A lesson on how not to treat customers from Papa Johns

My Fifteen Year-Old, who doubles as a gourmet chef when hubby and I are too busy to cook, is off to theater to do his best as the summoning gongs of a clock in Scrooge, but that’s a topic for another blog. So here we are, not a stitch of munchables in the fridge other than some Lean Pockets, and well, that’s something we’ll hold on to in case of famine or a hurricane.

The hungry seven year-old makes his customary rounds from hubby’s office to mine demanding to be fed more or less immediately, or he is going to pass out from hunger, report us to Children and Families, or impose any other punishment he sees fit. I can’t take it anymore, so I call up Papa Johns pizza, more in an attempt to shut him up than procure an actual meal. While listening to a rather horrendous rendition of “My Gir” on their hold line, I recall that last week when I ordered from them my chicken wing order got screwed up and I got hot wings instead of barbecue… Now, I don’t tend to complain, especially when it comes to franchise pizza joints, but since the kids were really craving the wings last week and I reiterated at least ten times the flavor of said wings to the person on the phone, when I got the wrong ones I was mildly peeved, so I called them back and complained.

A very nice woman offered to give me credit for next time, and apologized in the most sincere way…after a brief speech on corporate policy of making customers happy.

So tonight, after I ordered the pizza, I mentioned to the gentleman on the phone that I had credit for some wings. He immediately assured me that I did not, and he was looking at my account, and was quite confident that there was no way I would have any wing credit whatsoever. I was then asked to produce an employee number or first and last name of the person who had the audacity to promise me said wing credit last week, and he actually ‘hah-hah-ed’ when I couldn’t recall the name that was never given to me in the first place from my swiftly dimming memory.

At this point I said in the calmest voice I could muster:”well, if it’s not too much trouble, could you just add the wings to my order, … please”. Misinterpreting my niceness as sarcasm, the man on the other end of my Papa Johns line says: “Fine, you want your wings, you got it… Your total is $… and it’ll be like an hour”. I made my voice smile, and gave him my credit card number, and lo and behold, he couldn’t run the card. It wasn’t going through for whatever reason, so finally, exasperated I hung up and placed a comparable order online, using the same card, which went through no problem.

By now, my seven year-old is not only starving but has his heart set on some bbq wings, so I get a special that comes with free chicken strips, for lack of anything with wings online, and call Papa Johns again, this time a little less nice.

After briefly explaining what happened to a female answering the phone, I get a very confused sounding: “Well, whaddoyah want me to do ‘bout it, maaaam?”

Me: “I want you to substitute the chicken strips for bbq wings, please”

Her: “I’m ‘fraid can’t do that, maaaam, you already put it in the computer, and it won’t let me change your order or give you credit…”

Me: “I am not asking you to give me credit, though I am paying five bucks more for essentially the same meal, simply because you couldn’t run a card… I just want you to….”

Her: “Maaam, you wanna talk to the manager or somethin’?”

Me (getting just a tad annoyed, but keeping real calm…) “I would love to talk to the manager, … please”

Mr Manager: “Just like the lady told yah, we can’t change a pre-paid order, so I don’t know what I can do for you, ma-am.”

Me: (Very very slowly, and calmly) “you can simply substitute the strips I ordered for bbq wings…”

Mr. Manager: “The computer won’t let me do that, ma-am!”

Me: (not so calm at this stage…) “Sir, is the computer cooking my food?”

Mr. Manager “Hah?’

Me: “If there is a human being involved anywhere in the process of my food being made, I would very much like if he or she could locate a set of pizza boxes with my address on them, find the one that is supposed to contain chicken strips and put bbq wings in there instead. Do you think it is possible for someone to do this?”

Mr. Manager: “Hmmmm… I dunno… I never had to do that before, and well, you see the store policy is that……”

By this time I could care less what I served for dinner so long as the 7 year-old didn’t mind it too much. I, myself, was getting less and less hungry at this point, and finally just hung up the phone on the guy wanting to be really really mad. But I couldn’t be mad, because the stupidity was so overwhelmingly genuine; the recitations of policies and rules, and detailed explanations of what can and cannot be done were so out of the textbook he undoubtedly had to read, that I was simply stumped for an appropriate response…

I figured I could have gone to the store and bought groceries and cooked an actual meal in less time than it took me to order a pizza.. and some wings… In a half hour or so I got the pizza, and, to my utter surprise, some wings, but I still can’t get rid of the bad taste in my mouth of how eager everyone was to tell me exactly what it was they couldn’t do, and why. Suddenly my hurricane supply of Lean Pockets seemed a more desirable alternative. After all, at least I can yell at these boxed up gooey food-wannabes, but they can’t say “No” to me! There is, in fact, nothing they can say to me, and that I can live with.


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