Saturday, March 28, 2009

How Warm Chicken = Two Hours of Horror - PART DEUX

Yet again on Friday I ordered a Quarter Chicken dinner dark meat with a white roll for delivery from Swiss Chalet. Unlike last week, I ordered just after 11 A.M. instead of 11:30 A.M. in the hopes of actually receiving my food in less than hour.

But before I get to that, the fun began when I was ordering the food. From last week's fiasco I was promised by a Swiss Chalet Customer Service Manager that I would have a $15.00 credit on the account going forward.

So this week I thought I would use up that credit for my Friday lunch and continue on with my life. Thus, instead of ordering online, I called into their call centre to speak to someone about my order. I waited about a minute for someone to pick up the phone, which in normal circumstances isn't too bad if your calling into a call centre these days. First I inquired if there was a $15 credit on the order. The response was dumbfounding "No there is not but I can transfer you to Customer Service to look into it." I was then transferred over. Apparently the person who picks up the phone to take your order isn't smart enough to look for a credit pending on an account and thus needs someone else to sleuth this out. But then again, the idea of "Customer Serive" these days does seem novel in some places.

After being transferred to "Customer Service" and waiting another two minutes for someone to pick-up the phone, gentleman answered. I told him what happenned last week and that there should be a $15 credit on the account put there by a Customer Service Manager. The agent did some searching and found that I was supposed to receive $15.00 refund. I replied that this point I still hadn't received the $15 refund so I would be interested if either an lunch be delivered or $15 be delivered, it was Swiss Chalet's choice.

The agent quickly got the $15 credit processed and said he would be more than willing to take my order. Thus, I ordered through him. By the time the order was put through it was 11:08 A.M. I figured if I ordered around 11 A.M. that the food would come faster as most orders would start arriving around 11:30 A.M. as the lunch rush would start.

My goodness was I ever wrong. At 12:08 P.M. I found myself calling back the Swiss Chalet hotline wondering where the food was? I was worried that another fiasco like the previous Friday was erupting. After dialing I found myself waiting for an agent to pick up for about five minutes. Eventually someone picked up and I told them of my problem. They put me on hold for another two minutes. At the end of the two minutes I hung up. Why? Because my lunch was coming through the front door.

Of course I didn't tip the driver anything, after waiting for a total of 3 hours on two seperate occasions in a row, Swiss Chalet can tip their own driver.

As for future delivery orders from Swiss Chalet, FORGET IT!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How Warm Chicken = Two Hours of Horror

On Friday at 11:40 A.M. at work I online ordered a Quarter Chicken Dinner Dark meet with a white roll and 7 Up from Swiss Chalet. Now one would think that after over thirty years of perfecting the art of Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken served with fries that adding delivery wouldn't be rocket science.

But apparently I'm wrong. I will score them a downfall though, the local Swiss Chalet to office was closed so the chicken dinner did have to travel a little farther from the next closest location at Rutherford Road & Weston Road, but why is that my fault?

So, I waited for my chicken to arrive. At 12:40 P.M. I called their order line to inquire as to the status of my order. The agent put me on hold for two minutes and came back to say the order has been dispatched from the restaurant.

What I couldn't figure out was why it took over an hour for a Quarter Chicken Dinner with a can of Seven up could take so long. If Pizza Pizza can deliver a pizza in thirty minutes or less, why couldn't Swiss Chalet do the same thing in, at most, forty-five minutes? That I can't figure it out.

The chicken arrived at two O'clock. I handed the driver twenty dollars. Of course the driver didn't have the correct change to remotely get it lower than a three dollar tip. The whole issue of delivery probably wasn't his fault (i.e. Swiss Chalet hired too few drivers for the lunch rush) but my chicken was one hour and twenty minutes late.

Next, I headed to the Kitchen with my newspaper tucked underneath my arm for a latish lunch. Of course the chicken fries and sauce were all cold. In hindsight I guess I could of warmed my lunch with the steam coming out of my ears.

I returned to my desk and picked up the phone for a second call to Swiss Chalet customer service. I complained about the heat of the food and the fact that perhaps the lateness of the food had something to do with why it was so cold. I also noted that the Swiss Chalet delivery driver failed to leave a receipt with the order. (In hindsight perhaps that was so I wouldn't fill out their little online customer satisfaction report...I fixed him and still entered the code from the e-mailed confirmation receipt from my online order). The Swiss Chalet Customer Service agent said that another dinner would be en route and that the driver would swap out the old one for the new one. I agreed to this and hung up the phone.

1:30 P.M. quickly rolled around and I was still stairing at chicken getting even colder. I picked up the phone a third time. When the Swiss Chalet Customer Service agent picked up I requested to speak to Customer Service Manager. The agent responded, in usual "Customer Disservice nature," that perhaps he could assist me. I then ran down the complete excellent adventure in Swiss Chalet I had and again asked to speak to a Customer Service Manager. I was put on hold for two minutes and then the same Customer Service Agent came back on and said the managers were busy and that he was told to offer a fifteen dollar credit to the account. I responded that I asked to speak to a manager and expected to talk to one. I was put on hold for less than a minute and then, horrors of horrors, a Swiss Chalet Manager actually picked up the phone!

I went through what I had gone through and pointed out the whole problem revolved around the fact that someone in their infinate wisdom chose to close down the local Swiss Chalet. I pointed out that if that location was still open, less than kilometre from the office, I would be chowing down on warm chicken. Instead, I had to wait for the chicken to travel five kilometres and arguing with him about what I've been put through. The Manager was quite understanding to what I had gone through. He noted he lived in the area and that the closure of the Swiss Chalet location was starting to cause issues. He put me on hold and contacted the restaurant to ensure a fresh meal was coming. He then said that a fifteen dollar credit would be applied to my account. He also said that he would speak to the customer service agent I had just dealt with that when a customer asks for a manager that one is available whether they pull them out of a meeting or disrupt management at time. I hung up quite satisfied that Swiss Chalet was at least trying to rectify the situation.

At 1:45 P.M. I had a warm Quarter Chicken dinner delivered. The driver tried to have me hold onto the original cold one he dropped off on his first attempt. I replied that No, he had to take it with him as per the instructions of the Swiss Chalet Customer Service Manager. The driver then tried offering me the can of 7 Up from the original cold dinner. I replied that he had to take the whole original dinner with him as I was afraid that after all I had been through Swiss Chalet would attempt at shystering me out more money for the cost of the pop if he didn't take it back. I also pointed out that it was his and Swiss Chalet's issue of what to do with the original meal and not mine.

So that, my friends, is how it takes over two hours to get a warm Quarter Chicken Dinner meal out of a restaurant chain who has perfected rotisserie chicken over thirty plus years and yet failed to be able to slap it in a car and deliver it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A morning horror story OR say it ain't so!

This morning, like every Saturday morning, I woke up, showered, dressed and headed down to Tim Horton's with the Saturday Morning's newspaper. Now normally I order my Tim Horton's breakfast and settle down to read Ellen Roseman's column in the Toronto Star for consumer issues and complaints. However, this morning would be different as ended up with my own customer complaint at the Tim Horton's counter before even finishing ordering my food.

I normally order a medium black coffee and a poppie seed bagel. However, to my great dissapointment the response to the bagel order was: "the poppyseed bagel has been discontinued."

At this point I did the double take with the associated blinking with the 1980's thought of "WHAT YOU TALKIN' BOUT WILLIS?"

The person behind the counter had no idea why the bagels were discontinued but did note that she had been receiving several orders and people were dissapointed. The Team Leader, who normally works there quite a bit and is very knowledagable also didn't know either why the bagels were discontinued.

So I settled for a Sesame Seed bagel toasted with plain cream cheese. For some reason this bagel didn't taste as good as the regular stalwart of the poppyseed bagel.

To say the least I'm dumbfounded at this decision by Tim Horton's to discontinue to the Poppyseed bagel considering, I believe, the poppyseed bagel is probably one of the oldest and most popular stalwarts of the bagel family of flavours. But then again, maybe I've just become old fashioned, but that is topic for another blog entry altogether.

I may end up finding another place to eat my Saturday morning ritual that serves poppyseed bagels, toasted with plain cream cheese with a decent black coffee on the side.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

YRT responds Quickly to Mike "The Fixer" Suddard

As of January 1st 2009 York Region Transit (YRT) raised transit fares for the third year in a row. At every VIVA station (the rapid transit stations in York Region) their is a poster showing VIVA routes and the fares to ride both YRT (local transit vehicles) and VIVA.

At my local VIVA station there was the usual transit and fare poster. However, at this stop there was a leftover poster from last year. Thus, the poster was displaying the 2008 fares instead of the 2009 fares which, it seems, every other VIVA rapid. In mid January I called YRT customer service to alert them that whoever had done the changing of the fare and route posters obvsiouly missed one. The reply from the customer service agent was that YRT/VIVA was aware of the problem and there was an issue of the hardware preventing them from changing it. At that point I was happy figuring that some handyman contractor with YRT would have the problem fixed in the next two weeks.

However, last Sunday I had had enough. I walked down and snapped a photo of the poster, did a little research on false advertising (i.e. displaying a lower price and charging a higher price for the same showing 2008 fares and charging the higher 2009 fares), and sent an e-mail to YRT at with the photo attached:


Dear Sir/Madam:

Back in the middle of January I called YRT/VIVA customer service about the the Golf Links Southbound VIVA Blue Stop (Stop #9801) found here. At the time I mentioned the fares poster still hadn't been changed when the other VIVA stops were changed to reflect the increase in fares that began January 1st 2009. The response was that YRT was aware of the issue and there was "a hardware issue."

I've since taken a look at the poster in question (see attached photo taken Sunday February 22, 2009) and am not seeing what the issue is. The frame of the fixture holding the YRT/VIVA fare information poster is screwed in with regular Philips screws that are the exact same style of screws on the frame holding the updated poster at the Northbound VIVA Blue Golf Links Drive station (Stop #9800) accross the street.

It is now coming up on sixty days since the fare increase and this poster is still up and visible to the public. The poster causes confusion with possible riders approaching the stop as it obviously presents incorrect information to them. The poster presents misleading advertising on behalf of YRT/VIVA in terms of presenting false fare information to riders as this poster does advertise the false fare information to passers by. Misleading adverstising is against federal law under the Competition Act (as found here) as it states:

Misleading advertising occurs when a representation related to a product or service is materially false or misleading in order to persuade the consumer to buy it.

Double ticketing (charging the higher of two prices) occurs when a seller represents two or more prices on a product or service and the consumer is not charged the lowest price.

Both of the above apply to this particular poster as YRT/VIVA:

a) Presented its product a falsly advertised cheaper fare in hopes the consumer (i.e. rider) may by it.

b) The seller (i.e. YRT/VIVA) advertised two prices (i.e. one on the poster in the picture attached and a higher fare in the YRT/VIVA map or on the website and the consumer (i.e. the rider) is not charged the lowest price (i.e. the posted price on the poster attached to this e-mail).

Thus the poster could possibly be in contravention of the law.

Further, with January 2009 fare increase, it is the third such increase in three years that YRT/VIVA has implemented. Thus, obviously, YRT/VIVA has been successful at changing this particular location at least two times in the past three years to reflect the fare increases. Therefore, this station was able to changed in the past and thus should be able to changed to reflect this year's fare increases or the display fixture repaired to show the correct poster.

If this location cannot be changed due to further "hardware issues" I would like at least for the poster to be removed and front panel to removed for repair or replacement. If this request is not able, I would like a full written response as to why this is this case.

Thanks for your attention to this matter and await for a response on this obviously pressing issue.

Michael Suddard


A few days later I received the following reply from the same person from YRT Customer Service who mishandled this issue for me:

Dear Mr. Suddard,

Thank you for your email.

Your concern has been forwarded to our Marketing department for review. We appreciate you taking the time to notify us of this problem.

We value your continued support of YRT/Viva. Your ticket reference number is T-50037. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further assistance with this matter.
Sincere Regards,

Rhonda DeBaeremaeker
Customer Service Coordinator
York Region Transit (YRT)
50 High Tech Road, 5th Floor
Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 4N7
Tel: (905) 762-2100
Toll Free: 1-866-668-3978
Fax: (905) 762-2113

To provide quality public transit services which support the economic vitality,
environmental sustainability, and health of the Regional community


So to say the least I wasn't to hopeful that YRT/VIVA would actually get around to it considering they were "already aware" of the problem from my January 2009 phone call. But at least Rhonda promised to forward the issue to YRT "Marketing Department" (i.e. the department responsible for the waste of taxpayers dollars on side of the road VIVA advertising banners instead of using same said money to ensure VIVA service actually operated on time and intersected with YRT local service for decent connection times...but I digress).

I was foaming at the mouth now over the possibility that a week after sending the e-mail nothing happening. I was excited to find an issue that "The Fixer" of the Toronto Star could take up with YRT/VIVA.

However, I was even more impressed that I turned out to be "The Fixer" as I noticed on Tuesday of this past week the offending poster had been removed and a new one put in place. Sometimes taking a second attempt does work out after the first one fails.

But I can't help wonder if YRT/VIVA only acts to customer inquiries or complaints if there is a picture involved. In the above case YRT/VIVA only acted once an e-mail was sent with the above picture attached. Also, in 2007, I sent an e-mail to a YRT Transit Inspector with an attached picture about a driver smoking at Finch Station that was acted upon. Coincidence? I wonder. But then again pictures do say a thousand words.

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