McObservation


McDonald's on Urbanspoon

I’d love to think that I had something to do with this, but hopefully it stemmed from many other customer complaints about this place to the right people and not just from my persistent prodding.

I saw a tweet last night from another McCustomer in my area that made me laugh out loud:

Hey @AiXeLsyD13, went to the West Lib McD’s today. They had some bigwigs in monitoring operations. They had stopwatches & everything
15 hours ago via web

Thank you for the tweet, Heather!  I know Heather and a few other people from the area have expressed their exasperation with this McDonald’s via Facebook, Google, Twitter, & I think even Urbanspoon… and in the comments section in one of my blog posts about the West McLiberty location, and maybe something has been pushed through by Mr. Kausky since the last time I heard form Ms. Jones, although Ms. Jones did mention someone coming to help them turn into the “well-oiled machine”.  I doubt my tweeting had anything to do with it.

I encourage everyone to keep writing to this McDoanld’s and to corporate until customer service is at an acceptable level (like that of the McDoanld’s in Canonsburg).

McDoanld’s corporate contact form on the Web: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/contact_us.html

McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.):

McDonald’s #4856 (Canonsburg):

The McDonald’s Twitter Team plus a few more:

Time for a game: What does this say? + Storm Damage Photos…


So, the other night a ridiculous storm that lasted only a few minutes wreaked havoc all over Pittsburgh’s south hills.  With the electric out and not much else to do, the fun thing for us to do when  it’s light out & no longer raining is to go to the park with a camera.  I got some interesting shots of the storm damage as darkness fell, and we ran into a bunch of people in the park from the surrounding area, and we were all quite talkative.

(Is it odd that we have a regular “routine” for when the power goes out?)

One young man was walking his dog, and I got a few pics of the dog that he said he’d like to see.  No problem, right?  I asked him to write down his email address.

In hindsight, I have no idea why I don’t think like it’s the 2010s and just put information like this in my phone that’s always in my pocket.

Why is that an issue?  Well, this is what I got…

wmailwtf

abfdbzklxfdklgbzbkx7832sjjb34t

I’d certainly like to email the kid the photos… hopefully they have power by now too.  I just really have no idea what that says… other than “@msn.com”.  I think.

I’d appreciate any help/suggestions that you may have!

If you’re interested in taking a look at my photos, you can check them out on Photobucket:

Here’s a weird bug, a tree that just needed to sit for a minute, the dog, and a shot that isn’t storm damage, but I like it anyway:


The McSaga Continues (…A reply from Ms. Jones!)


Perhaps this is the end more than a continuation.

I wrote back to Mr. Kausky & received another reply.  I pushed again with Kty_McD and received an actual reply from Ella Jones at Mc5834.  Perversely, I hope when I read in the seething anger between the lines that I’m not wrong.

I’ll try to lay it out in Chronological order…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
to Scott Kausky skausky33@verizon.net
date Mon, Jul 26, 2010
subject Re: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)
mailed-by gmail.com

Hello Scott,

I would like to first thank you for your replies.  I can tell by the look of your location and the attitude of the employees that great pride is taken in the operation of your McDonald’s.  Your emails have confirmed it!  I’m generally amazed at how quickly I can get in & out of the Canonsburg location at lunch time when it is usually quite packed.  Quality/taste of the food aside, generally one goes to McDonald’s with convenience and speed being at the top of the priority list.

I was hoping to write back to you to tell you that I had been contacted by Ella Jones or someone else at the West Liberty Avenue location… but I cannot.  I didn’t want to wait too long in replying to you to say thanks.  Thanks for proving that all McDonald’s managers/owners/operators/customer service reps are not apathetic, and thanks for your involvement in perusing this customer service issue which is mostly unrelated to you!

I have also followed up via the contact form at the McDonald’s website, and with a Katy (@Kty_McD) via the McDonald’s Twitter Team.  Both to no avail thus far.  They must really have issues other than the obvious over in Beechview if they’re not even responding from other franchise owners or from a corporate push.  I can tell you that they have received my last dollar, no matter what the outcome.

I hope that no offense is taken when I say that you seem to operate more like a Chick-fil-A manager than a McDonald’s manager.  I hate to stereotype, but they generally have a more pleasant disposition as a fast food chain.  They also respond quickly and positively to customer service related emails.  They usually have quite the hands-on approach in special promotions every night of the week and the way things are run.

Your drive-thru traffic direction cones/poles are a great idea… I don’t know why they’re not standard issue in all split drive-thru locations.  It’s amazing that people would cut up and around.  Are they totally blind to the lines on the ground?  I’m always amazed at how some people think that they’re better than the rest of us, or the rules don’t apply to them.

I hope that you’re able to push the inside queue line issue with success in the future.  I certainly don’t see anything wrong with it.  It works for amusement parks, the bank, Wendy’s, & Burger King.  With the multiple entrances in your store, and with people standing back waiting for their orders to be filled, it can be quite confusing to know who’s next.

I will keep you posted on a resolution with store #5834 (if there ever is one), thank you for your time & effort!

-Eric

And then..

from Scott Kausky skausky33@verizon.net
to ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Mon, Jul 26, 2010
subject Re: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)
mailed-by verizon.net

Eric,

Thanks again.  It amazes me because they would be all over us, (the operator) community if any complaints are not closed out.  I have placed a follow up email to  our business consultant.  One day, when I work my way up to president, I’ll have a direct line to my office.  I understand that everyone is busy, but at the end of the day, its the customers like you who put the pay in payday.  If I can ever assist you in the future, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,
Scott Kausky
General Manager

Scott is all over that!  I seriously wish him luck in is race to become McPresident, and I hope he gets those queue lines installed.  It keeps one grounded to know that your pay is ultimately coming from customer satisfaction.

Here’s the reply that we’ve all been waiting for (apparently it was emailed to my alternate email address on Thursday… still over 2 weeks after my original message):

From: Jones Ella <ella.jones@us.mcd.com>
To: World(andLunar)Domination <worldandlunardomination@yahoo.com>
Cc: “West Liberty (pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com)” <pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com>
Sent: Thu, July 22, 2010
Subject: RE: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)

Hi Eric,

Thank you for taking the time to communicate about the West Liberty McDonald’s.    Something will be done about the Jiffy Lube.  We are waiting on a new tenant.  The building interior choice was made based on what some customers like.  I understand not all customers like it and your feedback will help McDonald’s as they plan to design other locations.  Thank you for the feedback.

We are working on the speed issues, the food quality issues, and the customer service issues at this location.  We have support coming in to help us become the “well oiled”  operation that we need to be.  Thank you for taking your time to point out our issues—this certainly helps us get better.

Sincerely,
Ella Jones

If you need a refresher, click here to read my original email to Ms. Jones(And note in the comments that others have had similar experiences there!)

I feel like Ms. Jones didn’t read past the Brady Bunch comment… although we did get a “well-oiled”  quote from the last paragraph.  I’d love to meet the focus group that liked the new McDonald’s layout/design.  Did they know it was for a McDoanld’s or did they think it was for a fruit stand in a 70’s movie?

  • There was no mention of the incorrect breakfast sandwich or explanation of how that happened.
  • There was no mention of the crazy double-drive-thru traffic patterns.
  • No mention of the Canonsburg store used as a good example.
  • No mention of the spongy rubbery egg-like substance.
  • No mention of the race for the “sloth” title with Wendy’s.
  • No mention of the ridiculous wait time or stress-induced customer telepathy.
  • No mention of the cardboard-like McNuggets.
  • No mention of what the nuggets contained before they were “all white meat”.
  • No mention of my admitting that I was wrong.

Are my emails too long-winded?  I guess I know the answer to that..  But still… if we’re getting into percentage of questions asked vs. questions answered (not even assigning a quality to the answer), we’re not even getting a passing grade here!

Id love to know just how many “you need to answer this email” emails that Ms. Jones received.  I encourage you to also write if you’ve had a bad experience there. It would be even better if you share it with us.  I’d love to post other letters of dissatisfaction.

I’m guessing that my pressing the issue further really isn’t going to get me anywhere.  She doesn’t seem like the type to comment on the spongy rubbery egg stuff or mystery meat McNuggets.  It will be interesting to see if orange cones appear in the drive-thru down there.

Perhaps one day they will actually get their act together.  I bet not, but perhaps.

McTweeting


So, I have another avenue for contacting (or nagging) the apathetic McFoodChain down the street.  Not only can I email them directly (albeit to no avail so far), submit a tattle-tale on a corporate level (also to no avail so far), & email their fellow managers.  I can tweet them.  McDonald’s has a Twitter Team.

Still not hearing from the local MdDud of a management and/or customer service team in Beechview, I reached out again in a more attention-grabbing manner:

@McDonaldsFans Any thoughts on these #Pittsburgh area #McDonald‘s locations? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

@kim_mcd @George_McD @McCafeYourDay @McDonalds Any thought on how this McDonadl’s should be handled, #McDonaldsFans? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

@Nick_McD How would you handle the drive-thru & queue situation(s) here? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

Hello, @AboutMcDonalds! Do these company policies sound correct? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

@yilovemcdonalds This is a reason to love http://wp.me/pwqzc-in this is a reason to hate http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX They need to get it together!

And, then I got a DM from @AboutMcDonalds:

AboutMcDonalds Hi – yes, our customer sat team should respond to you w/in 24 hrs. Thx for checking. ^LM

Yes.  They should, but they didn’t.  Apparently AboutMcDonalds is missing the point.  But, they’re not following me, so I couln’t DM them back. Another public tweet:

@AboutMcDonalds Got your DM, couldn’t send one back. What happens if they don’t respond? What about the greater issue?

No answer on that one. So, a few more…

#icantstop laughing at #mcdonalds http://wp.me/pwqzc-in & http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX — They need to get it together! @CocaCola

@McDonalds Is this a good representation of the average McDonald’s? http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX Or is this more like it? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

@George_McD Is this a good representation of the average McDonald’s? http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX Or is this more like it? http://wp.me/pwqzc-in

#icantstop laughing at #mcdonalds http://wp.me/pwqzc-in & http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX – They need to get it together over at @McDonalds in @15216!

RT @NathanFillion Dear McDonalds, U are poisoning the world with yr food & thx 4 a delicious breakfast. I hate you. http://wp.me/pwqzc-hX

While a lot of my tweets directly to the McTwitter Team went unanswered, someone that I didn’t even message directly seemed to have caught a theme to my tewwets. Katie (Kty_McD) did seem to pickup on my frustration.

Kty_McD @W_a_L_D Hey, I saw the blog/tweets can you follow me so that I am able to DM you? Thanks, Katie from McD’s

You read my blog?  Score!  Ha ha ha.  Again with the DM’s…

Kty_McD Great! Ill do everything I can to help, I read the blogs, but to be sure store #05834 is the one you haven’t heard from correct?

W_a_L_D Correct! The one on West Liberty Ave. in Beechview (Pittsburgh, PA 15216) Thanks in advance!

Kty_McD Thanks for that info, I have the case number pulled, email still the best way to reach you?

W_a_L_D Yes please, thanks! world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com – You rock!!!

Kty_McD Thanks so much for tweeting out to me, I reached out to that store, please let me know if you don’t get a response. Have a great weekend : )

W_a_L_D I appreciate the response from you, but I’m not holding my breath for their reaction!

…and thus ends the twitversation so far, bringing us all up to date.  Still no response from Ms. Ella Jones (or anyone else from) McDonald’s #5834.  I do feel like I need to write back to Mr. Kausky though.  He deserves to know that he has my utmost respect, and that I still have yet to hear from the McDud in my neighborhood.

I’d like to send a big sarcastic “good job” to @AboutMcDonalds for dropping the subject like a hot potato (unless it was passed on via you or you’re the same person as @Kty_McD and that’s how her attention was brought to me), and especially to @McDonalds, @McDonaldsFans, @kim_mcd, @George_McD, @McCafeYourDay, @Nick_McD, & @yilovemcdonalds for not even responding to my direct tweets.

McSatisfaction


So, have you read my “day in the life of McDonald’s #5834” blog yet?  If not, read that one first, or this will make absolutely no sense.  Not that there was much sense to start with.

In that email, I mentioned the McDonald’s in Canonsburg with a similar drive-thru setup as an example of how things ought to be run.  Apparently you can’t always assume that people are going to do the right thing when waiting in line or following lines painted on the ground are concerned.  Heh, that is so ridiculous, I need to copy & paste it for effect.

Apparently you can’t always assume that people are going to do the right thing when waiting in line or following lines painted on the ground are concerned.

McDonald's on Urbanspoon Done laughing?  OK, let’s move on.  There is someone who works for McDonald’s that gives a damn.  He is the manager of the McDonald’s that also serves as a memorial to Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and the Four Coins.  Mr. Scott Kausky not only took the time to write back to me once, but twice… and get this… both replies came in the same day of my email to him!

This man is to be applauded for his efforts.  I’m waiting.  Please.  Clap.

OK, first, my note to him…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010
To: skausky33@verizon.net
Subject: Fwd: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)

Hello Mr. Kausky,

I would like to thank you for the inclusion of your email address at the top of your McDonald’s receipts.  It is a policy that your brothers-in-franchise at the McDonald’s in Beechview on West Liberty Avenue have recently adopted.  Sadly, though, for them it is useless.  I have written to them over a week ago, to no avail.  I believe that they’re beyond reach via email… or that they just really don’t care about customer satisfaction.  I hope that’s not the case with you!

The reason I’m writing to you is that I mentioned your restaurant in my email to them as an example of how to operate… and wanted to hear your thoughts on the issue.  Pehaps you can review the email below and come up with a few ideas.

Do you have any contact with the managers at that location?  Perhaps you can be the Jedi Master to their Padawan.

Thank you in advance for your time, I can’t wait to hear from you!

-Eric

…which was of course followed by the original email.

His 1st reply…

from Scott Kausky skausky33@verizon.net
reply-to skausky33@verizon.net
to ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Wed, Jul 21, 2010
subject Re: Fwd: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)
mailed-by srs.bis.na.blackberry.com

Eric

Its unfortunately the store I operate is privately owned. I have pride in the store that I run and this is why I provide my email address. The email get sent directly to my blackberry that I pay for. This is not something that is provided by my operator or McDonald. I care about my customers as they are the ones who pay my check and when I have unsatisfied guests it affects my bottom line as well as my crew.

Mcdonalds.com will also have a guest satisfaction email as well as a 800 number which should get you to someone that is involved with that particular location. Once a complaint or praise is posted it is then emailed to the operator or supervisor of that location and they should respond within 24 hours. This is the policy mcdonalds enforces on the private owner stores. I also copied your email to the owner of my store to see if he can get you in contact with the appropriate person.

I apologize that your having these problems and will assist you to try to fix it.

Thanks for being a loyal mcdonalds customer.

Scott Kausky

His 2nd reply…

from Scott Kausky skausky33@verizon.net
to ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Wed, Jul 21, 2010
subject Re: A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.)
mailed-by verizon.net

Eric,

I have to apologize again, when reading your email, my blackberry only showed half of your email  I’m at home now and read the full thing.  I have also copied Linda Cumer, who is my business consultant.  She is paid by McDonald’s Corporation.  She will have better contact then anyone to work on resolving these issues.  In reference to the traffic cones, I appreciate the fact that you like the ideas.  I had a customer a month ago give me an hour lecture on why I should eliminate them.  I made the decision to have them in place to keep the cars lined up.  I would also install a q line like you see at an amusement park to keep the same thing happening on the inside with guests who try to cut lines, but was told I wasn’t allowed.  I hope I have assisted you and us to get these problems corrected.  Please let me know either way if someone does or doesn’t contact you because I want the Arches to shine even if I do only have a small role in it.

Thanks Again,

Scott Kausky
General Manager

Genius.

Mr. Kausky is obviously intelligent, thoughtful, and full of great ideas.  He ought to be working for Chick-fil-A!  I can excuse the somewhat confusing email via Blackberry, and hs ignoring my Star Wars reference.

Why shouldn’t there be lines like in the bank (or Burger King or Wendy’s) so that the actual next person is next, not the a-hole who cut in front of them?

I really can’t express my drive-thru complaints successfully unless you’ve ever been to that type of drive through.  I really need to work on some illustrations to convey the full extent of my frustration.  The customer that wanted the cones removed is an assclown.  The only reason he  (or she) would want them removed is so he (or she) could cut in front of others in line.  What makes him (or her) so special?  Does he (or she) also park in handicapped spaces?  I bet he (or she) does.  I would like to hear just one rational reason for their removal.  I bet it can’t be found.

Of course, these only touch on the host of problems at the West Liberty Avenue McDonald’s.

This guy wants it resolved though, as a true honest-to-goodness hard worker with a correctly aligned set of values where it comes to running a business and how to treat people.  I started this off on a goofy note, but hate to mess with this guy… he really wants an issue resolved.  And now, dammit, so do I.  He explained his point of view, his situation, and told me that he was forwarding the message to two separate individuals to try and see if he can get something resolved that doesn’t affect him in any way whatsoever.  Scott Kausky is a champion among men, I tell you.

Honestly, up until this point I saw it going nowhere.  I mean, did you see the comments on my other post?  No one gets good service there, ever has, or most likely ever will.

We have, however, learned some invaluable and interesting corporate mantras from the big McD.  Did anyone else find these statements to stand out?

  • “Once a complaint or praise is posted it is then emailed to the operator or supervisor of that location and they should respond within 24 hours. This is the policy mcdonalds enforces on the private owner stores.” –  O, RLY? Hmm.  They definitely didn’t meet that.  We’re going on 336 hours pretty soon here.  So that McDonald’s is poorly run on a whole bunch of different levels.
  • “I would also install a q line like you see at an amusement park to keep the same thing happening on the inside with guests who try to cut lines, but was told I wasn’t allowed.” Wasn’t allowed? Ridiculous.  The general manager doesn’t have the power to create order out of chaos in his own restaurant?  McNazis, I tell you.  I’ve been there at lunch time.  This would improve the line situation immensely… especially with multiple entrances.  McCorporate McChaos.  Shame on you, McDonald’s, for keeping this man down.  To me, this says McDonald’s doesn’t care if people cut in line, if you’re aggrivated, or cheated.  You don’t matter.  Just your money does.

So, today we have learned some things.  We already knew that the West Liberty Avenue McDonald’s hates you.  We learned that McDonald’s is overbearing and into micro-management as a general attitude.  We know now that certain stores have a blind eye turned on them, as any semblance of corporate monitoring would have them completely overhauled and/or shut down.

Most importantly, we learned that there is at least one last good man working for the McDonald’s corporation who has a strong identity with the cherished Golden Arches, and wants you to respect that identity.

Now, I really can’t wait to see where this goes form here.

A day in the life of McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave. – Brookline/Beechview/Dormont)


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.

McDonald's on UrbanspoonI 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 sandra.jaeger@gmail.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:

Hello,

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.

Bewildered,
-Eric
world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

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.

I told you that Kuhn’s was disgusting.


I’ve written before (although indirectly) about the foul assemblage of half-rotting food that is Kuhn’s Market on Banksville Road.  You may recall my description of Kunh’s as relayed to Giant Eagle while requesting that they carry some La Choy Teriyaki Sauce.  If not, here it is again..

I actually make special trips to the Shop ‘N Save by WAL★MART in Heidelberg or I actually set foot in Kunh’s Market on Banksville Road to get the La Choy Teriyaki Sauce. Have you BEEN to the Kunh’s on Banksville Road? I’ve gotten moldy peppers from that place, as well as ‘turned’ sour cream, …and melted ice cream. I don’t want to go in there. But, I do. Why? To get the La Choy Teriyaki sauce, my friends. It’s THAT GOOD.

I know I’ve told countless others.  I know my mother-in-law looks at me in disbelief because apparently the Kuhn’s on McKnight Road is just awesome.

But, I finally have some validation…

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVmyF8xjtSQ

See?  You can read the full story on KDKA’s website.  Yes, I get that the point of the article is the union trying to organize there… but they wouldn’t be trying to organize if conditions were good.  If I had to guess, I’d say that store owners keep the coolers and freezers on lower settings to save a buck or two… but at what cost?  I really haven’t ever heard anyone say anything nice about the place.  We’ll buy canned or boxed stuff there occasionally in a pinch, but we’re always looking closely at the expiration dates.  As far as the meat & produce & even the dairy products…  I’ll go out of my way to another store, or just go without.


Edited – Discussion was happening in other forums, decided to re-post some of that here…

From: http://www.facebook.com/AiXeLsyD13?v=feed&story_fbid=276026441617

Eric Carroll
Nice: http://bit.ly/9MqDcy I KNEW they weren’t keeping stuff cold enough at Kuhn’s. That place is filthy too.
January 28 at 7:20pm via Selective Tweets

Dave Warren
I almost never buy anything remotely perishable there.
January 28 at 7:40pm ·

Nunzio Martin
Dude that place smells I never go there
January 28 at 8:00pm ·

Dave Warren
I will go out of my way to find a Giant Eagle just to avoid Kuhn’s.
January 28 at 8:06pm ·

Andrew Welsh
walmart* is cheaper
January 28 at 8:20pm ·

Dave Warren
Wal*Mart is cheaper, when they have the items that I require. They usually do not.
January 28 at 8:22pm ·

Andrew Welsh
dave i have to correct you, it is no longer “wal*mart” it is now “walmart*” the corporate logo moved the star to the end.

yeah luckily for me walmart* carries all that i need, and is always cheaper. but that’s just me.

Kuhns is great for running to the store quick since it’s 3 minutes from my house.
January 29 at 1:11pm ·

Eric Carroll
Didn’t it used to be a ★?

Wonder how much time and money they wasted coming to that decision?
Sun at 12:40pm ·

Eric Carroll
Ah: http://walmartstores.com/AboutUs/8412.aspx
Sun at 12:41pm ·

Eric Carroll
And… http://wp.me/pwqzc-5b
Sun at 12:45pm ·

From: http://www.facebook.com/AiXeLsyD13?v=feed&story_fbid=274668168996

Eric Carroll
Kuhn’s Market on Banksville Rd.
Favorited on http://www.youtube.com
I keep telling people that this place is filthy. No one believed me. Ha ha. I know they don’t keep the coolers cold enough… ever. I have brought home melted ice cream. From KDKA, full news story & video here: http://kdka.com/local/Banksv…
January 29 at 12:20am via YouTube ·

T.J. Freeman
BWahahahaha fuckin bird! …. alright well if thats a violation then you need to close the foodcourt starbucks and everything else dealing with open food in robinson mall cos i’ve seen many o bird flyin around that bitch. All that aside … that Kuhn’s is about the only place around there to get food unless you wanna travel to bridgeville or parkway center or south hills…. fuck the union … if yer worried about it then just dont buy produce or deli foods there.
January 29 at 12:28am ·

Cody Starr
man i don’t care how dirty kuhn’s is ……i would eat those deli pizzas they make with dust bunnies for toppings….they are the bomb
January 29 at 5:01am ·

Jeffrey Guerriero
eric, my aunts family owns those stores, I used to shop there when we lived in Dormont.
January 29 at 12:51pm ·

Bethany Pastorius Carroll
Kuhns on Mcknight Road is wonderful however this one on Dormont is a shithole. We will only buy canned goods or boxed stuff and that’s only if its an emergency. We have bought sour cream- molded. A green pepper- mold in the inside. Ice cream- melted by the time we got home. We will go completely out of our way than go there. Disgusting place.
Sun at 12:17am ·

Eric Carroll
Yeah, they put the “ew” in Kuhn’s down here on Banksville. http://wp.me/pwqzc-5b – There are two Giant Eagles very close by too… one in Parkway Center and one on Cochran Road.
Sun at 12:37pm ·

From: http://www.facebook.com/AiXeLsyD13?v=feed&story_fbid=296660212120

Eric Carroll
I’ve had a lot of people weigh-in on Kuhn’s on various forums. I urge you all to reiterate or expand here: http://bit.ly/cb9WJX Thanks!
Yesterday at 3:56pm via Selective Tweets ·

Andrew Welsh
i still fail to see the big deal, the health department said these “aren’t earth shattering and were corrected quickly”
Yesterday at 6:42pm ·

Michael Perdue
I’ve always remembered Ferris’ in M-ville to be particularly bad.
Yesterday at 7:15pm ·

Eric Carroll
Andy… The big deal is that I was right about them not keeping stuff at the right temperature. I like to be right. Ha ha ha.

Mike – you’re right… both old Ferris weren’t quite right.
4 hours ago ·

Eric Carroll
See: http://wp.me/pwqzc-5b
4 hours ago ·

From: http://www.facebook.com/AiXeLsyD13?v=feed&story_fbid=282997407055

Eric Carroll
“KDKA-TV’s Paul Martino did an independent review of Allegheny County’s inspection of seven Kuhn’s stores last year. There were some violations, including salad stored at unsafe temperatures, contamination from raw meat, and more temperature problems.”

I told you that Kuhn’s was disgusting. « World (and Lunar) Domination
aixelsyd13.wordpress.com
I’ve written before (although indirectly) about the foul assemblage of half-rotting food that is Kuhn’s Market on Banksville Road. You may recall my description of Kunh’s as relayed …
Sun at 12:43pm ·

Adam Rahuba
Foodland, Shop & Save, Kroger, IGA, Sparkle, Kuhns are all dirty. Can’t stand em.
Sun at 2:12pm ·

From: http://www.pittsburghbeat.com/mb/viewtopic.php?topic=17308&forum=21

AiXeLsyD13
I got a lot of comments on this on facebook… both in my status, and when I “favorited” the YouTube video… None when I posted the link to the blog though.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:22 am

Mike_Hype
I have to disagree with you entirely on this one. I love that Kuhn’s and I stop there almost every Sunday night on my way home from hockey to pick up produce alone. Their apples are awesome, their bananas are always the exact amount of ripe to take home and store for the week. I have not yet found a Giant Eagle that even comes close to the quality of produce that I get from Kuhn’s. I was just there last night as a matter of fact. Rotten apples from Kuhn’s: 0, from Giant Eagle: 5. What’s worse than finding a rotten apple? Finding half a rotten apple.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:44 pm

Dave NT
The Giant Eagle Market District pwns n00bs.
Post Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:04 am

Mike_Hype
Sitting here eating one of the best apples that I have ever eaten, it happens to be from Kuhn’s.
Post Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:55 pm

AiXeLsyD13
While finding half a rotten apple is indeed disgusting, I try too look at stuff before I bite into it… although I’m admittedly overly paranoid about food in general.

I’d have to say, I’m fairly confident that if we set up an independent study of the produce at several grocery stores surrounding the Dormont/Banksville area… Giant Eagle would come out on top.
Post Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:28 pm

AiXeLsyD13
I need to figure out how to get paid for random useless shit.
Post Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:37 pm

McReadverspamtismentply


You may remember, a while ago I wrote to McDonald’s about the sandwich-which-can-not-be-named.  I got an envelope in the mail the other day from my McFriends, and I thought “Sweet! A reply about the McGang-Bang!  A real letter!”

Well, I was wrong.  It was some sort of reply/advertisement/spam all rolled into one.  I was very disappointed.  Then, I noticed that the letter wasn’t to Mr. AiXeLsyD, it was to Mr. Carroll… it must have been about the McDonald’s on West Liberty Avenue’s disgusting restroom?  They never did follow up on a local level like they said they would.  Instead, I get this advertisement for the Mac Snack Wrap and the breakfast dollar menu?  Seriously?

At least now I have a contact name.  I’m going to have to resort to snail mail to get a response for a real live person, I believe… anything other than the stupid “we can’t take unsolicited ideas” form letter would be awesome.

Oh well, the advertisement letter & a scan of the two coupons is below… I popped a “void” on them in hopes that Photobucket doesn’t delete the damn things.  They’ve removed old coupons on me before… I usually always blur out any numbers or barcodes that might make them usable.

McDonald's Letter from Salena M. Scardina

McDonald's - Mac Snack Wrap Coupons

Wow, I’m so honored to be contacted with such an auspicious reply!  I’m glad that my contact in 2009 gave them an opportunity to better understand my needs and expectations!  …that were never properly addressed.  I’ve already seen the Mac Snack Wrap commercials and billboards, so I’m now sure how this letter makes me among the first to know… perhaps there are some people in Appalachia and in Alaska that aren’t familiar with the concept of snacking on “a whole new level”.  I’d like to see some sort of chart on the levels of snacking.  Are they the opposite of Dante’s levels of hell?  Or, perhaps… one in the same?  [Insert your own joke about gluttony here.]  I”ll perhaps have to address this in future missives.

In the mean time, I’m making a call to all of my readers… if you can make me a chart of the levels of snacking, it would be greatly appreciated! I’d love to share it with everyone.

Maybe next time, I’ll go with the angle that I find the proliferation of “Mc” to be disturbing to those of us with Celtic heritage…

Message from McDonald’s USA [ref#:6502666]


Heh.  McDonald’s wrote back about my brief stop and UrbanSpoon.com review (posted with pictures) the other night.

Here’s the message below, that rides the “impersonally personal response” line quite well.

Someone got rid of the pictures at UrbanSpoon.com… perhaps they were flagged as inappropriate?  I can see that.  Oh well, no reason I can’t show them here.

Stall #1

Stall #2

Here’s my review…

photo prime
“Sadly, had the best service there tonight in years…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (98 reviews)
November 29, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Small crew tonight, decent night-time crowd, stopped for a late dinner, was served relatively quickly… fries were a perfect golden color and hot… burgers were OK, super-greasy but it IS McDonald’s. We were out at an event earlier, on the way home… had to use the facilities… but they were trashed. Stall #1 had no TP dispenser, the roll was on the back of the commode, and the bowl was chock full of the stuff. Stall #2 had a broken doorknob/lock mechanism. One hand dryer was stuck on, the other didn’t work, and both urinals were full of urine. I know they can’t control flushing… but periodic checks/cleanings and some repairs might be in order.  Just when I thought this place had their stuff together for once… My advice? When stopping here, use the facilities somewhere else.

1 person likes this review Recommend

And here’s their response with my message submitted through the McWebform following below…

From: McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com
To: eric_aixelsyd@yahoo.com
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 5:14:49 AM
Subject: Message from McDonald’s USA

Hello Eric:
Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s Customer Service Center to bring your recent experience to our attention.First, I hope you will accept my sincere apology for your disappointment in McDonald’s. I can assure you that we want you to be completely satisfied every time you visit one of our restaurants.Because most McDonald’s restaurants are independently owned and operated, I have forwarded your comments to the franchise owner or local representative for follow up at the restaurant you visited. Please be assured that your comments will be investigated and, if appropriate, corrective action will be taken.

 

Secondly, although we did not completely meet your expectations, please know that our restaurant employees strive to maintain the highest standards of quality, service, cleanliness and value and it’s certainly nice to know that their efforts are appreciated. We want to recognize your complimentary comments and thank you for your kind words.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s and giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. Customer feedback is very important to us as it helps us improve. McDonald’s is number one because of customers like you.

Ashley
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

ref#:6502666

————————————————————————————————————–

Please do not “reply” to this email response. No “replies” can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at www.mcdonalds.com

You wrote:

The crew in the place tonight seemed to be operating well, were friendly, and quickly as far as the food was concerned, but the parking lot was full of cars for the bar next door, and the men’s bathroom was disgusting.  Please see this link for a review & photos: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346713/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/McDonalds-Pittsburgh

Rarely is this kind of stuff ever followed up by the local chain. I don’t know if that’s indicative of stores nation-wide, or just in our area.  Then again… it gets me wondering…  I put my address in that webform… and my photo is up at UrbanSpoon.com.

Bad idea?

Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5


Heh. This is an older amusing one that wasn’t covered in my post about past W(aL)D insanity.

This one isn’t really completely in the W(aL)D category, as it’s a legitimate complaint… but still, it’s ridiculous enough to share. Below is the my initial email regarding the incident, and I actually broke my “no calls” rule to talk to a regional manager who was not amused.

You can see what she had to say as it all played out in a thread at PittsburghBeat.com.

At any rate, it pays to make problems like this known.

Enjoy!

-mE.
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

Forwarded Message —-
From: Eric Carroll <me@myaddre.ss>
To: dnstech@wendys.com; dnsadmin@wendys.com
Sent: Mon, January 26, 2009 11:45:04 AM
Subject: Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5

Hello,

I’d like to share with you a review of my experience at a local Wendy’s (W. LIBERTY #5 according to the Wendy’s store locator), also posted on UrbanSpoon.com. I don’t have very many “bad” reviews up, but this Wendy’s location has gone slow and messed up my order countless times.

I’d like to know how Wendy’s as a corporation feels about restaurants like this, and what (if any) measures are taken by corporate to see that this kind of thing doesn’t go on.

The full text of my review can be viewed here: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346715/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/Wendys-Old-Fashioned-Hamburgers-Dormont-Pittsburgh

But I will also post it here for your consideration:

4084prime

“Dave Thomas would be ashamed…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (63 reviews)

January 26, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Seriously. I know I”ve said these words before about McDonald’s… I get that it’s only fast food, it’s cheap, and that I shouldn’t expect much… but holy cow, is this consistently one of the slowest “fast food” restaurants that I’ve ever been to. Of course, like an idiot, I keep going back hoping that it might someday be an actual convenience. Let me share with you my latest adventure…

Sunday morning, my wife & I were on our way out to my Mom’s house in the ‘Burbs… so we thought we’d get a quick bite to eat. It was nearing the 11:00am mark, so I knew we were going to hit the breakfast/lunch changeover. We skipped the McDormontonald’s because the drive-thru line looked like rush hour in the Liberty tubes. Thankfully, Wendy’s appeared to be a ghost town. There was hardly anyone inside, and there was one car ahead of us in the drive-thru but they were all the way up at the window.

As we pulled up to the speaker to place our order, I asked if they were serving breakfast or lunch, & was informed that they were serving both. So, I ordered the breakfast chicken sandwich combo, and the wife ordered the #2 bacon panini combo.

After receiving the order in what would be considered a long wait in a normal fast food environment but translated to remarkably quick at this location, I pulled into a nearby spot to inspect the goods. (Sadly, a must any more.)We discovered that my order was fine, but the wife had received a sausage panini instead of the ordered bacon panini. I checked the receipt to see if I had mis-ordered the # of the combo. Nope. The receipt clearly stated BACON in that nifty dot-matrix receipt font.

My wife’s not a big fan of sausage patties, and she was reluctantly leaning toward just eating it because time was of the essence. I know I like to eat what I ordered & paid for, so I went inside to get what I thought would be a simple swap-out.

Oh my, was I wrong.

My first encounter was with the young girl at the cash register. I politely stated that we had just gone through the drive-thru and that I wanted to exchange the sausage panini that we had received for the bacon one that we ordered.

I was told that breakfast was over & that hey couldn’t make a bacon one. After a slight pause of disbelief and bewilderment, I told her that I had just been handed the sandwich less that a minute ago through the drive-thru window… and it had been made just seconds before that.

She then yelled for her manager, and I stepped aside so she could help the next customer.

Now, while never working at a fast food establishment, I do understand that changeover time is changeover time… something to do with eggs on the cooking surface and kitchen setup and all sorts of things that are surely beyond my comprehension as the average fast food consumer.

After a wait the manager (coincidentally the very same person who handed me the order through the drive-thru window) came over and I again explained my situation… and he looked at me. Yes. Just stared blankly at me. For an awkwardly long time. I actually started to wonder if he understood English & was capable of hearing. Compelled to break the silence, I even showed him the receipt that clearly said BACON. All caps. No confusion!

Again, I was met with “we’re serving lunch now, we can’t make that”. OK. I understand. I get that. The point now is what can you do for me?

I asked if I could get something else as compensation, and/or get my money back. (I think I was growing visibly frustrated by this point.)

I called the wife, explained to her the complexity of the situation, and she decided upon a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. So, I asked for one of those… and waited… and waited… While a guy who had gone in line in front of me had ordered during my exchange with the manager was waiting too.

After a while he exclaimed with multiple expletives that it was a ridiculously long wait, and how it was un-f’n-believable that a fast food restaurant with 3 people in it and a packed kitchen could go so slow.

I could hardly contain my laughter as I was also driven to the limits of my patience.

After what was surely sufficient time to cook & assemble 20 Jr. Bacon cheeseburgers, I received that, AND my money back for the sausage panini (which was now in the trash right behind the counter). So, I guess I got a free cheeseburger, hash browns & a drink.

I never did get any kind of apology, or admittance that they had messed up the order. (Which bewilders me that one can read bacon off of a screen and put down sausage… but I’m certainly not above making mistakes… so I can’t fault anyone for that.)

I just find it amazing that they weren’t apologizing from the start and presenting a solution instead of waiting for me to come up with one.

You’d think they’d have a “keep the customer happy” policy in place. Don’t they teach you any of this when you go to school to be a manager at Wendy’s?Take mom n’ pop shops… if they screw up an order or take too long, they’d give you a discount or a free drink or a coupon for next time… and they’re certainly taking more of a profit hit than a chain that would do the same thing.

At any rate, don’t go to Wendy’s in Dormont if you’re in a hurry, or if you actually want what you ordered.

I like Wendy’s. I grew up eating at the one in Murrysville, I frequent the one in Canonsburg for lunch. You have decent food for a cheap price, and I generally feel that the quality is better than that of other fast food chains.

I’d love to be able to eat peacefully and grab a quick bite to eat at the Wendy’s closest to where I live.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my experience, and I look forward to your reply.

Thank you for your time, and listening to my story.

-Eric Carroll

me@myaddre.ss

Insanity.

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers (Dormont) on Urbanspoon