Monday, March 10, 2008

My McDonald's Adventures!

So I'm still having problems loading pictures. So instead of coral adventures, I would like to talk to you about my adventures at McDonald's.

This is a story of how I solved a mystery of a crooked customer.

At Mickey D's (for those that are not from the US, this is a nickname for McDonald's, other examples include Jack in the crack, taco hell, buger king), we are taught the basic three important rules from day one. This is known as QSC. It stands for Quality, Service, and Cleanliness. This was one of the attributes that motivated Ray Kroc (founder of McDonad's ) to buy the rights to the hamburger business from the McDonald brothers many years ago. So basically, these two brothers opened up a hamburger joint and the idea was good, so a business man came and bought them out. Then he turned it into the largest food chain in the world.

Back to QSC. Quality of course is a no brainer. The product must be good. Even with good marketing, the customers will not return and go somewhere else if the product is not up to the high standards. Cleanliness is also a no brainer. People may go to a dirty place to buy coral, but they will not go to a dirty place to eat. Besides, you always have to worry about health department doing inspections. These guys can be asses when they want to be. So now we are left with Service. This is a gray area that is questionable. As a manager, I always had to deal with customer complaints. These range from fries being too salty to a fly in a burger. But in the end, we are taught one main thing. "Customers are always right".

Ok, so I ran the best shift around. My shifts were at usually at night and I always had good service, with great quality, and of course clean as a whistle! Then one night, this guy drove up to our drive through and complained about his food being cold and wanted his money back. He said that he had just bought the food from our drive through and the food was cold. Ok no problem, I'm an expert at exercising our motto "QSC". But I knew there was something wrong with this guy when he refused to park his car. He was holding up our drive through, so I asked him nicely to park in a designated area and I would bring out his money. He got really annoyed so I quickly apologized and gave him his dough (slang for money). Back then, receipts were given out to customers upon requests only. He knew exactly how much to get back. There was really no way of knowing that he actually bought the food from us. I just took his word for it, remember "customer is always right". Two nights passed and this guy came again! He had two value meals with drinks. I became suspicious and asked the girl working the drive through if she remembered this guy. Of course she didn't recognize him or the order. Having no cars behind, I started to ask him some questions, like how long ago did he come through, as my crew didn't remember. He claimed that his wife came through and bought the food and took it home. When she got home, the food was cold. She was upset and sent him to get a refund. Of course I offered to replace the food, but he refused. So being the clever guy I am, I asked how far he lived. he said only 10 minutes away. So I said, "we throw away our fries after seven minutes because it is not hot anymore and gets soggy". He got my point and started to get angry again. In the end, I gave in and gave him a refund and tossed the food and drink in the trash can. No big deal right? Wrong! He called up the next day to complain to my store manager about the bad service that I had provided the previous evening. Man I was pissed! The good thing was that I had two days off to not to think about that guy. When I came back, we had a manager's meeting. It turned out that this guy had been pulling the same stunt over and over again for weeks. I found out that he usually came in the afternoon, when it was really busy. He was very smart and for sure he knew how to get over on us. He picked the busiest time to complain so we would hurry up and give in. He also hit different managers on different shifts. He even came in the night that I was off and got away with more money!

Sure enough, a few days later, he came through again. The nerve of this guy! I asked nicely to park his car and I wanted to talk to him. He shut off his engine and said he wasn't moving until I gave his money back. Oh man, I was flaming! To top it off, it was dinner rush, and our drive through was packed. People started to honk their horns. Ok time to think fast, I wasn't going to give this guy any money, even if he had the food. I sent one of the crew to the waiting customers to say sorry. Then I got my available crew together and told them to search the food for any signs of (I don't know, something!), while I argued with the little prick! There was nothing wrong with the food, except that it was cold. After dissecting the burgers, my crew came to me and said that it was a normal quarter pounder and a big mac. I started thinking extra fast (you have to when you work at McDonald's). Then a light bulb lit up in my big head, "what about the drinks, check the drinks" I shouted. Holy crap! The ice in the cokes were circular in shape! And our ice machine makes cubed ice! I got his ass! Even after I confronted him with the evidence, he refused to leave. So I looked straight into his eyes and cussed him out. He was a little stunned, then hurried up and started his car and drove off. It wasn't the cussing and yelling that did the trick. I threatened to call the police and have his car towed, not to mention push charges of fraud and theft.

I never heard about that guy after that. I concluded that he was an employee at a nearby McDonald's. Somehow he was getting free food through the drive through from his friend(s). Then he would bring it by our place and get a refund. Who knows, how many other McDonald's he was taking advantage of.

In conclusion, it is experiences like this that had helped me create the biggest aquarium design/maintenance company in the SF area.

Many people have asked me if I ever regret working so long at Mickey D's.
I always say "no, that is where I learned about customer service". This is by far the biggest problem working with fish and coral exporters from overseas. Besides my knowledge, my main strength in this business is that I know how to take care of my customers.

While on the subject of McDonald's, that whole story about "Super Size Me" is bogus! Anyone who has any brains would know that your metabolism and your lifestyle plays a big role in how big you get (or don't get). I know people who gain weight by just smelling food! I should make a documentary countering the "super size me". My story is that I started working at McDonald's when I was 17. I weighed 120 lbs. I was a skinny little guy. After 10 years of working and eating mostly McDonald's food, I weighed only 130 lbs. It was only after that I quit that I gained weight. A year later, I was 150 lbs. I guess it took less calories to clean fishtanks than to run a shift at McDonald's. It makes sense, I used to run around everywhere taking care of business and I burned off whatever I ate. I remember my foot used to hurt a lot back in those days.

Ok, I hope I didn't bore you too much with my story. Hopefully google will let me upload pictures tomorrow, otherwise you might be reading another story from "my McDonald's adventures":)

cheers,
Eddie

4 comments:

Ace said...

Ha..Eddie,

You had your QSC.. I learned my 3C on sales back then when I was a salesman selling off cameras to tourist decades ago..
Yeap..3C, not the credit card, condos, cash..But to achieve top sales you need to Convince your customers, if you failed to do that, you need to Confused them. Finally if the front 2Cs' failed...you just CONNED them..
Sounds tricky..but I became the second top salesman in the company...But not anymore now that I am running my own business..just need to be down to earth and take the business with passion..lot's of it..

Cheers
Ace

Eddie H. said...

Hey Ace,

Man, the 3c's, even the book that my store owner gave me didn't cover that! The book was called "Gueriila Marketing". Good thing we are in a business where we can be passionate. I think we are lucky.

cheers,
Eddie

Anonymous said...

Hi Eddi,
very good Page i look every Day on it
Greeting from Germany Juergen
http://www.korallenzucht-bayern.de

Eddie H. said...

Hello from Germany,

I'm glad you enjoyed the McDonald's story. I have many and when I get bored of posting coral pictures, I will tell another tale. I checked out your website. Can't understand but saw the pictures of nice reef tanks. May I put your site on my favorites?

cheers,
Eddie

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