Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fry Incident Conclusion

I've had some people ask me whatever happened with Steak n Shake after the "fry incident". Well I wound up emailing the HQ and sending them a link to my blog, to alert them to "the incident".

Within a couple of days, I had a phone call from the district manager. We discussed "the incident". He was very nice and polite, and wanted assurance that I hadn't "ingested" the offending article. I assured him (as well as I could, since I did eat some fries) that I had not eaten any of it. (Ewwwwwww!) However I could not impress upon him that we were not talking about a potato skin or something. He felt that what I was looking at was some commonly explainable anomaly like a potato skin left on the potato. Not a chance! I don't know what coating that fry had (or whether it was a fungus growing or what), but it was a liquid or semi-liquid coating that had discolored the fry and left it looking "gooey" and "sticky" with a wet and shiny silver-gray matter. The pictures don't do the thing justice. It was really gross!

So he asked if I could drop off "the fry" to the restaurant where I had purchased the meal. I told him I should be able to do that within the next few days. He also asked me whether I wanted him to send a complimentary gift card to my house, or if I wanted to pick it up at the restaurant. I assured him that this wasn't really necessary. It was appreciated, but I didn't contact them because I was looking for some sort of compensation. I simply wanted to make them aware of an obvious problem, so they could try to prevent it from happening again.

I stopped by the restaurant a few days later to drop off the fry and a picture of it that I printed out (since the fry had degraded substantially, and was now a faded grayish color). I showed up there about 5:30 or so, and the girl working the register asked whether she could help me. I told her that I just needed to speak with the manager. When I let her know that I needed to drop something off (and sort of waved the baggie and picture in front of me), I could swear her face dropped. She said she'd let the manager know. She tried to get me to sit over at the bar, but I told her that I preferred to stay off to the side. I didn't want the customers to see what I was dropping off, and was trying to be discreet.

I saw a woman that I thought was the manager. The cashier approached her, and they disappeared. I waited. And waited. After probably about 4-5 minutes, I finally saw her walking in my direction, just as the phone was ringing. She came up to within a couple of feet of me, answered the phone, put it on hold, and without acknowledging me she left and went into the back room.

I waited some more. After probably 10 minutes of waiting for the manager, she finally came up. She somewhat brusquely asked if she could help me, and I told her, "I just wanted to drop this off. The district manager asked me to drop it by." She took it from me, said thanks, and left. That was it. She was somewhat cold and abrasive, never apologized or asked what happened, or even looked at what I was handing her, or discussed it in any way. She never even smiled at me. She was borderline rude. I was a bit taken aback. She most definitely is in the wrong line of work.

A couple of days later I received a $20 gift card for Steak n Shake in the mail, along with a letter of apology from the HQ. We'll see if/when I use it. I would have gladly overlooked the "fry incident" and returned to dine again at Steak n Shake. However I found the behavior of the store manager appalling, and for that reason I don't have any desire to return to that particular restaurant (which is the only one in my immediate vicinity). She needs a new line of work.

But I harbor no ill will towards Steak n Shake itself. The HQ was very responsive and apologetic, and the district manager was polite and concerned (at least by appearances). They just need to find a new position for that store manager!


Neabear said...

I wonder if she did not know how to deal with the issue. Or maybe was spoken to by the district manager and upset by that as well. I really do wonder what caused that to happen in the first place. I also wonder if you will ever find out.