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Manager vs Administrator

It could only happen to me, whether it was a widow brain moment, lack of attention or something else, I’ll never know…

My shopping hadn’t arrived and I had nothing in, so why not treat myself to a McDonalds breakfast? I opened the App, ordered my Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin and set off to the nearest McD’s.

I let out a small sigh seeing the long queue for the drive through when I arrived at 10:45am and the queue was moving slowly, I wondered if I’d be sinking my teeth into that juicy sausage which is calling to me from the next window…

Hurrah! I arrived at the order point at 10:57am and confirmed my App Code before the payment window, where the young lady waved me on as food was pre-paid, and asked me to go to the collection window. This is a frictionless transaction, smooth, simple, what could possibly go wrong?

It was at the carpark I realised I’d missed the collection window completely and forgot to collect my food 🤦🏼‍♂️, I mean what are the odds of that exceptional condition happening? Someone pays for food at a drive-thru and doesn’t collect?!?

I looked at the queue inside the store vs the queue for the Drive-thru which was moving quicker since breakfast is over… I decided to rejoin the drive-thru, spoke to the person at the collection point and explained my level of stupid, she laughed and said a manager would sort it out, don’t worry!

At the food collection point, the server looked confused to start with as I explained what had happened. She said oh you’re the one! Your food was just here, but since it’s now gone 11am I’m not allowed to give it to you.

Have you ever seen the movie Falling Down? The breakfast scene?

I asked for the manager, (where my very conscious bias immediately thought surely they should be accompanied by a parent or guardian) someone appeared and identified themselves as the manager and proceeded to explain the 11am rule.

I calmly explained that as I had paid for the goods, they had accepted the transaction and issued a receipt they were indeed obliged to provide what I had paid for. They of course stuck to their story by saying that since the system hadn’t “Triggered” my food had not been prepared…🤔

Realising I’m not getting anywhere, I asked for a full refund, to which, surprisingly I was refused also, on the basis that the computer would not have triggered my order and that it would reverse itself within a couple of days. I showed them my receipt and the credit card transaction that just appeared when payment was taken (Don’t you just love today’s Fintech?).

I asked for something in writing to prove that I hadn’t received my food, which I’d paid for, the young manager explained they couldn’t do that, nor were they prepared to give me their name because of “GDPR“, oh boy did they pick the wrong person to have that discussion with.

Feeling miffed, I explained that I would be getting my food or refund, and happy to wait at the collection window holding the rest of the order line up whilst they decide what to do.

The “Manager” walked off and sent another colleague (Assistant Manager) who explained the same, but also explained that because I hadn’t collected the food I’d paid for, it had been thrown in the bin. I asked how often does someone pay for goods at a drive-thru and not collect?… Why waste food?

Anyhoo… Long story short… Assistant manager eventually gave me a scrap of paper with the store’s details on it, thus started the long process of getting him to write they owed me a refund etc etc. then finally asking him what the truth was…

  • Server said it was behind the counter but not allowed to give it to me since it was after 11am.
  • Manager claimed the order would not have been made because the system didn’t “Trigger” and a refund would be automatic.
  • Assistant Manager claimed the order was indeed made, but he had thrown it in the bin.

Let’s face it, I wouldn’t have been in this situation if I’d paid attention in the first place, and this is known as an operational exception.

The incident demonstrated that today’s “Managers” are simply administrators, they follow rules rigidly and without deviation, and to be fair to them both, they were confident enough to stand their ground. However when an operational exception occurs, neither had common sense to be able to identify the exception, make a decision or handle it well. A true manager would have the confidence to be able to apply a pragmatic and common sense approach to the problem and be consistent when providing information back to the customer. They also wouldn’t be hiding behind a misinterpretation of GDPR to provide their name.

Team work is key, in a live operational environment, information moves quickly and the key is good communication, knowing the facts before decisions are made are key. It was apparent that neither managers had listened to the information provided by their team members or the customer and hence they provide different versions of truth (neither were untruthful, they just assumed different facts rather than communicate between themselves which causes more frustration to a hungry customer).

My card was of course debited and I had to travel back to the store a few days later to get my refund which they were able to do without apology.

Of course I tried to contact the store, McDonalds Customer HelpLine etc, none of which have answered my query and the phone lines are unavailable due to Covid.

The moral of the story is, pay attention at the drive through and remember to collect your food before you confuse the inmates…

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