I've had the opportunity to travel to quite a flew places around the world, some where westerners aren't the most welcome, but I was dismayed to find the worst customer service experience right here in my neighborhood.Joe Pesci's character Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2 was right: "They fuck you are the drive thru". Everyone knows it, everyone has had it happen to them, and sadly, its just a fact of life. You're too far down the road to make it worth going back for that missing side of fries.

That was almost the case with me last night after I got home after stopping by a certain McDonald's restaurant in Bothell, WA I was dismayed to find that I was missing the extra medium side of fries and a Big & Tasty someone had ordered. I was annoyed, I was really looking forward to those fries.

About 15 minute later, Jenn screams and begins spitting out her food into the sink. "Oh my God, look in my box!!" (She had dumped her fries into the lid of her Filet 'o Fish box).

This is what she saw.

Yes. That's right, a nicely deep fried insect. At this point, it became necessary to return to the restaruant for some compensation.

So Jenn and I drove back and went in. I asked to see the manager, who happened to be the first guy I encountered. I'm going to be as accurate as I can here:

Me: "We got home to find that we were missing two items from our order. Normally I don't worry about it, but then we found this in our food."

[I show him the Filet 'o Fish box with the insect] He examines it. Very thoroughly examines it. I suspect they get a few bogus claims every now and then. But seriously, its pretty obviously deep fried. He shows it to a few obviously disgusted co-workers.

Manager: "So what do you want me to do?"
Me: "I want a refund."

He then has to think about this, a good 10-15 seconds to think about this. He starts punching stuff on the register.

Manager: "I will give you refund for 1 meal."
Me: "No, I want a refund for the whole order. We were all disgusted. My daughter ate fries from that same batch of oil. I think we should get all of our money back."

I could tell now that he ws thoroughly annoyed with me. I was being totally reasonable, no swearing or raising my voice. There wasn't anyone else in the restaurant, either.

So obviously put way out of his way, he opened the cash drawer and refunded my money.

Manager: "So is there anything more?"
Me: "No, I expect an apology."
Manager: "We are ok now."
Me: "No, we're not. I want an apology."

He walked away. So that was it and I left. We get to the car and Jenn says "He only gave you $13 of the $16". Ok, big deal, $3 short, but I was absolutely livid he wouldn't apologize for the INSECT IN OUR FOOD. Not immediately when he was shown, or when I asked for one. Now it was down to principle. So I went back in the restaurant.

Me: "You only gave me $13, I want a full refund."
Manager: "You ate the ice cream sundae. It was not deep fried."
Me: "Do you think any of us finished our food after we found the insect?"

So he fished the receipt out of the trash and had his employee give us the full amount. By this time he had walked off.

Am I out of line expecting a $16.07 refund for the entire meal when we find a deep-fried insect in it? Am I expecting too much from a restaurant manager to give an apology for the incident?

This incident really set me off. Next step is contacting the owner and corporate.

Update: August 25, 2007

24 hours after submitting a letter to the McDonald's feedback form on their corporate web site, we received a call from the owner of the restaurant in question. He was gracious and told us that their standard procedure is to "immediately phone the owner of there are any foreign objects found in the food", which was not followed and that the people involved would be "retrained".



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