Mountain Mike's Pizza.... an August, 2002, Experience.

My wife called in an order for two large pizzas. "About 20 minutes," she was told. About 30 minutes later, we arrived.

I walked in; "Two large pizzas for take-out," I said to the manager. "My wife called the order in about half an hour ago."

"Your phone number?" he asked; I gave it to him.
"Name?" he asked.
"Claudia is the one who called," I replied.

"Someone just picked that order up, about ten minutes ago," he said, pointing to the computer screen.

I went out to the car and checked with my wife. We came back in. "I'd like you to meet Claudia," I smiled.

"I think we have a problem here: someone else picked up our order. How could that happen?"

Well, it went rapidly downhill from there, ending with the manager pushing my money and my coupon back across the counter, saying that he "didn't like me "giving him attitude."

My exit from the store was neither pleasant nor quiet.

But here's the part that bugged me, because he answered the following questions like this:

"So, how could someone else walk out with my order?! Did you ask for the phone number?" I asked.
"How could they have known my phone number?!"
"I don't know."
"You asked for the name, and they told you my wife's name, Claudia?!"
"I don't know."
"And you gave them the pizzas I ordered!?"
"Well, my other guy gave them the pizzas. I wasn't at the counter then."

"So it looks like you have a process problem here: you asked me for my phone number, but the other guy didn't do that to the previous person. They just walked up and said "Takeout", your guy asked if my phone number was theirs and they said yes, then he asked if Claudia had placed the order, and they said yes, so he gave them the pizzas."

This is when the money and coupon got shoved across the counter at me, I was accused of giving the manager "attitude", and he made it clear that he didn't want or need my business.

We stopped at Papa Murphy's on Prospect Avenue, between Lawrence Expressway and Saratoga Avenue, picked up the same order, but "take-and-bake" instead, went over to our friends' house and baked the pizzas. My friend with whom we shared the dinner remarked, "you know, I like these better than the [Mountain Mike's] pizzas we had last time!"

End of story and Lessons for tonight.

Am I off base? Do you think I treated him shabbily, or that I was the one treated poorly?

Would you frequent an establishment with a "customer is rarely right" attitude?

Would you care at all?

Is this what Customer Satisfaction or Customer Service has come to in Silicon Valley?

As my wife put it, "if this were North Carolina [where we vacationed last month], they would have apologized, given us a discount or even for free, and thrown in some free sodas, too."

Welcome to Silicon Valley.

Historical footnote: Same store, about two years ago.
I phone in an order for pickup. I go to the shop and sit and wait.
I go to the counter and tell them I'm there, ready for the pizzas.
I'm told that there's been a mixup, and one of their delivery guys just took my pizzas to someone else.
Well, how about making me another pair of pizzas?
Sure; wait another twenty minutes. Any offer of apology? No.
And compensation, like a free soda? Not a breath of it. Yes, same store.
Yes, I think... same manager. Same attitude? Sure looks it.
End of story between me and Mountain Mike? Nope.

Update, Fri 8/9/2002 8:12 AM, email from my friend, Crispen

Way to go. More of us need to take the time to stand up for ourselves. That manager has a lot to learn.
If I was willing to take the time, I'd follow up on stuff like this. I'm tired of having to do everyone's job for them, and explaining to them how it works. I'm the customer--in this case, he owed you an apology. He could have handled it so easily by apologizing, letting you know he'd make sure employees are better trained, and making you more pizza with a free soda while you wait.
This is simple stuff, so why can't people get it right! That manager acted like it was your fault for expecting a pizza when you ordered a pizza. Why else would he think you drove to the store?

The manager took it personally, rather than as an opportunity to put in some correction which would only help his business. Instead he'll whine about business dropping off and blame it on the economy, instead of considering that he's chasing customers away. This couldn't be the only time this sort of thing happens. It's part of the bad attitude (of the mgr.).


Update, Fri 8/9/2002 9:18 AM: email from my friend, Winthrop...

Since college I have not been to a Mountain Mike's pizza, nor will I ever go there again. The only pizza place with a lower quality product is Chuck E Cheese.
I much prefer take & bake anyway - faster, usually better tasting, and cheaper.


Update, Fri 8/9/2002 10:06 AM: email from my friend, Joe...

Bad food, bad service, dirty tables etc. We ordered some pizzas for the family, what came out was not what we ordered. The "counter person" swore it was what we ordered and it was ours...period.

This was before PCs and I had my credit card receipt. I forced him to dig through the pile of orders to match the final price to the receipt and voilà...a hit for my order and price....he told me that it was still my order...the funny part was what he wanted to pass to the family was more expensive than my order so how did I pay less for more....then he informed me the bill I was to have paid was totaled wrong and I owed the difference.

At this point a man came up behind me and was asking when his order would be matched the order I was rejecting to a "T". I said this must be his order and not mine.....then the "counter person" stated that I then must have already received my order and removed it from the site and was back trying to rip them off for another order!!!

The guy behind me made the comment that we had been in the restaurant as long as him, he came in right behind us, we had not left the store, eaten any pizza and this discussion was turing into a pile of "%%$#$" between me and him. He took the (what the pizza guy said were mine) pizzas and went back to his table and sat down.

Me, still no pizza to eat. The "manager" came to the know me...always nice...and wanted to know the problem...I explained, got funny looks etc. and then he announced that it must have been our order that hit the floor from the oven and they looked for me and wanted to explain what had happened....

I asked how long for the new pizzas, told about 20 minutes etc. The guy who got his pizzas earlier stated a few choice words back to the manager on the issue. I wanted to just step back.

20 minutes later our number was called, guess what....we got the wrong pizzas again...they recooked the order that was wrong in the first place.

I said we would just take the incorrect order vs waiting another 20 minutes....the "counter person" wanted to charge me the delta on my order.

I cracked at that point.

I then went to the pay phone can called Visa (never did this before) and asked how to reject the charge for the pizzas we had billed over an hour ago.... they were nice after hearing my story, reversed the bill on the phone.

I went back to the counter, told the "counter person" to keep the pizza and we were leaving. He got mad and told me he would rebill my credit card for the pizza etc.

I never got a bill but have been back only once. The soccer team had a party there....not my choice. Our event took place at the Mike's on Hamilton Ave close to Home Depot.

Update, Fri 8/9/2002 4:45 PM: Phone call from Mountain Mike's Headquarters:
Pati Lucido
Marketing Director
Mountain Mike's Corporate Office

"We'll call and talk to the folks in Santa Clara and see if we can ease the issue, but until the manager cools off, you might want to try going to the store in Saratoga for a while...."

Pati, thank you very much for your patience and understanding. While I would certainly look forward to an apology from the guy in the Santa Clara outlet, I don't think he's going to do that, so I'll be happy to avoid his shop. We may try the Saratoga restaurant, but Papa Murphy's may have both of them beat for a while....

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