Saturday, January 12, 2008

The downfall of customer service

Over the last several months, I have been witness to numerous examples of shoddy customer service in our PX'es overseas and especially in fast food restaurants, but WOW...I had no idea just how pathetic it could be until today.

Nevermind our "fast food" is overpriced. Nevermind it costs nearly $30 to get a quickie meal for seven people (including three who share a kids' meal). Nevermind we're already irritated that we have to have more than five dollars to get FOUR small sodas. That's all irrelevant now.

In our Army/Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) food court, we have a very limited selection. Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, Popeye's, or Anthony's Pizza (not GREAT pizza, but it's better than some of the weird stuff we've found in German pizzerias). We chose to partake of what we *thought* would be a quick, somewhat less-expensive (certainly less expensive than BK) meal of two pizzas at Anthony's today. It should have been a very straightforward exchange, ordering, waiting, eating, and leaving. However, due to the gross incompetence of two AAFES employees (adults, not greenhorn teenyboppers, I might add), it took us a full TWO HOURS to eat.

When we got there, they weren't backed up. They'd just gotten past the midday rush, so it wasn't overly crowded. However, it really seemed to throw the cashier off when Pete ordered "combo #1, the two large pizzas". See, Anthony's Pizza has TWO #1 combos. One is two whole pizzas, the other is a two-slice, one-drink combo. She rang it up, then gave him the total, which was six dollars more than the price on their board. I mentioned to her that the price was off, she says "Well, you DID order two pizzas--the pepperoni was $13.99, the cheese was $11.99". Duh. I KNOW that, Einstein. I'm telling you, the board out here says your combo is $21.99 for two one-topping large pizzas. She gets upset at US and tells us we did NOT order a combo. I walked away, feeling the heat in my face surface and the hackles start to raise. Pete finally got it all straightened out, since all of the people who were now behind us in line HEARD him say "combo". We sit down to what is usually a ten-minute wait for our pizzas to be made, baked, and handed to us. Four other customers behind us order whole pizzas, and three of them had to spend five minutes at the register correcting this knucklehead who seemed to not be able to understand simple orders. In the next HOUR while we were waiting on our pizzas, she insulted two customers, completely ignored Pete twice when he was trying to inquire about our order, and were witness to what seemed like a near-meltdown after she had to correct the third wrong order. One lady actually left after 45 minutes of waiting on an order of cheese breadsticks. AMAZING.

An HOUR later, when we'd still not been called to get our pizzas, I got to wondering about the two pizza boxes sitting atop the pizza oven (in plain sight of the dining room); Pete gets up, goes to the counter and TWICE asked this cashier if the boxes on top of the oven were ours. She interrupted him each time as if he didn't exist, calling across the dining room to other customers (who were behind us in line when we ordered) to come get their pizzas. When he finally got her attention, she merely turned around, grabbed the pizzas, and handed them to him without a single word. He caught her attention once more and said "You know, we were sitting RIGHT HERE, you could have just let us know they were there." He then thanked her.

NOT ONCE did this pathetic excuse for a service worker EVER apologize for misunderstanding his order, or getting the price wrong, or the time we had to wait, or even forgetting to call us when our pizzas were ready.

I'm just in shock, mortified, and beyond disgusted. The pizzas weren't hot, and after all that time, I think our stomachs had churned enough that they just didn't taste good anymore.

Yes, we complained. As did FIVE other customers, three of whom saw the awful treatment we got. As we left, Jon heard the manager say "she's got to go". Have fun finding a job, Miss Manners! I hope you're always treated as "well" as you treat your customers!

Really, I'm not in a nasty mood. I find it laughable, in fact, that people think so poorly of their jobs that they don't do them to their fullest potential. Some people should NOT work in the service industry.

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