Posts tagged Vero Beach
What is it with small towns and franchise businesses? I just don’t get it. Maybe living in Orlando for years has me spoiled as to what to expect as far as service is concerned. Whatever the reason, last night was the LAST NIGHT I’ll be ordering from Firehouse Subs in Vero Beach, Florida (and, most likely, any Firehouse Subs.)
Here’s what happened:
My wife is a finicky eater. You think going out to dinner with “your friend the vegan” can be a challenge? That’s nothing compared to Shannon. Because of this, she and I have become very adept at placing custom orders clearly and repeating orders to make sure they are done correctly.
Last night, I was neck deep in coding websites for Green Mustard Entertainment, and I didn’t feel like stopping for food. Shannon suggested ordering something for takeout and she’d run to get it while I kept working. We opted to order from this Firehouse Subs:
Your standard, small town franchise in a strip mall.
Here’s where things get interesting… Shannon wanted me to call ahead to order the subs. Knowing that she orders off menu, I tend to suggest she order it when she gets there instead (so she can watch them make it.) Time was a concern overall, though, so I made the call.
If you know me in real life, you know I have one of those deep, clear, radio style voices when I enunciate. I made the call to place an order. I spelled out exactly what SHOULD and SHOULDN’T be on Shannon’s sub. (It’s really simple, actually: pepperoni, onions, provolone, and oregano… that’s it! Nothing else.) I repeated it back to the guy on the phone and he informed me that he had it – and Shannon left to get it as I continued work.
She got home about half an hour later and I stopped work to take a break, watch TV, and eat dinner. She opened her sub and saw that they got it completely wrong. There was ham and lettuce and tomatoes and…
Well. I was pissed.
I was REALLY pissed because I walked the person through the order twice on the phone. Clearly. It would take a special act of not paying attention to mess this up. I was pissed because now this Firehouse Subs was about to waste the one thing I hold most valuable: time.
I got in the car and drove (with Shannon) back to the Firehouse Subs. I asked to speak to a manager, and the guy behind the counter told me that there wasn’t one there. Let me repeat: there was no manager on duty.
I then told him how upset I was and that I wanted a refund for the whole order. I explained that the purpose of calling in an order ahead of time was to save time – not waste it like I was doing having to come in. He gave the usual talk off – “I understand” – and started going through the order.
“You don’t want the other sandwich?” he asked, referring to mine.
“Why? So I can eat it in front of my wife who’s order you got wrong?”
“You don’t want these cookies either?” he then asked. He was going through item by item – shocked that I wanted a refund for all the untouched food.
It was ludicrous.
I then pointed out that either he or someone else had to have taken the order. Another guy showed up and said he was the one who did it. Ignoring the fact that there was lettuce and tomato on it (which wasn’t supposed to be there) he went straight for “you know it normally comes with ham, too.”
“I know,” I responded. ”I told you NO ham. No ham. No salami. Nothing else except the pepperoni, cheese, onions, and oregano. I was on your website reading the ingredients off the menu when I was ordering, hence making sure to mention everything to remove from the order.”
“I guess I didn’t hear your. Sorry,” he said back.
Since no manager was available, I asked for the franchise owner’s card. They got it for me and, luckily, it included the guy’s cell phone.
After getting our money back, we walked out and started deciding on where to get dinner. Before doing so, though, I took Shannon’s cell (mine was at home) and called the number on the business card. After a few rings, a man picked up.
“Hello,” I asked. ”Is Doug Hummel there?”
“This is him, who’s this?” the guy replied.
I proceeded to tell Doug the entire circumstance and let him know that I was standing out front of his Firehouse Subs while calling. After listening to my rant – Doug replied with these few words: “Okay. Well, I’ll let the manager know” and then ended the call.
Wow. Thanks, man.
So should the folks from that Firehouse ever read this, here’s the simple answer to the problem that NO ONE on your team – all the way to the Franchise Owner – never did.
NO ONE OFFERED TO MAKE THE CORRECT SUB. No one. I got excuses from the counter guy…
“The manager isn’t here.”
I got excuses from the order taker…
“I didn’t hear you say no ham.”
I even got a talk off from the owner…
“I’ll let the manager know.”
NO ONE OFFERED TO FIX THE PROBLEM. NO ONE. That, boy and girls, is what is called “service.” It’s how a company thrives in a recessive market. It’s also something that, when lacking, loses business.
And as of now, I have no plans to ever return to a Firehouse Subs.
Methinks it may be time to pick up a phone and call the Better Business Bureau. Before I left for Japan last month, I ordered pizza from a Mossimo’s Pizza in Vero Beach, Florida (formerly Vitorrio’s II) and experienced one of the worst customer service experiences ever.
You can read about it here: http://www.tomcroom.com/?p=8673
You’d think that would be that and everyone would move on with life… but for some reason I am *still* dealing with this company. This morning I was reviewing my bank account and balancing the checkbook when I noticed some odd transactions. Check this out:
So I ordered the pizza on the 7th. The funds cleared on my account on the 9th. THEN they refunded the amount on the 23rd (two weeks later!) AND THEN they charged my card again… five days after that.
WHY do they still have my credit card on file? How long are businesses like this allowed to hold the info?
Why is Mossimo’s Pizza still f’ing around with my card?
I’ll be calling the BBB and Bank of America later today.
Everyone makes mistakes.
It’s going to happen and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. So when the delivery guy showed up at my front door tonight without my complete pizza order, I kept that in mind. The actions that took place afterwards, though…
Let’s start at the beginning:
There was a pizza place in town called Vittorio’s II Pizza. The “II” was because there is more than one. I think the other one is across town – but I digress. We recently curbed our pizza ordering habits (read: I need to lose weight) but I still would order a pie for delivery about once a month.
A few weeks ago, the place changed its name to Mossimo’s Pizza. It has a pretty new sign outside but, as far as I could tell, it’s damn close to what was there before.
Not the same.
Tonight, we ordered a large pizza, garlic knots, and a two liter of soda. It’s been a stressful day and we just wanted to sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours and eat dinner. Pure lazy awesomeness.
The delivery guy showed up tonight and informed us that they were “out of Coke products.” He said he’d refund us the $2.50 for the soda. I asked why no one called to tell us that they were out of Coke since, you know, I’d drink Sprite in a pinch. At that, he offered to drive back an get one for us.
I explained that doing so would defeat the purpose of dinner since the pizza would be cold.
Shannon, being the nicest person ever, still tipped him $5. Instead of declining, he gave her $3 back as a refund for the soda we didn’t get.
As soon as he left, I picked up the phone and called Mossimo’s back. I got the nice young lady who took my order earlier and I politely asked to speak to the manager. She asked what it was in regards to and I explained that I had just received my order and it didn’t come with the two liter of carbonated goodness we asked for with it.
She asked me to hold on a moment and (after, literally, about one second) she just continued the conversation. I could hear a guy talking in the background, but couldn’t understand him. She said that when the delivery guy came back that she would send him back to my house with the soda. I asked how since they were allegedly “out of Coke products.” The young lady informed me that they were NOT out of the products and it was “his fault that he forgot.” She also told me how upset she was with him.
Like I should care.
I explained that there was a Marco’s Pizza right down the road and I’d most likely order from them going forward.
Like I said at the beginning of this post: everyone makes mistakes. The important thing, though, is how to handle them when they happen. Here are a couple of options that would have made sense:
1. Hand the manager the phone. If he’s busy, ask if the customer can hold.
2. Corrective measure Option A: Apologize and offer to refund the pizza.
3. Corrective measure Option B: Apologize and offer the next order as free.
4. Corrective measure Option C: Apologize and offer a discount on the next order.
(All options involve having the manager come to the phone.)
If they hold this level of service with all the locals, it’ll only be a matter of time before they are as closed that the buffet that used to be next door.
Stay classy Vero Beach businesses.
Yesterday I went to the dentist. They knocked me out. There are photos. Feel free to laugh at/with me.0
That’s the first time that I have EVER gotten an I.V. Ever. Dodged that for over three decades thanks to a high tolerance of pain.
There’s me out cold. I barely remember being there for any of it. Allegedly I held conversations regarding filming an episode of Girls Gone Wild, bungee jumping and other various topics.
I also explained that drugs have little to no effect on me.
Reports have it that I hugged the anesthesiologist that was on hand when it was all done.
I REMEMBER NONE OF THIS.
The result? BEST DENTIST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. Seriously. I don’t remember being there which means, by default, it was AWESOME. If you live in Indian River County, check out:
James W. Betancourt, DMD, MS
70 Royal Palm Pointe, Ste. B
Vero Beach, FL 32960-4256
The set up: A few weeks back I went to the Indian River County Firefighter’s Fair for a night of bad food and dangerous rides with my friends. You see, after years of working in theme parks I have become jaded by so called “thrill rides.” Disney and Universal work hard to make their rides as safe as can be which, while fun, isn’t really “thrilling.”
Carnival/fair rides have a special charm for me (and some of my fellow theme park employee friends) because there is an actual risk of death when you hop onto one of those things. Risk of dying on an aging and questionably maintained ride = actual thrill.
WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH BASEBALL, you ask? Well, while we were walking around the midway we passed one of those insulting clowns in a dunk tank. My friend Stacy and her boyfriend Miles walked by earlier and, it seems, the clown had annoyed Miles by making some rather ruthless and tasteless comments towards some passing fourteen year old girls.
He decided he wanted a shot at the clown, so I decided to do it too (so he wouldn’t be doing it by himself.)
I blame it on hyperactivity brought on by the fried Oreos I had earlier, but for some reason the clown started to piss me off. My friends know “that look” I get when I get truly annoyed… it’s this focused yet unstrained expression my eyes get. You can’t see it in this video (because it’s from behind) but you can VERY MUCH notice my extended pause to focus in frustration before throwing the ball.
I couldn’t repeat that throw if you paid me, but it was fun to enjoy for the moment.
You can watch the full version here (which includes me hitting the mark and in a lucky throw earlier and thanking Nintendo Wii for the skills.)
Thanks Kaleb for filming this.
A couple of months ago, Shannon and I went riding out bikes out near the beach. I somehow managed this shot without wiping out.
I occasionally update new photos (and old ones that I scan) on my Flickr account. Each Friday I post one on my blog from my collection that I think is kind of non-suckworthy.
Please note that Wikileaks and Wikipedia are NOT the same entity. Wikipedia is a wonderful project developed as a free online encyclopedia. Wikileaks is a project developed to distribute information for the purpose of making the intent of world governments a bit more transparent.
Opinions are one thing that people can agree to disagree on. Conveying incorrect information, though is piss poor journalism.
As a bonus: you spelled “Wikipedia” wrong – making the error twice the failure.
(See photo for reference.)
EDIT: As an added bonus, it has been pointed out to me that “IRC County Commissioner” in the photo caption is a redundancy since that would make the title “Indian River County County Commissioner.” Nice!