Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Jollibee French Fry Fiasco

Last weekend, Saturday, August 27, 2016, President Clark was in charge of training for a group of priesthood leaders from three districts in our mission.  That means about 70 men coming from half of the mission.  The meeting began at 8:30 a.m. and finished up about 11:30 a.m.  President Clark promised them a light lunch.  

Because we were traveling much last week, we decided to buy a small fast food meal to feed the attendees.  Jollibee, the Philippines answer to McDonalds,  was the convenient and cheap vendor of choice. We ordered the "Yum meal" (Y3) to be exact. This option had a burger, fries and soda.  Sister Clark took the Cabanatuan Zone Leaders on Friday to order the food so that there was no misunderstanding.  The request was to deliver 70 Y3 Yum meals by 11:30 a.m. the next day to the Stake Center across the street. One problem foreigners have here is that Filipinos feel shy to talk to us. So, when it's our turn to order, the counter employees will sometimes excuse themselves.  Sister Clark was finally able to get someone willing to talk with her.  The order was taken and down payment was paid. 

Next day, 11:30 a.m. and no Yum meals in sight.  Elder Whiting ran across the street to Jollibee's and they told him 15 more minutes were needed.  Finally the delivery man arrived on his motor.  The food was delivered, paid for and brought inside.  The attendees began to distribute and consume the food in earnest.  From across the room President Clark noticed few french fries were being enjoyed.  He realized that there were 70 burgers and 70 sodas but no fries in sight. No one else knew the fries were missing.  He was busy answering questions of the members so he thought he'd wait until later to inquire about the fries. It was confirmed that 70 bags of fries never made it to the Stake Center so he decided to seek a return of some money.  

President Clark walked across the street to the Jollibee with his receipt and food order in hand.  One of the members was with him so he helped communicate our grievance and request for money.  The Jollibee management quickly and kindly investigated our claim and  the delivery error was soon validated.  Surely the return of money would follow soon. But no. Discussing the concept of money back was absolutely foreign and not acceptable at all. No matter how President Clark or our helpful Filipino members explained, there was no way that reimbursement would be considered.  They were willing to give President 70 bags of fries right there.  Pretty much all of our priesthood leaders  were gone so that wasn't an option.  The manager told President that the only recourse Jollibee would offer was future delivery of french fries.  She promised that the next time he ordered 70 meals again at that Jollibee location, they would add fries to the meals.  Wait a minute, a meal would already come with fries.   A typed out statement was signed but not dated.  

So what are the odds that we can order 70 burgers and they will add 70 free fries?  What are the chances we will find that same "cooperative" manager to fulfill this promise? We will find out in maybe 3 months but let's just say, we won't hold our breath.  This wasn't President Clark's finest hour as a negotiator.  But when you wear the missionary badge of honor, winning a dispute over $60, caused by an honest error, isn't the highest priority.

Postscript:  Jollibee is in an expansion mode in the United States.  (They just opened their first store in Chicagoland).  One wonders how their customer service attitude and practices will work in the consumer driven U. S of A.  

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