I’ve been a chicken wing lover for years. Decades really. I just love chicken wings. I’m not big on them already being soaked in the hot sauce. I’m a self-dipper. Some wings I want dry and deep fried, and then the next one I may want covered wth that burn and tang of the ever famous “burn your mouth” (and butt the next morning), hot sauce. I just like to be in charge of the impact of each and every bite that I take.
So, off I go on my wing trek… not far really, just a scant 1.25 minute walk from the house. I wait my turn in line, smiling at the people occupying two of the tables in the seating area. The girl behind the counter looks at me when I’m next in line as if to say “can I take your order”, but apparently I’m supposed to comprehend her untrained blank facial expression as that of being one which translates to “Welcome to Pizza Hut, can I help you?” I reply to her non-verbal introduction with “I’d like the 20 chicken wings to go. “Would you like breaded, traditional or boneless bites?” she reads from the cash register screen. “What are the traditional wings?” I ask. Apparently this question is a difficult one, and she turns her head and looks at the sign above her head and replies “they’re the ones in the middle”. I resist the urge to role my eyes (persons of this girl's generation have caused me to roll my eyes so far back in my head I’ve almost required surgery to put them back in place).
“Twenty traditional wings to go please” I request. She hits a few keys on the register (do they call them a register anymore?), and says that will be $13.33, and you know what? I almost just simply sighed and let the matter go without question, but then I came to my senses and said “I thought it was half price wing night”, to which she replied “it IS half price wing night”. I point to the sign above her head (the same sign she relies on to explain what they sell at Pizza Hut), and said “but twenty wings are normally priced at $18.00 (I was giving her the benefit of the mathematical doubt – the price was actually $17.99), and the expression on her face was priceless as she tried to see just where it was that I saw $18.00 with something clearly priced at $17.99. Now, normally this is where I would just go home and open up a can of Campbell’s soup (because ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper it is always Campbell’s soup that makes every problem a little bit better, and a tummy damned happy), but no … I had to press the matter further, and by this time this exchange of words had grabbed the attention of her older male co-worker who was quick to the scene at the counter.
I asked “how can half of $18.00 with tax come to $13.33? That means there’s over four dollars in tax”. The co-worker looks at the screen and says “the price is $11.80 plus tax.” To which I reply “if that’s your idea of half-price wings then you need to change your sign out front”, and then it hits me! It’s time for a restaurant poll because everyone in the joint is listening in on the conversation. I turn around and ask “is it my math that’s out of whack here?” After the laughter, the diners offered opinions of “yah, I was beginning to think the same thing”, and “no your math is just fine”.
Grudgingly I paid the rip-off, Pizza Hut, falsely advertised price and the “clerk” (whose name by the way came up on the receipt as ‘Steph’) asks if I want my receipt. “Yes I want my receipt so I can talk with your manager about this tomorrow”. The lady ahead of me in line who was waiting for her order said “the manager here is my niece. I’m going to call her when I get home about this, because this isn’t right.” Well, I can do simple math. I can even tackle some complicated mathematical equations without screwing them up completely, but this is a Pizza Hut offering a “half price” item which clearly means that you take the original price and divide it by two.
Perhaps Pizza Hut in Lakefield needs to hire people who understand simple math, people who truly know about the products they sell, and maybe, just maybe, have acquired some interpersonal skills prior to dealing with the public. I mean, when the same idiots serving me at the counter are the same people preparing something I’m putting into my body, I have to wonder. I just have to!
So the receipt I get is one of those thermal printouts that's stained with a red ink blot in the middle indicating that the paper roll is near its end, and needs to be changed. How much do you want to bet that Steph and her math genius male counterpart are completely baffled with this simple task?
I remember when an interview for a job meant you had to prove your worth. I remember when the sign said “half price” it meant a 50% discount. I remember when clerks in shops understood their products and services. I remember when clerks would speak to you using their “voice” and made you feel welcome and special for spending your hard earned money in their establishment. I remember when the customer was always right (especially when he/she actually was right). I remember when people appreciated your business and would reply to a situation like this with “you are right, $11.80 is not half of $17.99. I’ll adjust the price and speak with my manager about this error”.
Maybe I should just stop remembering ... OR, maybe I should just post this on my blog, and stop going to Pizza Hut. I like that latter. Spread the word, and spend my money at some of Lakefield's more worthy Restaurants like The Lakefield Restaurant (whose Pizza is TO DIE FOR and the service is top notch), or Jack's (who make the BEST fish and chips around), or another favourite is Nuttshell Next Door Cafe which serves the most delectable of the delightfuls each and every day for your tastebuds to simply flip over backwards for.
Lesson learned? Oh yah... Big Chain - Big Pain!