Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Had a Bad Day

My son came home from school today and told me he had a bad day. 

He had to pull a card (code for: he was not behaving). I always tell him that as long as I hear it from him first (and not his teacher) we can talk about it and I promise not to lose my cool. "So, what happened?" I asked. "Well, Char Char was on the monkey bars and I kicked him." Uh-huh. Ok, so I'm not really sure how that explains my son having a bad day? Cause I'm thinking Char Char is the guy having the bad day. I asked if he apologized and he assured me he had. And then I asked him what we should do about it. "I think a piece of Maddie's birthday cake would make me feel better." Hmm. Not exactly where I was going, but, wow, ok. I guess it's all about Beck today. 

Unfortunately, he ate the last piece of cake the other day. Which made me think about my bad day last week...

I ordered an ice cream cake for my daughter's birthday party. You'd think it would be a relatively easy thing to do. And I'm sure it would be if you were dealing with somebody behind the counter who a) knows what they are talking about and b) cares. Apparently the person(s) I was dealing with (2 days prior to the party) didn't fall into either one of those categories. 

Here's what went down...

I walked into the store all smiles and lovely-like and asked the woman behind the counter about placing an order for an ice cream cake. And while she looked for the "paperwork" (her word, not mine) my kids and I enjoyed an ice cream snack. Twenty minutes later, the paperwork still had not been located. "Can't you just jot down what I want on a piece of paper?" I asked. Sorry, that's not allowed. There is an official document. So after a few more minutes of her rummaging through some papers, I told her I'd come back later. 

But what I did was go to another location of the same store. Where I was greeted (and I use that term loosely) by a woman behind the counter. Actually, I got nothing. Not a smile, not an acknowledgment that I was alive, not a word. Just a big ole stare. I inquired about ordering an ice cream cake to which she replied, "The cake decorator isn't here." Hmm. Ok. So, I gather only the cake decorator can actually take a cake order? Is that how it works? Seems a little odd, but who am I to reason why?

"When do you expect her?" I asked, again, in my loveliest of tones. Let me paint a visual for you: she is looking at me like I am speaking a foreign language AND like I am requesting something she's never heard of rather than a basic ice cream cake that her store sells every single day of the week. "Around 5". Okeedokee then, I'll scoot home and call her at 5:00 pm. Much obliged to you ma'am; it's been a pleasure. 

And that's what I did. I called her at 5:00. And the same lovely lady I dealt with in person answered the phone and informed me that the cake decorator was still not there. Ok, I'll call back in a few. And that's what I did. The next time I called back, another lovely "helper", who turned out to be the manager, informed me that you can't place cake orders over the phone.


So, let me get this straight...I can place an order for practically anything from shoes to cars to weapons of mass destruction over the phone, but I can't place an order for an ice cream cake? You've got to be kidding me? Nope. She wasn't kidding. And apparently it never occurred to the first lovely lady to tell me that tidbit. So, apparently cake ordering can only be done in person and only the cake decorator herself can take said order. On the official cake decorating stationery, mind you. 

Now at this point you'd think I'd be tempted to make my own damn cake and be done with it. But my daughter doesn't eat cake, only ice cream. And it was just going to make the whole blowing-out-of-the-candles-part-of-the-party that much easier if I had an ice cream cake. So I persevered. 

I proceeded to explain my frustration with her store's customer service, or lack thereof, when halfway through my story she says, "Ok, I'll take your order." Huh? That was easy enough. (Even though I envisioned the entire staff spitting in the ice cream cake, but that's neither here nor there.) So I proceeded to give her my order. But I didn't hear any paper shuffling in the background. And she never asked me to spell my name. And when I told her I would pick it up in 2 days at noon, she didn't say anything. And when I asked her how much it would be, she said, "They'll ring you up when you get here." Yeah, no kidding, Sherlock, I realize I'll be paying for the cake - I just want to know how much I can expect to pay?

I'll be honest with you, I had my doubts. So the next morning, I stopped in just to make sure that there was, in fact, an order for a polka dot birthday cake. A whole new crew "greeted" me behind the counter. I inquired about the order and, much to my surprise, there was indeed an order for a 9" round cake with cookies and cream ice cream and chocolate cake. And, yes, it was going to be decorated with polka dots on top. Imagine that. I felt silly checking up on the night manager. And the woman behind the counter did not make me feel any better about it. She acted like I was certifiably insane. Granted, I'm a little Type A, but it's not as if the folks I dealt with the night before gave me any reason to feel good about my order. 

"So do you want to place another order?" she asked. Nope. Just checking on this order. "Do you want to change the order?" she asked. Nope. Really, just checking to see if there really was an order. And she looked at me like I had 3 heads. And I'll be honest, I kind of felt like I had three heads. So I ordered a cup of coffee and a donut and was on my way. (can you guess the store, yet?)

The next day I go back to the store to pick up my cake and guess what? Yup, you got it - no cake. No cakes in the back, no cakes in the front freezer, no cakes on the premises. I don't see any of the familiar faces so I start to tell my story to a woman behind the counter who stops me mid-sentence and says, "Sorry, the cake decorator was sick." I looked around the store just to make sure that I was not on Candid Camera. But no, it was not a joke, there really wasn't a cake. And in 2 hours I was hosting a birthday party at my house. 

I realize that if this is my biggest problem, then I'm doing pretty well. (but actually it wasn't, this was the very day that I accidentally blew away my blog and I was fit to be tied. You wanna talk bad day....). I asked to speak to the manager who appeared minutes later with a face on to stop a clock and little to no sympathy for me, "Sorry. The cake decorator is sick." End of story. 

It never occurred to anybody to maybe call me and let me know that I should make other plans for a cake? I decided it was best to leave before I completely lost it. I got in the car and drove back to the other location (the one I started at two days ago) with hopes of picking up a cake in their freezer. Screw the polka dots and the Oreo Cookies 'n Cream flavor - I just needed a cake. But much to my surprise and delight there was a new "helper" behind the counter and guess what? She was the cake decorator! And when I told her my sob story, she promised to have the exact cake ready for pick up in 2 hours. And she did! 

So, yeah, my bad day wasn't a total disaster. But I'm telling you, I'm boycotting store #2. They are not going to have me to kick around anymore. And speaking of kicking, I need to go have that talk with Beck....


Anonymous said...

Loved your story.  And isn't that so often true?  Bad service = a bogus experience.  I just hate going to places where the service stinks, and I'll pay more for the places with nice, helpful people.But, I'm chuckling a little, because I'll bet the people on the second day, when you were "checking on your order" just threw it out.  They knew they wouldn't be working the next day, and wanted to "teach you a lesson".  I dare you to go back there on a day when one of them is there and just tell them what happened.  Then stare at them.  For a long time.  Maybe ask for a free cone.

Minishinger said...

It makes my blood pressure boil just reading your frustrating experiences with those nimwits!
I say you expose the name and address of this second store, and all your readers will promise to boycott this store and tell all of their friends to do likewise!

hendo said...

Justice demands full disclosure of store #2. Let the boycotts begin!

Mike's Universal said...

With all due respect to Char Char, I need to support my nephew on this one. The monkey bars can be tough turf and worth protecting.

Guiding Light said...

Mike's right. I support Beck on this one. Give the kid his cake. And if you don't advertise the name of the store in your blog and send them a link (or mail them a copy since they probably don't know how to use a computer) you're nuts! And make sure they know you've gone national.

Anonymous said...

guiding light would have had the entire staff of both stores s-canned by now. Pink slips a-flyin'.

Barb said...

Laurie, I am so glad I have you to make me laugh!
I don't even know if I ever got my daughter a cake on her last birthday. Being 17 now, she's too cool anyway!
Sometimes i am SOO glad I don't have young kids anymore!

Anonymous said...

I am rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes!
Hope the cake was a hit (not a punch or a kick)!