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Don't Lose A Customer To Bad Service

By Alyice Edrich
Posted Saturday, October 9, 2004

My husband received his first paycheck from his new job on Friday. So we decided to celebrate and went out to our favorite restaurant for dinner. The excitement and pleasure we normally experienced was soon shattered by disappointment.

The wonderful service we received was replaced by a waitress who was too busy to take care of us. She had no problem serving the tables to the left and right of us, but we seemed to be an inconvenience. We had to call her over for our order and for refills. She forgot our straws, forgot our wasabi, forgot my daughter's dipping sauce, and forgot my husband's soup. She finally brought the soup and straws upon our second request, but the wasabi and dipping sauce never arrived.

"That's okay," I thought. "Everyone has a bad day sometimes." But then came the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my entire life! It was heavily suggested that my husband and I were LIARS!

When we received our bill, I noticed that we had been charged for two coffee drinks. The problem was that while I had ordered two coffees, we only received one.

When the hostess came by, I explained that I would like the second coffee taken off because I never received it. Her reply, "yes you did. I brought it to you." I looked at her and said, "Yes, you brought me the first coffee I ordered. The second coffee never arrived." She left the table to discuss the matter with our waitress.

The waitress returned and said, "You had two coffees. I picked up a glass." My husband and I looked at her and politely said, "Yes. You picked up the first glass. We never received the second coffee." She then said, "Well the waiter made two drinks." We said, "That may be so, but we never received it." She walked away to discuss the matter with her manager who in turn went to discuss the matter with the bartender.

The bartender swore he made the drink. We didn't deny the fact that he made the drink, we simply stated that we had never received the drink. The manager came to our table and said, "We have a dilemma here. My waitress, the hostess, and the bartender said you received your drink."

We looked at him and said, "We don't deny that the bartender made the drink or that we ordered two coffees (Baileys Irish Cream and coffee, to be exact.), but that second coffee never made it to this table."

Doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, here's the kicker! The manager looked us dead in the face with a look of anger and in a harsh voice said, "Well, I can always go look in the dishwasher for the second glass. My bartender assures me that you are the only ones who ordered one of those drinks."

My husband looked at him in disbelief. "Did the manager just call us liars?" I asked myself.

My husband simply said, "Look, we understand your position, but we never received the second coffee. Go look in the dishwasher."

Frustrated, the manger threw his hands up in the air, and with a disgusted voice said, "Well here is what I am going to do. I am going to credit you this drink." No apology. No sorry for the misunderstanding. No sorry for the inconvenience. Nothing.

I looked at the manager and said, "We come here every other week. We never had a problem before." He just walked away.

The manager came back with the check and a tally that showed the times each of our orders were put into the system. Guess what? The second coffee was not listed on that sheet, but he had written down two times in blue pen and said, "The first coffee was put in at 5:58 and the second coffee was put in at 6:40." We looked at him and said, "We aren't denying we ordered two coffees; just that the second one never came."

Then my husband added, "Look at this table. Everything from the second order is here. Do you see that cup here?" The manager just walked away disgusted.

We paid our bill, left a $10 tip since the bill was $100 and we didn't want to stiff the sushi makers, and walked out.

My son, who hates waiting for the bill because he always feels bad when we spend too much on eating out, had gone outside when we asked the waitress for the bill. The look of bewilderment and anger on my face must have given me away because my son asked, "What's wrong?"

After a little nagging, I finally told him what happened. He looked at me and said, "Mom, you never got that second cup of coffee." I said, "I know and you can bet we will never eat there again."

The moral of this story…sometimes bad customer service can cost you a long-time repeat customer. If you're having a bad day, try to take a deep breath and don't take it out on your customers. And remember, sometimes, employees lie to cover their butts. And sometimes, mistakes just happen.

About the Author
Alyice Edrich is the author of several work from home e-books, and the editor-in-chief of a national publication for BUSY parents. Subscribe to her free e-newsletter at ( to win a free book!


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