Thursday, June 20, 2013

A story with a McCompliment

Earlier this week I read a couple of news stories and saw accompanying video of members of the public verbally berating fast food employees.  I couldn't believe my eyes and ears.

In one instance, an apparent customer yells at a drive through employee because he asked for no cheese on his burger but got one with cheese.

In the other, a customer berates and verbally abuses two employees, trying to make herself out as some kind of victim while the employees are polite, apologetic, calm and do their best to complete an order.

The first thing I thought was; "What is this world coming to?"

I've worked in some from of customer service for most of my working life, from pushing an ice cream bike, to pumping gas, to internet help desk and finally to working in a hotel. I had thought I'd seen and heard everything possible when it comes to legitimately upset customers and people who were just born angry at the world.

I've even had some issues with services that I've posted here before, but never in those instances did I ever take my frustrations out on the employee(s) I was dealing with. I've been upset with companies,  but by and large I know that it's been something beyond the control of the front line person and having been on the other side of the counter or phone, I know that there is no need yell/scream/swear/berate that front line person, because whatever situation, most often, is beyond their control and not their fault.

That said, here's my latest story.

I got called into my job for overtime tonight and I worked from Midnight to Four AM. When I left work, I decided to get my burger on.  I went to one of my local McDonald's locations (
248 Torbay Rd, St John's, NL A1A 2H4) and pulled into the drive through at 4:15AM NDT (2:45AM EST). The voice from the speaker apologized and told me that their systems were down, but that she would be able to serve me in ten minutes when they came back up. I asked if they would be on the breakfast menu or still have the dinner menu available and she told me that the dinner menu would be available until 5AM NDT (3:30AM EST). I decided to wait.

I pulled around the building and took a parking spot near the drive through to wait. Then another car pulled up to the drive through speaker and the girl in store started her apology but the guy in the car cut her off and yelled "Wait a minute, I'm not ready!" I still had my radio off an my window down from my trip through so I could hear everything clearly. After about a minute he yelled "I'm ready now!" and again the employee offered her apology "I'm sorry, but as I tried to let you know, our systems are down right now, but I'll be happy to take your order in ten minutes when they come back."

He (I'm just gonna call him a douchbag now) then lost it and started yelling louder, cursing and swearing "Your fucking systems are down?! What the fuck?! What am I gonna fucking do?! I want a fucking burger!" and more along those same lines.  The employee again said she was sorry but she would be able to take the order when the systems came back. The douchebag then yelled a curse again and drove off.

I sat in my car in total disbelief, I mean yes, I'd seen those videos I posted at the top of this entry, and I've been called everything in the book when I worked tech support, but this was totally ridiculous. It's not the employees fault that this happened, and it would be a non-issue within ten minutes, five of which elapsed while douchebag was venting. This guy was totally, absolutely, unequivocally out of line with his words, he reaction was unwarranted.

The estimated time passed and I pulled up to the speaker again and sure enough I was able to order. When I got to the window to pay I told the girl at the window that I had heard the guy at the speaker and that he had been an ass, as she didn't do anything to deserve what he'd said. It's not her fault that the systems went down and she stayed polite despite his behaviour. She said "Wow" and thanked me for my kind words.

My overall point is that no one deserves to be treated the way that douchebag treated that unfortunate employee. She was polite and apologetic in the face of a colossal asshole who didn't learn better manners.

So from a service industry veteran, Cheers an Kudos to the girl at the drive through working the overnight shift on June 19th into the 20th at 4:30AM NST (3:00AM EST) for keeping her cool and staying polite in the face of unwarranted verbal abuse from a douchebag and to the entire night shift at the store for doing a great and speedy job with my order.

Thank you all very much.

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