It pays to complain!

So, today I spent the best part of 20 minutes sat in a ‘drive thru’ queue at McDonald’s in Lower Earley. How it can ever be called ‘fast food’ when it takes as long as that, I will never know!

Anyway, I got to the first window where you place your order and pay and the worker put it into the till and then even went to the trouble of confirming the four meals that had been ordered (not all for me, of course) and a side of onion rings. She took the £20 total and asked me to drive to the next window.

After a further 5 minutes of waiting at the next window, I was asked to pull into a parking space and to wait for my food – thus defeating the object and the convenience of a ‘drive thru’ meal. Much waiting later, the meal was delivered to the car and I drove back to work and excitedly unpacked the food, only to discover that somebody had forgotten to pack my onion rings. Unfortunately for me, however, the staff at the restaurant hadn’t forgotten to charge me for them.

I have always been one to complain and it is no doubt Barclays and their “a complaint is a gift” motto, which has seen me making complaints at every opportunity. Today was to be no exception and I jumped on the phone and expressed my anger at the sloppy service. With petrol prices being so high these days and with my lunch break now down to about 10 minutes – thanks to the slowest fast food staff in the world – there were plenty of reasons not to make the 3 mile journey back there.

Anyway, I was quickly offered the replacement onion rings on my next visit and a free meal to apologise for the inconvenience. I will definitely take up the offer and look forward to tucking into my complimentary meal – courtesy of Ronald and the gang – some time soon.

There was another incident recently at Superdrug in Wokingham. A blatant pricing error by incompetent staff in the store meant that an item I wanted for £19.99 was actually going to set me back £37.99 – no chance! The item in question was a bottle of aftershave and being positioned behind the till, it meant that no customer could ever get to the shelf to fiddle with the price labels!

A young lady (or more appropriately, ‘girl’) came along and her name badge identified her as ‘Manager’. She couldn’t make eye contact to explain the problem and she didn’t apologise for the mistake. In fact, she didn’t see it as a mistake. The product on the shelf was a ‘vaporiser’, whilst the price label was for a ‘spray’. But whilst she couldn’t figure out that these words had exactly the same meaning (effectively making them the same products), I could, and I continued to argue. Anyway, like an adolescent teenager, she soon marched off and muttered, “how many times have I got explain it?” as she left.

Logging onto, full of anger, I wasn’t after compensation for the frankly embarrassing behaviour of the worker in the store, I just wanted to know how the two products differed and a personal apology for the distress caused. There was, of course, no real ‘distress’ caused, but it’s such a great word to use.

A few days later, I received a response. Whoever was writing back to me clearly wasn’t up to the job. They completely overlooked my complaint about the awful manager working in the store and instead waffled on about how ‘vaporiser’ and ‘spray’ are two different products (no, they’re not) before making a feeble gesture of £5.00 for the upset. I was quick to respond and insisted that I be taken seriously. I demanded the apology I was after, again asked about the same product that they were trying to pass off as two, and I told the company to keep the pathetic voucher that was offered.

A few more days pass and I receive another response. I get the apology I wanted, the company confirms that they made a mistake with their pricing and their offer of compensation is increased to a more satisfying £30.00.

As happy as I was with their response and goodwill gesture, I only wish they would have allowed me to make the purchase I wanted at the price that was indicated. It would still have meant a loss to the company – but only £18.00 – a far cry from the £30.00 they ended up giving to me.

If ever you’re unhappy with something, it pays to complain! Rant over.

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