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2004.04.09 The Customer is Occasionally Right

posted Oct 28, 2009, 9:49 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Oct 28, 2009, 5:58 PM ]
...and a cash register receipt never forgets...

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Or at least, that's what I reconstructed from the screeches, squeals, and buzzes coming from the little speaker.

"Yeah, I'd like to try one of them new Nova Burgers."

Squeak. Hiss. "Would you like fries with that?"

"Not today, thanks."

Buzz. Zap. "Would you like a Mega Drink with that?"

"Not today, thinks."

Hiss. Spat. "Would you like to make your Nova Burger into a Mega Nova Burger Meal? Burger, Mega-size fries, and a Mega Drink for nearly 20 cents less than the usual price."

"Not today, thanks." And about double the price of just the burger.

Snap. Crackle. Pop. "$2.85 at the first window, please."

I'd heard of Sir Pukesalot's new Nova Burgers -- It's Like an Exploding Cloud of Superheated Gas in Your Stomach TM -- a while back and had always wanted to try one. I tried one that day and it wasn't half bad.

A little too much mayonnaise, though. I don't care much for mayonnaise. It's not like I'm allergic or anything, and far be it from me to ever turn down food put in front of me, mayo or no, but I avoid it when I can.

No problem, though, as Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service prides itself on custom-making every burger to order. All I'd have to do is tell them to hold the mayo the next time.

Well, the next time, I forgot. And the time after that. And the time after that. But I am nothing if not persistant, and eventually did remember to ask them to hold the mayo.

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Buzz. Crackle.

"I'd like one of them Nova Burgers, hold the mayo. No fries or drink, just the burger." I figured that it would cut my wait time in half if I short-circuited their usual Mega Meal sales pitch.

"Yes, sir. Would you like fries with that?" Squeak.

No, that wasn't the speaker. I squeaked. And developed an instant headache. I calmly explained (again) that I just wanted the burger.

Snap. Crackle. Pop. "$3.45 at the first window, please."

I got my burger and drove off. A little later, I started eating. Hmm. That tastes like mayonnaise, but it can't be. I specifically told them to hold the mayo. I checked the receipt, found it missing, and simply opened up the burger. Plenty of mayonnaise. No tomatoes.

Well, I thought to myself, that speaker system isn't the best in the world, and with my outrageous Southern accent, I'm sure that "mayo" and "mater" sounds similar to your average transplanted Yankee. My fault, no doubt. Next time, I will make it clear.

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Buzz. Crackle.

"I'd like one of them Nova Burgers, hold the mayonnaise. No fries or drink, just the burger without mayonnaise."

Snap. Crackle. Pop. "$3.17 at the first window, please."

I paid for my burger and drove off. I eventually started eating. Mayonnaise oozed out between my fingers during the first bite. It got worse as it went. This time I did find a receipt. One Nova Burger with extra mayo. Okay, next time...

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Buzz. Crackle.

"I'd like one of them Nova Burgers, hold the mayonnaise. That's no mayonnaise. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada."

Snap. Crackle. Pop. "$2.96 at the first window, please."

I checked my burger. No mayonnaise. No mustard, lettuce, pickles, cheese, onions, or tomatoes, either.

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Buzz. Crackle.

"Actually, I'd like to speak with a manager, please."

"Yes, sir. Would you like fries with that?" Squeak.

That was me squeaking again. Another instant headache. But I did eventually get it across to her that I wasn't ordering anything.

Snap. Crackle. Pop. "$4.44 at the first window, please."

Well, almost.

"I'm the manager," said the manager, chewing on a cud of chewing gum that would have choked your average milk cow. I'd seen milk cows with smaller udders, now that I think about it. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yes, ma'am. I'm allergic to mayonnaise," I lied. It's much easier to get their attention with an allergy than it is to explain a mild dislike. "I really like your new Nova Burger, but every time I order one, I get increasing amounts of mayonnaise on it, even when I ask them to leave it off."

She looked at me funny. "What do you mean, sir, 'even when you ask them to leave it off?'" Chomp chomp.

"I don't want mayonnaise so I ask them to hold the mayo when I order."

Comprehension dawned. Then immediately hid behind a storm cloud. "Oh, I see the problem. Our Nova Burger -- It's Like an Exploding Cloud of Superheated Gas in Your Stomach TM -- doesn't usually come with mayonnaise. When you ask them to hold the mayo, it confuses them. They probably just hit the 'mayo' key on the register, which takes off the mayo if the sandwich usually comes with mayo, but adds mayo if the sandwich doesn't." Chomp chomp.

I woudln't have thought my headache couldn't have gotten any worse. "But, my Nova Burgers kept coming with mayonnaise. That's the only reason why I asked them to hold it in the first place."

"Well, sir, it doesn't usually come with mayonnaise..." she chomped.

We went back and forth on that several times. She finally decided that I wasn't going to give up. She asked me to wait while she checked on something.

While she was gone, I checked the rear-view mirror. Usually when somebody at a business asks me to wait on something, it's so they can sneak off and call 911. I was pleasantly surprised when she came back without police backup. "Here you go, sir."

I looked at the huge stack of paper she had just handed me. "What's all this, then?"

"That's the last of our promotional coupons for our Nova Burger -- It's Like an Exploding Cloud of Superheated Gas in Your Stomach TM -- that we had printed up back when we first introduced it. The coupons don't expire until the end of next year. This way, you can eat our Nova Burgers to your heart's content and, if we get your order wrong, at least you won't be out any money."

I was shocked by this tiny bit of corporate generosity. "But, won't you lose money if I'm eating Nova Burgers for free every day?"

"Well, sir, I'm sure we'll lose a little, but with the drink and fries, it won't be too bad."

Apparently she hadn't heard of my No-Mega-Meal policy. "Thank you. See you tomorrow!"

"See you tomorrow, sir!"

About a week later, I finally got around to stopping by again.

"Thank you for dining at Sir Pukesalot Family Restaurant and Taxidermy Service. What can I order for you today?" Buzz. Crackle.

"I have a coupon for a free Nova Burger. I'd like it without mayonnaise. No fries or drink, just the burger." Finally, things were looking up.

"I'm sorry, sir. We don't sell the Nova Burger anymore. We no longer offer any burgers smaller than our 16 ounce Junior Burger." Squeak.

"But these coupons don't expire until the end of next year."

"Oh, the coupons are still valid. We just don't have any burgers to give you for them." Double Squeak.

"Then exactly how are they still valid if there's no way to redeem them?" Maybe I should patent the instant headache.

Silence. Well, actually, quiet hissing with occasional crackles of static. "Our manager can explain. She says she'll be happy to speak with you once she gets off the phone with the 911 center."

Sigh. Can't ever win. "Never mind. Just give me one 16 ounce Junior Burger, hold the mayonnaise. No fries. No drink. No Mega Meal. That's just the one 16 ounce Junior Burger, hold the mayonnaise."

"Okay, that's two 16 Junior Burgers with extra mayo. Want fries with that?"

Drive away. Just. Drive. Away.
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