23 March, 2007

Taco Bell Is Off My List

Today I was pretty rushed for lunch, so I whipped into Taco Bell thinking I'd be in and out in no time. The drive through was packed, so I figured I'd just run inside. I walked straight to the counter and ordered with no waiting. The cashier handed me my receipt and told me that I was order number 172. I went over to fill my soda while I waited, and I hear this woman at the counter complaining about how long she has been waiting. I think to myself, "how long could you have been waiting" because there were not that many people in the store. Then I heard another woman call out, "Number 163! 163 please!" I looked again at my receipt to make sure,... yep, I was number 172. I stood there and waited, and waited, and waited, listening to irate customer after irate customer complain. Then I realized, they were making all the drive through orders before they did any for the inside. I started talking to a man sitting there who was visibly upset, and he told me that he had been waiting for 19 minutes for his food, and he only had a 30 minute lunch break. He finally went to the register and demanded his money back. By this time I had been waiting for 14 minutes for my food, and I had somewhere to be, so I walked to the counter and asked a young woman just what the problem was. She did not even acknowledge my standing there, but turned her back on me and started wiping off a counter. I said, (very loudly) "Excuse me, do have trouble hearing?" She snapped back, "Talk to the manager!" and walked away from me. The manager was standing within eye and ear shot, so I asked her why it was taking so long to prepare our orders. She stared at me like I was insane, then she too turned her back on me. OK, I am getting irate now, and these people are walking in the door and I said to them, "If you want to eat today, you might want to leave now!" Several people applauded, and the people turned and walked out. The manager then walks up to me and starts asking, "What is your problem, sir?" I said, "I believe you are my problem. I've been waiting here for over 15 minutes to get a meal that should take you 45 seconds to prepare. What is going on?" Several others began to chime in about how upset they were, and this woman says, "You people need to understand that the drive through is our first priority and if you want your food fast, go through the drive through!" I asked for my money back, as did several other people. Just as I did, they called my number. I told them no thanks, I wanted my money back. She said, "Well you are going to have to pay for that pop." By now I was steaming, and I knew I'd explode if I opened my mouth. Finally I told her I want the name and number of her boss. She told me that if I wanted it, I'd have to find out for myself. A young girl standing next to the manager said, "Call 1-800-TACO BEL(L). If looks could kill, the managers stare would have dropped that girl on the spot. The manager fired one more missile at me and the others asking for our money back. She said, "There are plenty of other places to eat on this street, why don't you go to one of them next time?" A woman standing there fired back that she would indeed go elsewhere from now on. (Except her conversation was filled with obscenities.)

So, I walked out of the store, and dialed the number as soon as I got in my van. I gave them all the information and they put a supervisor on the phone and asked me to repeat the story. I told them again. Of course they apologized over and over and told me that this was not Taco Bell standards.... And I said, "If that is not the Taco Bell standard, then why did someone make this woman a store manager?" The guy laughed and said, "Well sir, you make a good point." The offered to send me coupons for free food, but I told them not to worry about it, because I was crossing that store off my list. She told me that I would be hearing from a regional something or another... I really was not paying attention by that time. I was pulling though the drive through at KFC.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if it was the case with your Taco Bell, but I have made a sad observation. The slowest fast food restaurants, with the worst customer service, are almost always staffed by mostly minorities.

The do not have a correct concept of fast, clean, efficient, friendly.

When I drive up to a restaurant and I see that most of the staff is black, I want to go elsewhere. NOT because I have anything against these people handling my food, etc., but because, almost invariably, I can expect poor service.

Sad, but true.

Darrell said...

First, let me say that there was not one minority working in the place, at least not that I saw.
Second, I personally find your comment disgusting. I almost deleted it, but I decided to let it stand and comment on it.

It so happens in my town there are two Taco Bell's. One is almost always staffed with predominately black workers, the other with mostly white. Telling the absolute truth, the first one has always been more clean and the workers are so nice that I generally go there rather than the one closer to my house.

Maybe you've had some experience like you mention, but I assure you, it is not because of their race.

I could say more, but I'm gonna get angry. Let's just say that prejudice is alive and well.

ruthrap said...

I would have to say that the experience you had was management related...most of the time when an establishment has really poor management..it will trickle down to the whole staff..it is sad, but true! That manager handled the situation entirely wrong and should be reprimanded if not demoted or fired! You just don't treat customers like that...

Sean McKee said...

Jalisco's food is better anyway.