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Old 02-06-06, 07:34 PM   #1
kantonburg
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I wrote the first complaint letter in my life to a restaurant the other day.

Went to Texas Steakhouse the other night and as usual ordered the Chicken Tenders and fries. This particular meal comes with cole slaw, which I don't like, and as far as I can remember have substituted green beans for them. I was informed by the waitress that I could no longer substitute green beans for the slaw. I informed her I had always done this but not anymore. She said I could get them for an extra fee. I gladly declined. In my letter I suggested this is something they should reconsider because if a customer has a choice to go somewhere where they have choices they'd be more inclined to do so. All I want from this is to be able to get my green beans.

So has anyone written a complaint letter and if so did you ever get any feedback?

edit: I mentioned in the letter that I felt substituting a vegetable type side dish for a vegetable dish was fine. It's not like I was trying to exchange the free rolls for a steak dinner. I really don't know why this irks me so much but it does.

Last edited by kantonburg; 02-06-06 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:41 PM   #2
Deftones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kantonburg
Went to Texas Steakhouse the other night and as usual ordered the Chicken Tenders and fries. This particular meal comes with cole slaw, which I don't like, and as far as I can remember have substituted green beans for them. I was informed by the waitress that I could no longer substitute green beans for the slaw. I informed her I had always done this but not anymore. She said I could get them for an extra fee. I gladly declined. In my letter I suggested this is something they should reconsider because if a customer has a choice to go somewhere where they have choices they'd be more inclined to do so. All I want from this is to be able to get my green beans.

So has anyone written a complaint letter and if so did you ever get any feedback?
Yes. There some quickie Chinese chain here called Chop Stix. I guess they are popping up all over. I ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken. It came w/ white rice, but I wanted fried rice instead. I asked them if I could substitute fried rice for an additional charge. Every place I've been to will allow you to do that for just a bit more. They told me no, and I'd have to pay for a full order ($7 or so). I was pissed. So I came home and wrote them an email. They sent me a letter back which was a canned response. I emailed them again after I got it, stating that I'd never frequent their restaurants again due to the lack of flexibility in menu options and for their lack of personal response.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:43 PM   #3
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yep, i have


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Old 02-06-06, 07:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kantonburg
Went to Texas Steakhouse the other night and as usual ordered the Chicken Tenders and fries. This particular meal comes with cole slaw, which I don't like, and as far as I can remember have substituted green beans for them. I was informed by the waitress that I could no longer substitute green beans for the slaw. I informed her I had always done this but not anymore. She said I could get them for an extra fee. I gladly declined. In my letter I suggested this is something they should reconsider because if a customer has a choice to go somewhere where they have choices they'd be more inclined to do so. All I want from this is to be able to get my green beans.

So has anyone written a complaint letter and if so did you ever get any feedback?
Wasn't this an episode of "Everybody Hates Chris"?
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Old 02-06-06, 07:48 PM   #5
kantonburg
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Originally Posted by Jadzia
Wasn't this an episode of "Everybody Hates Chris"?
I musta missed that thread.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:52 PM   #6
Jadzia
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There was an episode where the mom and cheapskate dad go out to eat at someplace like Bozanza, and she doesn't get any coleslaw with her meal, so she asks for them to bring her some, and the waitress says it will cost 79 cents additional, etc.

I watch way too much tv.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:53 PM   #7
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Back in the early days of AOL, I used to write complaints about service and service interruption and send them to Steve Case. Back then that was what you did and they had a customer base of about 800K. This was during their big push for more sheep and about the time they raised rates significantly from $20 a year to $24 a month (we're talking around 1994-95).

I did this once a week. Logged how many times I had service interrutpion, how many times I'd get a busy signal thru dial-up. yada yada yada and included them in the email. I ended up never having to pay for my account for nearly 6 years before I got it TOS'd for the final time.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:54 PM   #8
kantonburg
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I thought it was an "inside thread" joke. I guess I don't watch enough. I've never heard of it.
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Old 02-06-06, 07:55 PM   #9
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Now, is there any wording anywhere in the restaurant, on the menu, etc. where no substitutions are allowed? If so, you got nothing to complain about. Just because a competitor does it, doesn't mean they are obligated to do the same.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:01 PM   #10
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Ok, I can totally understand not wanting the coleslaw because coleslaw is really yucky. But then to actually ask for greenbeans?!? Are you insane?!?
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Old 02-06-06, 08:05 PM   #11
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Should have gotten the succotash. Mmmmmm, succotash.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:05 PM   #12
kantonburg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilshalo
Now, is there any wording anywhere in the restaurant, on the menu, etc. where no substitutions are allowed? If so, you got nothing to complain about. Just because a competitor does it, doesn't mean they are obligated to do the same.
Unless they've added it to their menu I didn't really look for it and she didn't make any effort to point it out. It's something I've done for years and was informed it's no longer allowed. If so I can live with it. I was just offering my suggestion to them. I just feel given the choice of eating somewhere I have options vs. a place where I don't. I'll take the option place. Thats like not having the option between a baked potato or french fries.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:11 PM   #13
kantonburg
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Should have gotten the succotash. Mmmmmm, succotash.
I'd be sufferin' from that succotash.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:48 PM   #14
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In the last 5 years or so I have done it a bunch of times. However, I don't just write complaint letters I write "good job" as well. Couple of ones I remember:

-I e-mailed the maker of a high end CD player I have that gave out after five years. While it was not a complaint, I mentioned I was disappointed. They maker (out of England) forwarded my e-mail to the local distributor who called me and stated that if I paid for shipping to him, he would review the unit with a tech and write me an estimate of repairs for free. Since the unit did not work, I did this and paid the $20 shipping. In less then a week he called stating a major part went out and while not under warranty "in his opinion" should not have gone out after 5 years and he fixed the unit for free and paid for return shipping to me.

-An LCD Computer monitor that I bought off display went out after 1 year (far as I could tell it only had a 90 day warranty). I e-mailed the company who sent me a return authorization and who fixed for free and paid for return shipping.

-A 10 year old soft sided brief case that I loved had the zipper go out. I e-mailed, they explained they had a life time guarantee (I did not know this) and they sent me a return label and in less then 15 days total I had the brief case back.

-Bought something from a store on the net with free shipping (it was a large item). When I didn't like it, I e-mailed and asked to return it. They advised it was not a problem, but I had to pay for shipping back which would have been a 1/3 of the cost of the item. When I wrote back to complain, I got a call from a local B&M of the store who apologized and said if I would bring it in to them, they would give me a full refund and they would take care of returning for me.

-e-mailed the company regarding excellent service I received from one of their employees. A supervisor called me back thanked for taking the time and told me if I asked for him on my next visit he would give me a free bottle of wine (local resturant).

-a funny one my wife did, was she wrote a premium cat food company and wrote the e-mail as coming from our Cats, basically saying how much they love the cat food but their "owner" won't buy it because it was so expensive. The Cat food company sent back a snail mail package, labeled to our cats, with a couple of free samples and about a dozen coupons.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:06 PM   #15
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I have, quite a few times, written either a restaurant or manufacturer of a product. The key is to always start with something positive, then factually discuss what you think went wrong. Snail mail is usually better than email as well.

Regarding substitutions--Yeah, I do that too. Some places do, some places don't let you. Usually you can sub side for side, except for a few which have an additional charge clearly stated on the menu.

You could add beans for a fee, in addition to your slaw, or substitute for a fee? And of course it depends on the fee--I'd pay a quarter to sub fries for slaw, if I had to.

But yes, I prefer options/flexibility to not having those things.

And if you get exceptional service, it's always good to give that feedback as well.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:13 PM   #16
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I wrote on the back of a check one time "Shit service deserves a shit tip." and left nothing once. It was the most pathetic restaurant service I had ever witnessed, at a restaurant called Toucan's in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. This place had fairly decent food, and even ok service most of the time. And the meal didn't involve an insulin injection, for those of you who get an instant boner anytime you can bring that up.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:18 PM   #17
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I e-mailed Longhorn Steakhouse about a bad meal my wife and I had there. After a few weeks, we received a $30 gift cardin the mail from the district manager.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:28 PM   #18
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kantonburg will fight for his green beans. You sir, are my hero.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:29 PM   #19
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I wrote a letter to El Toritos because when I measured my "pint" of salsa, I consistently only had about 1 1/2 cups. This mattered a lot to me because at the time I was buying about 2 pints a week. The district manager was really responsive--I got lots of free salsa and a free dinner for two. However, the problem was never really solved--within a couple weeks, they'd gone back to 1 1/2 cups and though I could get my full 2 cups, it required talking to a manager at the restaurant,etc. I eventually quit buying salsa there because I couldn't count on how much I'd get.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:35 PM   #20
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What is with you people?!? Green beans are really gross!!!!
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Old 02-06-06, 09:37 PM   #21
kantonburg
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
kantonburg will fight for his green beans. You sir, are my hero.
You darn skippy!!!

Old. Na. I guess it's more a suggestion letter than a complaint. Besides. It's for their own good.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:53 PM   #22
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I use to do this, and got results. Now I only do it if it was either a big problem and/or high ticket item. There are a few things i've done on principle (like papa john's screwing up my order a few times....it isn't even very good pizza, but it was convenient)

-p
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Old 02-06-06, 09:57 PM   #23
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Back in 1998, Wendy's was running a promotion for the Nagano Olympics. The promotion was that for every value meal you bought, you would get a scratch off card where you could win prizes.

The Wendy's I went to was doing it where it was one card per tray regardless of how many value meals were ordered. My family and I, 5 of us, ordered 5 value meals and got 2 scratch off cards.

I went up to the counter to ask for the remaining three cards and was told by the girl at the counter and the store manager that 1 card per tray was their policy. I went back to my table and told my mom what they told me. After we were done, I took one of the comment cards home with me, filled it out explaining what had happened, and mailed it out.

A few weeks later, I got a letter in the mail from the district/regional office. The manager apologized for what had happened, said that they contacted the store and corrected the problem, and best of all, included certificates for about $25 in food.

A couple days after receiving the letter, I went back to Wendy's, and got food with the certificates. This time, after ordering 5 value meals, I got 5 cards. I don't remember if I won anything, probably just more free food.

Nice stories, Sdallnct. Nice to see that there are companies out there that put a premium on customer service.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittydreamer
What is with you people?!? Green beans are really gross!!!!

Amen!!!

And the only way to eat coleslaw is to wrap a barbecue pulled pork sandwich around it, Memphis style.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittydreamer
What is with you people?!? Green beans are really gross!!!!
Fear Factor gross?
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