Friday night, we had a couple of friends over for dinner. Michelle and I weren’t going to be able to have time to cook, so we decided to try the pasta from Pizza Hut, since we’d been seeing the commercials on Top Chef and we’re very vulnerable to commercials.
3:30pm: I place an order online for the chicken pasta, to be delivered at 6:30pm.
6:45pm: no pasta. I call my local Pizza Hut (this is the one) and talk to a guy who identifies himself as Aaron. He tells me that the pasta is ready to be delivered but he just needs to get his delivery guy back to the store, so real soon now.
7:15pm: no pasta. I call Pizza Hut again and talk to Aaron again.
“Hi, I still haven’t seen my pasta.”
“It’s going out for delivery now. You should see it any minute.”
“Yeah… so I was supposed to get this at 6:30. I’m not real happy about the delay here.”
“I’ll zero out the charge on this.”
I’m pretty sure the pasta’s never showing up.
7:30pm: no pasta. I run across the street to Vons and get one of those cooked chickens instead. We eat.
8:30pm: no pasta. I call Pizza Hut again. We’ve already eaten, but now I’m kind of pissed off.
“Hi, I ordered pasta for 6:30 delivery and I still haven’t seen it.”
“Let me look up your order… oh, ok, it hasn’t been made yet.”
“That’s surprising. I was told earlier that it was ready to be delivered. How could it be ready to be delivered if it wasn’t cooked?”
“Sir I’m just telling you what I see in the system. Your ticket is right here–number 128. One chicken pasta.”
“Is it common for people to be told their food’s about to be delivered when it isn’t even made yet?”
“I don’t know who you talked to, maybe it was someone new who doesn’t understand the way the system works… it’s been a really busy Friday for us what with the rain and all and we’re way behind but we’ll get this out to you as soon as we can.”
At this point I should bring up that the dialog in this post is all from memory and condensed a little so you won’t have to read me saying the same thing five times, but as a rule I try my very hardest not to be a dick on the phone to the pizza place. I used to work at a pizza place, you see, and I saw what happened a couple of times to a really mean customer’s order, and it wasn’t pretty. We’ve all heard stories. So I was really trying hard to communicate my rising dissatisfaction in a mystified, ‘I’m so confused, how does this jive with what the previous guy told me’ way rather than a ‘what the hell is wrong with you people’ way.
“It’s been two hours and I’ve been told twice that my food was about to be delivered and now that I find out that this was impossible… I’m unhappy about this.”
“I understand. We’re still really busy but we’ll get this to you as soon as possible, and what I’d recommend is that you call back in an hour or so when things calm down a little and ask to speak to the manager and tell him your situation and we can see what we can do to make it right with you. Just ask for Aaron.”
“Wait, Aaron is my buddy! I’ve talked to him twice! He’s the guy that said my pasta was all ready to go. Now I’m really confused. Is Aaron a new employee?”
“Sir, I can’t explain that but he’s the guy you will need to talk to.”
10:15pm: no pasta. Damn it, Pizza Hut, come hell or high water you and I are going to see this transaction through.
“Pizza Hut, this is Brandon.”
“Hi Brandon, can I speak with a manager?”
“I’m a manager, sir. This is Brandon.”
“I was told to ask for Aaron.”
“Aaron left at 6:00.”
“He did? I talked to him since then! I had an order of pasta for 6:30pm and I’ve called several times and I still don’t have it.”
“Let me look it up… OK, I show your order as being cancelled.”
“Cancelled? I didn’t cancel any order!”
“I see two orders. Ticket 30 and ticket 128. Both were cancelled.”
“Brandon, does Pizza Hut cancel customer orders without the customer doing the cancelling often? Because I’ve got to tell you as a customer I’m starting to feel very jerked around here.”
“I understand, sir, this is very strange.”
“Who cancelled the orders?”
“I thought Aaron left at 6:00.”
“Maybe Aaron was in his office or something. Aaron has an office.”
“Brandon, as a customer I’m very unused to this type of treatment. I can’t possibly understand how what you are telling me happened here went down.”
“Sir, I’m all about customer service. I’ve got a driver here and we’ll get that pasta right out to you. How many do you want?”
I think I could have told him I wanted five or something, but I just wanted the pasta that I ordered at this point.
“One’s fine, and thanks. What I’m really interested in is figuring out why Aaron told me what he told me.”
“I’m writing your number down and I will get this figured out.”
“OK, and you’ll call me with that?”
10:30pm: pasta showed up. No charge.
Now I never expected to hear from Brandon. Unless Aaron and whoever I talked to at 8:30 were hanging out watching him talk on the phone and giggling, he did fine and it would be truly above and beyond for him to actually investigate this matter and call me back (though it’d also be what he said he was going to do, and he’s all about customer service.) I also get how things can get balled up sometimes–heck, I screwed up a customer’s order more than once at Little Caesar’s. But what I said was “I’m sorry about that, my fault, I’ll fix this”, not a bunch of fabricated nonsense.
Heck, I don’t even mind mediocre customer service from a Pizza Hut because I know the turnover in the foodservice industry–85% high school kids, mean service time of 22 days or so, many of them from a fairly nice neighborhood, who aren’t exactly highly motivated to keep their jobs as opposed to getting fired and finding another minimum wage gig. But Aaron is apparently the manager. What on earth is the manager doing giving me the runaround like this?
I’m not the world’s most ardent Pizza Hut fan, but I do like some of their menu items (quepapas… mmm). I ordered from the branch by my old house every so often, and I always got satisfactory service. But the Scripps Ranch Pizza Hut has managers that make things up. Get your pizza somewhere else.