Is Accountability a Liability?

Earlier today Don and I went to a fast food place to get something to eat after a long, early morning school ceremony for Tayla. Admittedly, we were both a little cranky. Hunger and lack of sleep do not mix. We get up to the counter (oh, I’m not going to use their real name so let’s just say it was Bendy’s) and place our order. A few minutes later, at the table, Don bites into his burger and spits it out. “Oh my God, that’s horrible!” he rewrapped the sandwich and brought it up to the counter. I watched silently as he stomped his way back to the table and dropped himself in a plastic chair. “What was wrong with it?” I finally asked.

“Ugh, the bun was like stale and the cheese was cold”.

He unwrapped his remade cheeseburger and eyed it with suspicion before biting into it. Again, the sandwich and paper were balled up and he marched back up to the counter. “Could I speak to your manager please?” I heard in his deep baritone voice. I was glad I wasn’t up there with him and I felt a little bad for whomever the manager was. Don isn’t always the nicest of guys, especially when he’s got a complaint.

I didn’t hear the exchange between the two, just noticed he came back to the table empty handed. I swallowed hard.

“They can’t even make the remake right? I told them to forget it, I didn’t want it.”

I took a deep breath and studied my cup of chili before deciding it needed some sour cream. I figured a dollar would cover it and I shuffled up to the counter. “Could I get a sour cream please?” I asked.

The woman behind the counter opened the fridge and asked “How many do you want? Three? Two?”

I told her two would probably do the trick and handed her my money. She shook her head. “No, it’s ok. It’s on us because he complained about the burger.” She motioned with her chin in Don’s direction.

While I always appreciate free sour cream, I don’t think that was the best way to handle the situation. He’s upset so you give me free stuff? How does that work? You could’ve apologized to him, given him a refund or a coupon, I know he didn’t want another burger… But by addressing me and not Don, he’s still got a bad taste in his mouth from the whole experience. He didn’t feel heard or validated and I’m guessing he may have felt even a little slighted by the fact they gave me something for free when he’s the one who had the issue.

I get it, and I think it needs to change.

I understand that Don can be an intimidating person, especially when you are on the receiving end of the death stare but by indirectly dealing with his issue, you’ve compounded the problem. Guess how many people he’s going to tell about the bad experience at Bendy’s? Probably everyone he works with. We both work in the food industry and while it may not be a ton of people in the grand scheme of things, word gets around. Unfortunately, bad word makes the rounds in lightning speed while praise travels about 5 mph and takes the scenic route.

So, Bendy’s, it’s up to you. Start making yourselves accountable and treat people with complaints directly or maybe change your name to WeNeedToMakeAmmendy’s.

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