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Fast food fiascos

It's time to give it up for McDonald's.

According to my wife, some of the nicest people she's ever met work at the Thomson branch of the burger giant. She typically goes there around 6 a.m. on her way to work. Even though she's frustrated at being up so early and irritated that I'm back at home asleep, she says the people at McDonald's know her by name, always get her order right and are generally just nice people. This is comforting for me, because I've had just about the worst run in customer service disasters ever in the past few months.

I've enraged workers at Thomson's Taco Bell, KFC and most recently Wendy's -- all because they messed up my orders. This is truly an unprecedented roll. I've only got a few more restaurants to go before I can complete the Thomson grand slam. I don't think it's out of the question.

All three incidents were particularly unnerving, but I think my experience at KFC was probably the worst. After bringing it to the attention of a worker that my popcorn chicken box had been filled only halfway up to the top, I was greeted with a barrage of sarcasm that still astounds me to this day. Imagine: "I'm so sorry sir! It'll never happen again! Poor you!" in the most patronizing way imaginable. There's nothing like feeling guilty because you want your chicken box to be full after paying eight bucks for it. Nothing.

The same goes for my trips to Wendy's and Taco Bell. At the Border I was actually told I wasn't deserving of a refund because I had mistakenly been given an expensive item that didn't even appear on a menu. That was something else.

At Wendy's they just pretty much butchered my order to the point that it was completely unrecognizable by the time I looked in the bag.

Well, the other day I called up all the customer service numbers in search of retribution. I'm happy to report that the Wendy's representative sounded sympathetic to my complaint, offering to refund my money.

My experience talking to the KFC and Taco Bell departments wasn't as satisfying. After being on hold for about half an hour, the Taco Bell people were OK, if a little boring. They didn't seem very interested in my complaint and made me give them all of my contact information. I'm hoping it's for air-mailed burritos, but I'm not holding my breath. No refund, though.

As for the KFC hotline worker, well she couldn't figure out the word "Thomson." She kept asking me if I was saying Thomaston or Thompson. It was a good 10 minutes before we settled on the name. After that, I got more of the same boring, lifeless form-speak like at Taco Bell.

So what have I learned from all of this?

How about this: Start eating better. It'll save you a lot of trouble in the long run.



Web posted on Thursday, March 4, 2004


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