Typically, when I write a crazy email, I wait for a response before I post… but I’ve had a significant lack of response on this one for over a week now, and I felt the need to post this here and perhaps refer to it in a webform submission to corporate.
I have a love/hate relationship with McDonald’s, especially this McDonald’s. It’s close to where I live. The food is generally horrible for you and looks like it was assembled by Stevie Wonder, but sometimes I’m in the mood for it. Or, sometimes I’m in a hurry, and McDonald’s still somehow equates to quick service. It’s the only fast food joint that I pass when going in that direction other than the abysmal nearby Wendy’s.
Apparently, with the complete demolition and re-building of this McDonald’s, they decided to include a contact email address at the top of their receipts. The email address included at the top of my most recent receipt was Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com, so that’s where I sent my email. Over a week has gone by, and I still haven’t received a reply. I even copied the email to email@example.com, who had contacted me about an earlier incident at this location. (Although, she never did ultimately reply about my complaint… I just got an email asking what the situation was, and was given no response thereafter.)
This McDonald’s has a website at McPennsylvania.com and it lists the manager as Rick Sapko. It doesn’t give his email address, but I did use a “contact the manager”
form there, also to no avail. I forget Ms. Jones’ title, but I would think that the manager’s address ought to be at the top of the receipt. Unless she’s the owner? Also… this reminds me that Ms. Jaeger isn’t a very good customer service rep if she never got back to me about my original inquiry.
Reading all of this, I can’t see why anything in my letter below shocks or surprises me.
My email that defies all responses:
I had sent this message over a week ago, and hadn’t had a reply, or even a “we received your email, we’ll get back to you” message when submitted by webform. I decided to try again from a different email address…
Hello Ms. Jones,
I would first like to thank you for the new policy of including a contact email address at the top of your receipts! Email is my communication tool of choice. I find myself able to converse more effectively if I see the words written out in front of me. The webform at the McDonald’s website is such an impersonal exchange. It’s never satisfying to get an email that includes a reference number and a phrase to the effect of “please do not reply to this email”. I mean, really… what other possible message could that convey besides; “We got your email, we’re ignoring it. This response is solely an attempt to pacify you from further pursuance of your issue.” So, to reiterate, I would like to thank you in advance for making communication so easy with the McDonald’s in Beechview.
The new McDonald’s is quite striking. It looks like a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee from the outside. The parking lot is absolutely gorgeous. Although, the abandoned Jiffy Lube next door ought to be knocked down for additional parking… or you could charge people to park there instead of letting them park in your lot to go to the adjacent bar that has a new name every few years.
Inside, I feel like I’m in the Brady Bunch dining room or den though. Somebody chose those chairs? Really? And then there’s the produce all over the walls, while visually appealing, isn’t exactly representative of the food you sell, is it? I mean, I don’t see any vats of oil or cows on the wall, but there are strawberries and cherries on the wall. How many menu items contain strawberries and cherries versus beef or chicken?
I’ve seen similar design schemes in Chick-Fil-A, Quiznos, Subway, the Pita Pit, Qdoba, and other food establishments. I thought that McDonald’s was an innovator, not an imitator. I’d just like to hope that the designer didn’t charge too much. The layout and seating are infinitely better than the previous layout. That ramp outside that led to walking through the drive-through lane was ridiculous, the seating was well, dirty… beyond mopping & wiping-down dirty. The bathrooms were… Well, I had written about those in the past to a Sandra Jaeger.
After all this, I still need to get to the point of my email I suppose.
This past Sunday, I had the unique opportunity to dine at the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s twice in one day. First, in the morning, my wife & I were on our way out to the suburbs east of the city. We decided to go through the drive through as she had a craving for an iced coffee. I ordered the Egg McMuffin extra value meal with a Sweet Tea, and she got a Bacon Egg & Cheese Biscuit and the aforementioned iced coffee. As we were sitting in the drive through lane, before the split, someone pulled in from the West Liberty Ave entrance without following the clearly marked “↰” arrow and cut directly into the outside ordering lane. I know the McDonald’s in Canonsburg has solved this problem by using orange reflecting traffic cone type devices so it’s impossible to pull into the extra lane from the outside. (Perhaps you could look into this solution, as people obviously cannot be trusted to “do the right thing” of their own volition.) Once we were finally past the ordering process, we sat in the line before the pickup window as the orders in front of us were mixed up and it took seemingly forever for them to be told to move forward until it was all sorted out.
At the pickup window, we had to ask for straws as they weren’t in our bag or handed out to us with our drinks. The kid in the window looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language after asking for them and handed them to me, one at a time, still looking like a deer in headlights. After we were finally handed our food, my wife gave a cursory check of the bag as we drove away… Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit? Check. Egg McMuffin? Check. Hash Brown? Check. Drinks? Check. Napkins? No napkins, my friend. I think we both know the grease content of your fine foods and of the need for napkins after partaking. It’s also worth noting that there was no ketchup in the bag for my hash brown, nor was I asked if I wanted any.
As we cruised down West Liberty toward the maddening chaos that is the Liberty Tunnels, my wife let out an expletive as she graciously unwrapped my breakfast sandwich. Apparently someone wrapped my sandwich with the appropriate wrapper, but forgot that an Egg McMuffin contains ham and a fried egg and not bacon and a creepily folded piece of rubbery yet spongy scrambled egg-like substance. We even checked the receipt just to be sure that I did indeed order an Egg McMuffin. According to that, I had. Since we were on our way to a timed function and because (if you’re familiar with the road you’ll know) there was no convenient place to turn around once we were on the road anyway, I declined to go back and have the situation rectified immediately… and ate the dry spongy yellow matter and pretended to not be annoyed.
Much later in the evening, around the dinner hour, we were on our way home and decided to stop at McDonald’s again for in lieu of cooking at home or going out of our way somewhere else to get dinner. Arguably, Wendy’s would be an option here, but have you ever been there? They give new meaning to the word “sloth” in its application to a fast food establishment. After all, there’s no possible way that orders could be screwed up twice in one day at the same McDonald’s with an entirely different crew, right? Yeah, right.
I tell you, you have a stellar team if you’re competing for the “sloth” title with Wendy’s. There looked to be nothing but chaos in the kitchen and cash register area. No one seemed to know what was going on; not in the new counter area that was overly packed with confused waiting customers, and not the crew who were running around like chickens with their heads cut off in slow motion. Yes. I’ll let that image sink in. It’s the only way I can think to describe it. There was no pattern to the scrambling around in the kitchen, but then again, it wasn’t scrambling because that would imply speed and/or urgency where there simply was none. I shared glances with several of the other customers, each of us asking each other with facial expressions alone… “What is going on here?” “Who’s in charge?” “Is this really happening?” I tell you, I have never felt more telepathic in my life.
Upon receiving my meal, it was clear that my chicken nuggets were cooked and cooled well before the batter-turns-to-cardboard point had been reached, even the sweet and sour sauce couldn’t disguise it. Exasperated and bewildered by the still ridiculous amount of people waiting to order or waiting to receive their orders, I again just ate them without complaining. Really… there were hardly any patrons sitting down in the dining area compared to the throngs of would-be consumers just waiting and hovering around the order area.
I realize that I am to blame here for not rectifying each situation immediately as it was happening, but you must understand my perplexity regarding the awesome ineptitude of two wholly different shifts at the same restaurant. From my standpoint, that’s a 100% failure rate in the scope of one day. I find myself continually questioning why I choose to visit this McDonald’s location, and the answer is always the same; convenience. Unfortunately, the convenience is slipping away. The time required to obtain a meal is not convenient. Eating lukewarm chicken nuggets (“now” with all-white meat? What the hell was in them before?) is not convenient. Eating spongy rubbery folded egg stuff is not convenient.
I had hoped that with the literal demolition and rebuilding of your McFranchise, it would have also entailed a symbolic rebuilding of your team and their work ethic with an effort on getting correct orders out in a timely fashion. Apparently my hopes have gone unrequited thus far.
I’m not asking for a free meal, or for an apology for instances that are clearly not your fault. I am, however, asking you to please reevaluate your hiring, training, and supervisory processes, and perhaps to look into having someone observing all the time until things run more smoothly. I’m sure that one lone day of scrutiny will point out several issues that need attention immediately. I would like to thank you for your time, and I look forward to a continued dialog on the progress of getting this McDonald’s location transformed into a well-oiled machine.
Have you have a similar experience there, or at any other McDonald’s? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.