Category Archives: customer service


so I walked the long walk across the parking lot from our client site, thinking I’d treat myself to a Baconator.  the line is suprisingly short, and the gentleman at the register places his order.  nothing out of the ordinary…

then the gentleman turns to his companion (likely his daughter).  she has a cell-phone up to her ear, and rattles off her order: one of their super-deluxe salads I think (I honestly don’t remember).  then she orders a cheeseburger, or something.  (ordering details from this point forward get fuzzy, as my rage builds.)

then she cancels that burger.  she asks the cashier for clarification on the #2, does that come with [something]?  the cashier says yes, she says yes into the phone, the voice on the phone says OK (I can only imagine), and she says OK.  “does it come with cheese?”  same cycle of relaying information through the cell phone…

“so what would your brother like,” she asks…


now, I’ve waited behind people writing checks at the grocery store, and I’ve stood behind people that dispute their charges to the cash register, but this was ABOVE AND BEYOND.  I cleared my throat a few times, hoping she’d realize there were people behind her.  I made eye contact with the cashier as if to say, “uh, can you move us along…” and no dice.

apparently unable to get the order translated through her other child, she says “well, then put him on.”

I burst out, “OH COME ON! You’ve got to be kidding me!”  She doesn’t flinch.

“Seriously,” I plead to the cashier, “you’ve got to ask her to step aside and write down her order.”  I say this because she has been writing down the order on a napkin the whole time, and is using it to verify the order with the cahsier — 50% of which is wrong each time, and they have to start again.

I know this has only taken 30 seconds to describe to you, but it was no less than several minutes in line.  the cashier shrugs, the b*tch on the phone is oblivious, and waits for her other kid to get on the phone and place his order.  and another kid.

the next five minutes are a bit of a blur, as there is discussion over what comes on a 1/4 single with cheese, etc, etc — all of it being relayed from cashier to customer to her kid (via cell phone) to customer to cashier.  oh, and then she wants a baked potato, but gets all high-maintenance about what is going on it.  bacon?  LIKE SHE DOESN”T REALISE SHE”S AT A WENDY”S…

the kicker, the really really aggrevating thing, is that at the end of all of it she didn’t even attempt to make nice.  she didn’t hang up on her kids and say, “sorry” to the rest of us.  and this really wasn’t a 30-second delay, it was a good chunk of the 30-minute lunch break I was giving myself before some other meeting back at the office.

I understand that the Baconator is engineered by the good people at Wendy’s to crank my blood pressure up to (something horrifically bad), but this time it was there before I even placed my order.

luckily, nothing a little ‘mayo on the side’ couldn’t cure.



Filed under angry, cathartic, customer service, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, rant

post-a-day October

I’ve been slagging; shell-shocked by the markets, full of ideas but no sense of how to pull it all together…

[unapologetically borrowed from Looky Daddy!]

but today is a new day — heck, today is a new month!  so I’ll turn with the leaves and commit to bring some color to your feed-reader everyday for the next 31…

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Filed under customer service

overheard: a relationship based on honesty

“because I want you to be happy.

but not too happy.”

thanks hon.

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simple joys of Christmas

December 18th.  I call my sister to confirm some Christmas plans and ask what my nephews might want under the tree.  “Wait a sec, I’ll put him on…”

“I want two boxes of cereal.”

I hardly had a chance to ask him what he meant, and he put his mom back on the phone.  Was he serious?  Yes, she said, he keeps saying that he wants two boxes of cereal for Christmas.  Well alright then.

Later that evening I determined that I really was going to buy him cereal for Christmas.  Either I’d be the best uncle EVER, or he would learn a hard lesson and I’d end up being referred to as “crazy old uncle Cheese, the guy who wraps up kitchen perishables for his nephews.”  (Beats “Mean Old Uncle Chris”, I suppose.)

A few days later I called my sister to confirm — was it a specific type of cereal, or would any do?  It turns out he really wanted the toy inside Fruit Loops (an “XBox mini-game”), but I still had to laugh.  And while I didn’t get any pictures of him when he was really excited, this was him when he had calmed down:

Fruit Loops x2

Merry Christmas!


Filed under boogie woogie, customer service, funny, I believe the children are our future, nostalgia

the kids are alright, for now, but will probably end up dealing drugs…

An even better example, written up in the Boulder Weekly (tip to Reason):

Richard’s son, Sean, found a great bargain on AirHeads (a taffy-like candy), at Costco.

“I offered to help him buy the product, if he would pay me back,” Richard said. “We sat down and did the math. He was getting 90 in a box that cost about $12 dollars. Based on what he was able to sell an AirHead for, he was getting a 900 percent profit — almost a tenfold markup. That seemed like a pretty good enterprise. He was clearing at least $150 a week in profit.”

Sean treated his mother to dinner and a movie [and] bought an iPod. He bought a fancy gaming keyboard with multiple interchangeable sets of keys, new shoes, a sweatshirt and a hoodie.

“In a devious sort of way, I was proud of him,” Richard said. “One the other hand, we had this sense that something was wrong with this picture. We kind of knew that the school didn’t want him doing this. We also worried that it would all become a bit too enticing. And then, when the customers are too old to want candy, what’s he going to sell? Drugs. That was our concern. We worried that he would be unable to resist the money, and would sell whatever the customer wanted.

I was saddened that the father made this connection — or as Reason put it:

Candy didn’t use to be a gateway drug. Now it is. Thanks, school board!

I dealt Coke (Classic, sometimes Diet) at summer camp; as a camp counselor I’d have cases under my bunk and under-cut the “Tuck shop” by a dime or a quarter. Counselors would get a day off each week that we could run into town and I could restock — the poor campers were stuck there for two weeks straight.

For the record, I never made anywhere near 900% profit.  I like to think my campers liked me, but I have no doubt they would have ratted me out to the camp management if I tried to squeeze them.

What is AirHeads secret ingredient that makes kids NEED to have it?  Crack?


Filed under customer service, economics, I believe the children are our future, libertarian, nostalgia, war on drug warriors

parent’s just don’t understand

Washington Post:  Officials’ Silence Puts Parents ‘at Arm’s Length’

Schools nationwide are calling on parents to get involved. The Maryland State Board of Education endorsed a broad range of family outreach initiatives in a 2005 report that called public education “a shared responsibility.”

Yet some parents in Montgomery County and elsewhere have discovered limits on the get-involved policy when they ask questions about individual teachers, whether those queries are about alleged abuse of students or a decision to fire a popular instructor.

Parental involvement:  Ignored if you do, condemned if you don’t.  Yet another good reason to homeschool.


Filed under customer service, I believe the children are our future, sad, stupid government

yeah, thanks… go to hell.

I don’t think I’ve ever ended a phone call like that before today, but I felt like the manager at gave me no choice.

I was away from home for Valentine’s Day, on my yearly ski trip. My wife was also away from home, visiting her family at a vacation home in Florida. This arrangement was her idea — honest — and not a sign of any kind of problems with us; I don’t know what I’d do for a whole week in FLA, and she couldn’t see herself sitting in a house in Colorado with a young child all day if she couldn’t ski. Win Win (win).

Anyhow, the only thing I could do to reach out to her was send some flowers for Valentine’s Day. OK, maybe not the only thing, but lacking much creativity it seemed like the right thing to do. This is what I tried to send her: — ^@#*$*!? OK, here’s how much 1800Flowers sucks: I can’t even find the bouquet I tried to send… I entered a term in their search field, and all it does is returns the home page. [later: Seriously, all the search terms I can think of, and there is no sign of the flower arrangement. Maybe they cancelled it and that’s why it never got delivered.] [Whoops, I gave away the punch line…]

Feb 13th I called my father-in-law on his cell phone, getting the address of the house they are staying at, and luckily my wife was in the shower when I called — the surprise delivery would be such a nice touch — and I placed the online order well within their guaranteed delivery timeframe for the holiday. The next day I called my wife and casually asked if she had received a delivery. She hadn’t, but there was still some time left in the day, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The surprise was blown, but the delivery would still be worth it.

The next day (Friday) I received an email that the delivery had been picked up by UPS. OK, a day late, I could accept that. That night when I talked to K, she still hadn’t received anything. I used 1800F’rs email response form to explain my complaint:

I got the email (below) today, indicating that my order was picked up for delivery today. YESTERDAY was Valentines Day, which was the order delivery date I selected and which your web site indicated I was ordering in plenty of time. The email even indicates 2/14 delivery — so getting this email on 2/15 is infuriating.

Now my wife thinks I forgot to order something, but this was your fault. Surely you understand how important Valentines Day is (the day-after-Valentines doesn’t have the same effect). It just so happens that this year I’m in Colorado and she’s in Florida, so this was the only thing I could do to let her know that I was thinking of her. I want a full refund. Let me know when you will have it processed.

On my way to the airport Saturday I got an email indicating they had recieved my email (“Thank you for your important e-mail! … We appreciate your patience!”), so I checked the UPS tracking number (mmm… EVDO) and it indicated that UPS had received ‘billing info’ but had not actually picked up any product yet. (???) I was still trying to stay in vacation-mode and not get too stressed out about things, so I let it slide.

So today I finally called them. I wanted the flowers delivered plus a full refund. The best the CSR could offer was a 20% rebate; a full refund would only apply if I cancelled the order. Give me a manager… the manager said the same thing. I said that 20% per day might be a good start, but she wouldn’t budge. I said that I’d consider full equivalent credit for a future order (they keep my money, I get two deliveries for the price of one). She kept rephrasing my request in terms that made it sound like she was giving me what I wanted, but in reality was only delivering once (in the future). “The only way I can give you full credit is if you cancel your order.” Fine, then cancel it. She was all too chipper telling me how much would be credited back to my credit card, and I couldn’t help but be rude when the transaction was done.

I don’t literally want her to go to hell, but their company and customer service systems like theirs are just infuriating. And their decision was stupid from a financial perspective… assume that 1800F’rs remained my preferred delivery service for the next 5 years and I send flowers on three occasions per year (roughly right; it’s been less, but I could see it being more in the future), the value of me as a customer over that time is roughly $750 (present value, discounted). It would have cost them about $50 to make me happy about this V-day screwup. In fact, I might have been more loyal because I’d feel secure that they’d make things right if there ever was a problem — more revenue for them. Instead, they lose current and future revenue, and I’ll convince anyone within earshot not to use their service in the future.


Filed under angry, customer service, finance, rant