Monday, December 14, 2009

Retri-frigging-bution baby!

So profanity just isn't my thing. I'm not good at it, and it doesn't look good on me. Luckily, though, I have come up with an adequate substitute for swearing when I'm angry. At first I didn't even realize I did it, but one day a dear friend and roommate of mine heard me leaving a very distressed (to put it mildly) phone message. She laughed a little, and when I hung up she said "I love that when you get angry you start using really big words. It's like you become this high-powered lawyer/professor/Queen of England. Most people just say *#$@!, but not Cathlin. She busts out the four syllables." And I was all, Woah, I totally do that. Weird. This, of course, after I had calmed down and my vocabulary had shriveled down to my usual valley-girl-meets-nerd variety. Anyway, the point of this is, it totally works for me. And here is why:

You may remember a post or two ago I complained about some caterers who had contributed to what I now refer to as "Snot Rag Day" (again, the big words really only surface in the heat of the moment. Stop judging me.) I think now is a good time to give you the full story there, especially now that it has come to a much happier conclusion.

Ever heard of HoneyBaked Ham? Yeah, awesome. Me too. Did you know they do catering? Well, more specifically, they have an online ordering form for catering and a system to confirm your order by phone. That doesn't mean they actually deliver your food, though. I mean, come on, online ordering and a phone call from somebody so lazy/tired/high you can barely understand her really is enough. Why would you need actual food delivered too?

But yeah, I made that assumption too. I used the online order form, printed a receipt for my records, and did my darndest to understand and communicate clearly with whoever called me and murmured/slurred my order back to me to confirm it. Since I did this the Friday before the Tuesday meeting I figured it would all be just fine. So it was that I found myself blissfully daydreaming about honeybaked goodness during the first half of our five hour staff meeting, content in the illusion that it would arrive precisely at 11:30 to fill that conference room with something other than the stench of three hour old coffee. Ah, the innocence of youth! Oh, the pain of utter disillusionment.

11:45, no caterers. Cathlin is starting to get a little worried. I pull out my receipt and dial the number for the branch making our order. And so begins a fifteen minute game of bounce the call around. Plus they go ahead and make it extra interesting by giving me false information and then contradicting themselves about it. "Yeah the delivery company picked it up at 10:30, it should be there." Oh, ok. Thanks. None of my five senses are registering the presence of the deliverers or the food, but if you say it's here it must be here. Whew, so glad you cleared that up. "Oh, we have no record of your order." Dang. My eye sight sucks, cuz this sure looks like an official receipt in my hand. Also, I must be hearing voices because YOU JUST TOLD ME IT WAS PICKED UP FOR DELIVER AN HOUR AGO! "I'll call and find out where it is, I'm sure it's on it's way" Oh good, the imaginary food that you have no record of is on it's way! I'm so relieved by your competence that a bunny just farted a rainbow in my brain. "Ok, so we don't have your order. But if you'll tell me what you want we can have it there in about two hours." Awesome. Can you also jab me in the leg with a fork, because at this point that would be equally helpful. "Ok then, have a nice day" Is that idiot-speak for "I'm sorry I suck at life, how can I make it up to you?" cuz if I don't get an apology, something's gonna get broken.

Luckily there is an Au Bon Pain in our building, and three of us were able to grab enough ready-made sandwiches and soup bowls to stave of a herd or hungry, tired non-profit staff. It wasn't what we had expected to eat that day, but at least we got food. Also, Au Bon Pain gave us an unsolicited discount even though we totally cleaned them out of ready made sandwiches right before their busy lunch time. I love you Au Bon Pain. Let's get married.

The next day, feeling somewhat removed from the stress and after writing that cathartic blog post, I called the store again to find out exactly what happened. I explained my story no less than four times, in detail. Each time after I finished I was asked to hold. Then without telling me I would be transferred or even to whom I was talking, a new voice would pick up the line and say "Honeybaked Ham, how can I help you?" At this point, all the fuzzy warm thoughts of being nice to the poor incompetent people had withered away and my vocabulary was expanding like a maternity pants elastic on crack. (Where the fa-shizzle did that analogy come from, by the way?) Anywho, Cathlin had run out of patience by the time some unnamed woman admitted that they had my order on record but someone had forgotten to post it on the cork board so it never got put together. Just smacks of competence, doesn't it? You're totally on your way to order food from them online right now, aren't you? Plus, the cherry on this crap-cake? They didn't even offer an apology. Not one of the four people I spoke with even uttered the word "sorry". Customer service at its finest.

This, my friends, is why internet comment boards and review sites were created. And you know the best part? While rants containing four letter words and feces-analogies generally get you deleted or ignored, rants full of corporate lawyer/professor/Queen of England speak? They get you a call from HoneyBaked Ham corporate offices and 20 lbs of free Ham, some turkey, three loaves of artisan breads, two kinds of spread, three bricks of various cheeses, dijon mustard, a wooden cutting board, and a shiny new knife. Or in other words:

Reti-frigging-bution, baby!

Postscript: I do feel I should mention that while working with this particular branch was like poking myself in the eye with a cactus, HoneyBaked Ham corporate was incredibly nice and easy to work with. I've only ever dealt with them once, and I'm not in anyway advocating some sort of boycott mania of HoneyBaked. Actually, the free cutting board was kinda nice, so if anything I'd say go ahead and eat at their deli. Just maybe be wary of the catering option if you live in DC. Or, more specifically, don't use the Chevy Chase branch. That is all. Carry on.

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