to email him the pictures and quickly offered to make amends of the situation. A few days later I picked up a $100 gift card, which was slightly less than the amount we paid for two platters of subs.
Over the years I’ve experienced hit and miss luck reaching out to stores with negative feedback. Sometimes I receive a ‘thanks for letting us know’ response and other times, like in this case, I received full compensation for whatever I purchased. For the record I did not expect to be fully compensated. Despite the bad food the party goers did eat a healthy portion of subs that afternoon.
The fact is that some stores appreciate your business more than others. I had a completely different reaction when I bought two stale cupcakes from an upscale grocery store. In that case I was told I needed to speak with a store manager in person about the problem. Although I paid nearly $15, (yes I realize that’s a crazy amount for cupcakes, especially two unappetizing cupcakes), it certainly wouldn’t make sense to drive to the store to speak with someone about it. The store is a forty-five minute drive away from my house and I only travel there once or twice a year. I explained the situation to a customer service representative but they said that was standard store policy. Perhaps they decided I didn’t frequent the store often enough to be considered a valued customer or that $15 wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to compensate me for my troubles.
This post might make me sound like Debby Downer and I assure you that is not the case. While I do send out complaint letters I am equally prone to contacting businesses with words of praise. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to write about positive experiences, but it can also help the employees. Waiters and waitresses have been encouraged by pats on the back from their bosses and on occasion we’ve been told that our kind words resulted in unexpected bonuses.
Do you notify businesses when you are displeased with their goods or services? Is there a minimum amount you have to spend in order to justify the time and effort spent complaining? Have you ever reached out to a store or restaurant where you had an exceptional experience?
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