Burger King: Take Responsibility For Your Employee's Actions!
If you bring up the topic of Fast Food it will probably not take long before anyone involved in your discussion unleashes a torrent of complaints based on their own experiences at any number of restaurants in their area. In most cases customers bring up food quality, order mistakes or customer service issues. Well, I have a whopper of a fast food story to share with you about what my wife experienced and can only hope this never happens to you.
Back in early April of 2015 my wife Catherine, our adult daughter Jamie and her young grand daughter Jayden visited the local Burger King in Lebanon, Indiana. They each like certain items that chain of restaurants has available on their menu and are willing to deal with the usual fast food service hassles to get them. All of the fast food restaurants that we have visited in Lebanon have various customer service issues and Burger King is no different. Most employ workers that seem disinterested in getting orders correct and, as a result, we have learned to check our bags before leaving the store or Drive Thru.
During that recent and final visit to our local Burger King my wife and daughter were more concerned about what was in their bags than what was in their drink cups. That was a huge mistake: Not because my wife received the wrong drink in her cup, but because of the little surprise that was included among the ice cubes and liquid. My wife might of checked her drink cup as well as her bag if she had not been distracted by the odd behavior of the Burger King employee handling the Drive Thru window on that occasion.
Most fast food employees in our area act complacent or bothered at best, but on this day my wife and daughter were served by a gentleman who acted thrilled to see them and was intent on being dutiful in an over-the-top manner. He smiled widely and rushed to get the order into the hands of my wife who was driving. This is what they reported to me because I was not with them on this occasion. However, I do know that my both my wife and daughter have an aversion to eating stale or cold French Fries and rightly so. If you do not ask for fresh fries you probably will not get them at any of the Lebanon, Indiana, fast food restaurants.
My wife and daughter began to wonder if the employee serving them was acting as he was because of their frequent requests for hot and fresh fries? Either way, they were distracted enough to drive on to other places and errands. After eating their meals in the car they discarded their empty bags, but kept their drink cups for the melted ice. My wife forgot to take her drink cup out of the car when she came home. The next day she took my daughter and grand daughter to a local park where Jayden could play. While they were there Catherine cleaned out her car and part of that included discarding her drink cup from the day before.
As she took the drink cup and some other items to the trash can near where the car was parked she noticed something strange in her drink cup. Among the melted ice was a dead mouse! She was stunned and disgusted as you might imagine. Her first thoughts involved how the mouse got into her drink cup? The lid was still tightly sealed with only the straw protruding through a tiny hole. The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced that the mouse ended up in her cup as a result of something that happened at Burger King. Either the mouse had somehow gotten into the ice bin used to fill up drink cups or it was deliberately placed there by an employee bent on sadistic revenge against my wife and daughter for regularly requesting fresh and hot fries.
As soon as she calmed down enough to dial the phone my wife called me to explain her tale of woe. Needless to say, I was as stunned as shocked as she was. I suggested she immediately take the cup back to Burger King and call the local police as soon as she arrived there. Sadly, my wife did not take my advice. She decided to take photos of the cup and its disgusting contents; then discarded the drink cup into the garbage. She did call the local Burger King and was almost immediately dismissed. After arriving home she called the national Burger King complaint phone number. That eventually lead to a call from a woman at the Carrols Corporation which owns the local Burger King. That company is located in Syracuse, New York and is the world’s largest Burger King franchisee operating more than 650 restaurants under that band (according to their web site).
After several more calls and conversations the contact at Carrols referred Catherine to Liberty Mutual, their insurance company. At that point my wife was not looking to file a claim, she just wanted some justice and closure. Within a few days a man from the insurance company called to take my wife’s statement. He was obviously a “closer” who took a rough and skeptical tone all during their phone conversation. He questioned her sobriety and intimated that she had no way of blaming Burger King for the situation at hand. The man obviously needed a reality check or perhaps a little surprise of his own in a Burger King drink. In the end Catherine later received a call denying her claim. At least the customer service representative on the Burger King complaint line had the decency to apologize for my wife’s experience.
Catherine wisely called the local Health Department right after her initial call to the Burger King complaint line. Sadly, that agency was not able to investigate the Burger King in person for several days. By then the place was the model of cleanliness and the restaurant passed their inspection with flying colors. Anyone having visited that store would know that cleanliness at that establishment was rarely the case and the fact the the dumpster area is extremely close or even attached to the main building makes the case for a mouse having access to the premises more likely than not. This was yet another frustration for my wife who was simply trying to deal with the fact that she had unknowingly drank from a cup with a dead mouse in it.
Another disappointment involved my wife’s call to the Lebanon Reporter, our local newspaper, to explain her situation. Almost immediately the reporter she spoke to was skeptical about her claim and spoke of the paper being sued for libel if they printed her story. Having been a part-time writer and author for many years I pointed out to Catherine that libel could only be proved if a story was not true. Nevertheless, if was obvious that no one in Lebanon land was interested in dealing with a situation that anyone would be horrified to experience, as well as a possible threat to public health. Imagine if our young grand daughter had also received a dead mouse in her drink? Fortunately, we are confident that was not the case.
At this writing several months later my wife no longer goes to any Burger King and I cannot remember the last time she visited a fast food restaurant or Drive Thru. This was a healthy development for her and me, but one that came at a great cost. My wife still has nightmares about her experience and often shares her story with friends and co-workers as a means of dealing with what happened. I would be less than honest if I did not say that we are all disgusted with the way we were treated by Burger King and Liberty Mutual Insurance, as well as everyone else we contacted to try to get them to deal with this situation. These may be things to remember when you make your own consumer choices.
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." - I Corinthians 13:13 KJV Bible
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