For weeks, I had been looking forward to hanging out with my sister and friends. The opportunity came when we could all get away from our busy schedule on a certain Tuesday. I had the use of the car so the plan was to pick up my friend on the way and the other friend would meet us at the chosen location.
The Tuesday arrived and I was really excited because it had been a long time I hung out with these particular friends. My sister and I got dressed then we set out. We picked Ore on the way and met Eniola at the location. We were all really excited to be together. The previous day we had decided we were going to see a certain movie so went straight to the ticket box and got our tickets. Thereafter, we headed for popcorn and drinks and straight to our anticipated movie. Unfortunately, the movie was not what we thought it was. Half the time, my sister and I were screaming while our friends, Ore and Eniola were laughing. I think what really got them laughing was the fact that every time we screamed, our hands went over our faces…LOL. I could say we did not really watch the movie. It was a relief when the movie came to an end and we could finally get out of the cinema.
Moving out of the cinema, we got into a review about the movie we had just seen and we knew if we had to choose all over again we definitely would not pick that movie. It felt almost like a complete waste of time. We consoled ourselves by saying at least we spent some time together *if you consider the screaming we did half the time…LOL*. We decided to have lunch after the movie thinking that would be a good way to clear our heads of any memory of the movie so we all voted to have pizza; different types of pizza and ice cream. With the notion in our heads that pizza was really filling, we all agreed not to get any other thing. We made our orders and continued chatting while the pizza was being prepared. Pizza got ready and we headed for the house.
On getting home famished, we got out the necessary tools needed for the clearance of the work we were about to begin. We gathered round the table; Eniola said the blessing and then we opened the pack of pizza. What we saw was an absolute shock of something that looked like flat cracker *that was supposed to be the crust* and some sprinkled toppings! We were all close to tears. First, it was the movie now the pizza and to crown it, the ice cream we bought had become virtually fluid. I must confess, it was a rather frustrating evening. Ore and Eniola said, ‘Well! Our money can’t waste o. Let us eat it like that’. So with heavy hearts, we consumed *I was ‘pained’ with every bite*.When we were done, chai! See hunger nau. We kept saying, ‘and there was burger there o, we didn’t buy. What kind of waste of money is this one sef’. I then said, ‘I need to see the manger of the pizza place. What kind of nonsense pizza is this one’ because I had ordered pizza from them on several occasions and I never had an experience like this. Since we were home already and didn’t really feel like going out, we decided to call another place that made pizza and we were sure would be better than the ‘rubbish’ we just had but to our dismay, we were told that our location was not listed as part of the areas they could make deliveries to. That got me really furious! I was hungry and unhappy *bad combo…LOL*. That was the moment we decided we will go back to the location to get the burgers we should have gotten in the first place.
Eniola drove this time since I was still going on and on about having a word with the manager of the pizza place. I was lamenting about how we would not have been making this trip again especially at a time like that *peak of traffic*. We got to the location and I kept telling Ore I was going to have a word with the manager of the pizza place. He just kept laughing because I was not dropping the subject. We got in and made our orders at the burger place. While we were waiting for our order, Eniola said ‘let’s find out who the manager of the pizza place is’ and I said, ‘yes! Let’s’. Lo and behold, the first person we saw wearing the staff outfit of the pizza place to ask for the manager was indeed ‘the manager’. Our conversation went thus,
Eniola: ‘Good evening. May we speak to the Manager of this place?’
Uhunoma: ‘Yes please. We would like to have a word with the Manager.’
Manager: ‘Good evening. I am the Manager.’
Eniola: ‘Perfect! So you are the Manager. My name is Eniola and this is my friend Uhunoma’
Manager: ‘My name is Emmanuel. How may I help you?’
Eniola: ‘Well sir. You said your name is Emmanuel right?! May I call you Emmanuel?’
Manager: ‘Yes you may.’
Eniola: ‘We were here just a few hours ago to order pizza and we are not happy with the pizza we got’
Uhunoma: ‘Eniola, sorry let me come in here. Mr Emmanuel, I was really really disappointed with the pizza we bought here today and I have decided I am not going to come here to buy pizza again’
Manager: ‘Ma, what exactly was wrong with the pizza?’
Uhunoma: ‘The crust was as flat as cracker biscuit. It was the worst pizza I have ever had. The most disappointing part is that I am the one that encouraged our group to buy pizza since I have ordered from here a number of times’
I was patiently waiting to see how the manager was going to react to the crisis at hand.
Manager: ‘Well, sir and ma do you have the pizza here?’
Uhunoma and Eniola: ‘No!’
Manager: ‘Did you take a picture of the pizza?’
By this time, all four of us were wondering where he was headed with his questions. You should have seen his face *an expression reflecting a waste of time*.
Eniola: ‘Seriously?! We should have taken a picture of the pizza. We are here telling you that the pizza was a disappointment! Do you think sir that in the moment of our disappointment, taking a picture of the disappointment would be our first option or any option?! Seriously?!’
By this time, fury had returned to my camp. My sister and Ore began to laugh because the man was displaying some level of insensitivity towards his consumers.
Manager: ‘See sir, how would I know what you are talking about when you did not come back with the pizza or take a picture of the pizza. We have had incidences of consumers that have come back with their pizzas when they have complaints and we have had other people take pictures of the pizzas. Did you open your pizza when your order was given to you? You should have done that! ‘
Uhunoma: ‘I would take the blame of cross checking the pizza before we left your place but what you are now implying is that every time I come here to buy pizza I should never trust what has been given to me. Settled! But what happens in the case of ordering via the telephone and it has to be delivered to me at home? Do I also tell the dispatch rider I cannot pay for a product I cannot trust? That aside, your pizza was a disappointment. Permit me to say this: your pizza was ‘crap!’ I find it very infuriating that I come here to give you feedback about your pizza and you say such nonsense to me. I consider feedback to be a sense of responsibility to help an organisation. I do not really care at this point if you wish to replace the pizza that was ‘crap’ because I am not even going to patronize this place again. Sir you do realise that recently a competitor just emerged in your line of business which I understand to a certain extent is far better than yours so I could decide to change places. I only came here because I chose to and I do not appreciate the way you treat me as a consumer.’
Manager: ‘Ehn! I was just saying that we have had cases where consumers have complained in the past and did something about it. Next time please come back with the pizza or take a picture. Better still, check your order before you leave. Our pizza is not always like that. I know we have competitors and it does not matter. Anyone that likes would come here and if they do not feel like coming ehn, they will go somewhere else nau. Abi!’
At that point, all of us had had it. The man was obviously not a manager material. He was not taking notes of our complaints neither did he try to find out if other orders were turning out like that. Eniola had to continue the conversation because I was seriously pissed at his nonchalant attitude. Chai!!!
Eniola: ‘Guy! So you mean to tell me that it doesn’t matter if you have competitors! You are really something! We come here to make a complaint and this is all you have to say?! Sir, are you sure you are the manager because I seriously doubt this at this point!’
Uhunoma: ‘Do you realise that we had to drive back to get something else to eat since your pizza was a disappointment! At first, I said I was not going to say anything to the manager but then I said to myself to put myself in the shoes of the owner of the place thinking I would love to get a feedback about my products. It is sad to realise that the person who has been placed in charge of monitoring this place does not really care about the business and worst of all, does not know how to talk to customers. I repeat, I am not returning to this place to do business again and I am definitely not going to encourage anyone I know to come patronize this place since the manager does not care!’
The last part of my speech finally got his attention when he realised I was indeed capable of redirecting people to other pizza places. His attitude changed towards us; to think that the person that was putting up an air of nonchalance suddenly became apologetic.
Manager: ‘Ma, I am really sorry you had to drive all the way back. Please can we get you another pizza on the house. I would personally see to the supervision of this pizza. Next time ma, just ask for me. Don’t take our business away ma. Please o!’
Uhunoma: ‘Firstly, I would like to tell you I hold nothing against you. Once I speak my mind, I am done with the business. I was just trying to contribute my quota as a consumer to give a constructive feedback. Secondly, I am no longer interested in having pizza whether on the house or not! I have had enough pizza for the day. Thirdly, you can see my burger order is ready. Please excuse me and have a lovely day!
Manager: ‘Please don’t be angry ma. Sorry you had to drive all the way back. Have a lovely day ma. Come back again ma o! ‘
Eniola: ‘Good day!’
My sister: ‘Good day!’
Ore: ‘Have a lovely evening’.
We collected our burger order and left the place with the manager still trying to reverse his initial actions.
As a manager in a place, learn to operate the business as if it were your own personal business. Understand that it is your responsibility to see to the needs of your customers as best as you can and when you have complaints or feedback from your customers, see it as an avenue to improve your managerial skills and the business as a whole.
Food for thought: learn to do it right the first time!