Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,

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Is It Because I'm White, Male, and Older??

(Just sent this in to KFC corporate. As Kim said, she knows when I was an asshole, and no, I wasn't. This was almost like that time at the DoubleTree a couple of years ago when one of the assistance managers went from zero to bitch in 2.5 seconds flat, even with me being completely calm and polite -- with witness, thankfully. That wound up scoring us a couple of free nights, which was handy last year. Anyway, I mean every word of this, and yes, I snarked. But considering the pure vitriole I've seen more adept managers handle far more deftly, this woman is going to be eaten alive if she couldn't handle low-level snark. Hell, *I* was able to think of 6 ways she could have de-escalated if the roles are reversed.

Kim pointed out that her mantra of being the owner/manager and such likely meant she felt I was threatening her authority. I have no idea what her ethnicity is, I truly don't care, and I have to put up with ENOUGH shit for being a white male without being made a surrogate for the not unreasonable fear of the Trump o' doom.)


I am writing to let you know of an extremely uncomfortable, frightening experience I had this afternoon at one of your franchise locations.

I do not tend to write these kinds of letters; Having worked in food service and retail I am more inclined to call out good service when it happens, because I know all to well how infrequently that happens.

Which speaks to the egregious level of the bad treatment I received at your 2424 Encinal Avenue, Alameda, California location at about 3PM. Keep in mind that I would not have been inclined to report an employee; However when the owner/manager acts in such a fashion, I have serious concerns for the reputation of your company.

I started because, as I was ordering in the drive through, I decided I would have a doublicious sandwich for lunch. I had other items to order for my girlfriend, so I ordered it last. I was surprised to hear that it was a 5 minute wait -- so much so that I agreed to it without really thinking through how late in the day it already was.

After the person in front of me paid for their meal and left, I pulled up and handed the woman who opened the drive through window my credit card. After she ran it, she told me to drive around.

I should note that there were no cars behind me, including at the menu board. I said I was fine waiting at the window.

She became very irate almost immediately, saying that she was "on a timer". I must admit I was testy, as it was a LATE lunch, so I did say "How is that my problem?". I did not raise my voice, swear, or make any violent motions.

I feel forced to emphasize that fact because I am still completely and honestly baffled by everything that happened next. Forgive me, as it felt like she was having five conversations at once, and as such this will appear somewhat scrambled. That she interrupted me every time I tried to reply didn't help.

She was handing me the first part of my order -- which I already had paid for -- and I had it in my hand, when she tried to take it away from me. As I already had my hand one one handle, I held on.

As she was doing this, she was asking me if I wanted my money back. In all actuality, my next question was to ask if I could just change the sandwich to the popcorn chicken, which is why I was reaching for my credit card (which I hadn't even had a chance to put back into my wallet).

She took that to mean that I DID want my money back (never mind I never had the chance to reply to her question), and she yanked the bag. As I was trying not to drop MY food, it wound up tearing in half.

I actually managed to catch most of it (I think the small order of slaw hit the ground -- at that point I had to open the door to retrieve that and the fallen condiments), and really just wanted to get the popcorn chicken, but as I looked up she was trying to shove money at me.

Which was odd, as I hadn't paid cash; Which was why I was going for the card, as I knew she would need it to make any adjustments. When I insisted that all I wanted was to make the change, she continued to rant at me about how horrible I was being, and that she was the owner, and this was her property, her rules, and that she was going to call the police on me.

When I tried to point out that giving cash as a refund to a credit card purchase was illegal, as far as I knew, she began simultaneously demanding I leave, ordered her people to re-make the order (which I neither requested nor needed -- I just wanted the popcorn chicken) so that she could get me out of her "god-damned drive through", that she never wanted to see me in her drive through again.

About that point she began storming through the restaurant, swearing and speaking about me in very unprofessional terms. Then she was on the cell phone with the Alameda Police Department, loudly and publicly casting me as the aggressor (even though I STILL had yet to even raise my voice or get a sentence in edgewise!).

At this point I think I would have given up on the popcorn chicken, but she stormed out with a pen and pad to write down my license plate number, blocking my egress even as she was reporting that "I wouldn't leave". Mind you, I would have happily given her the number, as I already was thinking of contacting KFC corporate at this point.

When she came back to the window, I tried to get a photo of her and her nameplate to make just this complaint, when she began... shrieking is the only way to describe it. More about how it was her restaurant, and that taking pictures of me was illegal, and that I was illegal, and... well, again it was too confusing, because I was too busy trying to ask her what I had done to provoke her in the first place. I think my stance and tone could safely be described as incredulous by this point -- I really was just confused, and still am.

By contrast the poor lad (I believe his name was Jake) who was the brunt of most of his maniacal manager's diatribe was very polite, and got me a copy of the receipt so I would have a timestamp and some sort of document regarding the whole mess. Note that I was never able to get the bill changed -- Not only did I wand up with twice the food, but I feel like I shortchanged KFC -- isn't the popcorn chicken more than the doublicious?

Anyway, I arrived at my girlfriend's place, and she suggested I call the APD. This was 20 minutes later. They had the officer reporting to the scene call me back, and we had a very congenial conversation (to be honest before that point I was terrified that I was about to be arrested, and wasn't quite sure why) -- I gave them a slightly more summarized version of the events detailed, above. She did tell me there was security footage, but that she did not view it, and was actually the one to suggest I contact KFC corporate. The report ID number is #99 01-20-2017.

I understand that date, today's date, is a bit tense for a lot of people. I'm sorry for being snarky. But I actually do know the difference between a slightly snarky customer and one that has gone off the rails, and I was maybe a 2 on that scale of 10. Her reaction was an 11, with no attempt to de-escalate, and naked contempt for me and anything I had to say, however calmly. If anything I had the distinct feeling I had working once as a Mac Genius many years ago, trying to talk down an customer irate over the fact the iPod warranty didn't cover the water damage from dropping it into the toilet.

Really not certain what you can do, really, as apparently I've been "banned" from that KFC -- and even if I wasn't, as the nice officer noted, would I want to risk eating there after today? Mind you, it was only that I could see the food as it was being put into my bag that gave me any assurance that today's food was unaltered.

In any event, thank you for your kind attention to this matter; Please feel free to contact me at halbig@rotunda.com if you had any questions.


John J Halbig

Tags: wtaf?

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