Look at me, overachieving! I haven’t posted in months and now am going for 2 posts in 2 days. Unfortunately, this post isn’t a pleasant one and I wish I didn’t have to do it. But I feel compelled because what happened last night was disturbing, upsetting, and people need to know about it. Before I get started, I want to say that I spoke to the manager and I also looked at how to reach the owners with no luck. I would love to speak to the owners, so if anyone has direct contact info, please pass it on!! I also want to point out that I slept on the situation and didn’t immediate pull out the laptop to write an emotionally charged rant.
A few times a month, hubby and I will order take out from Sapporo Sushi. We love their quality of sushi and it is also close to our house. We have never had an issue. Last night, I wish I could say the same was true. I had just picked up the middle son from a party, so he went with me to get the carry-out that hubby had already ordered. It wasn’t ready, even after we had been waiting 15 mins. And that was unusual. I was about to ask the host, when he took a phone call. From what I could hear on my end, he indicated that the person who came in right before me had been given the wrong carry out order (mine!). They instructed him to come back and they would take care of it. Fine. Mistakes happen. I get that.
Life is full of mistakes. What is important is how those mistakes are handled. I walked up to the host to inquire about my food. He explained what had happened and then said, ‘but they are on their way back, so as soon as they get here you will have your food.’ I thought for a second and then said that I didn’t know that I wanted to take food that had left the restaurant and gone to someone else’s house. The host said they would inspect it and remake anything that needed to be remade. I sat down, consulted with hubby via text, and decided I wanted all new food. In fact, I was disturbed and disgusted that they even considered giving me food that had left their control. Honestly, it made me question all of their practices. Hello, Health Department! Luckily, when I let them know that I wanted all new food, they were completely agreeable.
The other customer came in, got his correct food and was told, by the host, that they had already reversed all of the charges on his credit card for his troubles and their mistake. In fact, the customer must have felt guilty because he turned and apologized for yelling at them so much over the phone (blaming a low blood sugar issue). Meanwhile, I am still waiting, with a very sleepy, slightly grumpy 9 year old. However, hearing that they handled the situation the right way with the other wronged customer, I had the same expectations for my situation.
Finally, after we had been sitting there for 45 minutes (!!!), the host brought out our food and said “here ya go”. Like it was no big deal. Like we hadn’t been sitting there forever, waiting for them to correct their mistake. Like I hadn’t heard everything they said to the other wrong customer. I looked at him and said, “what about compensation?” We had a slight stare down, then he turned and called someone. He came back, ask for my card again and I was relieved that they were going to take care of us. We love Saporro. I didn’t want this one mistake to color our opinion of the restaurant. The host said okay, we will take 15% off your bill. Um. What? Maybe I didn’t hear you right. Did you say fifty percent? Oh. No. You said fifteen percent? Dude – you realize that is just like pouring salt into my wounds. 15% not enough for someone who has been patiently and respectfully waiting with her 9 year old, who is so tired, he has put his head down on the table, for 45 minutes for you all to fix YOUR mistake. And if that isn’t enough, the person who was affected just the same as I was, got his entire meal free of charge.
What the fuck?! What was different about the two situations?! He yelled and must have come unglued. I remained respectful and calm. He had to bring his food back. I waited, with child in tow, for 45mins for my food. He was a man. I am, obviously, not.
At this point, I’ll admit that my fiery redhead temper started to show. I could feel my blood pressure rising and my chest and cheeks getting red. The store was full. I could have made a big stink and called a lot of attention to the situation (hello…they wanted me to take old food!), but I also knew that my son was watching how I handled the situation. I wanted to be an example to him on how to handle conflict. I wanted to show him that things can been worked out without having to yell and scream and bully someone into doing what you want them to do. I wanted him to see that restaurants respect and value their loyal costumers whom they depend on. I wanted him to see that if you make a mistake, you own up to it and fix it at your cost – you don’t try to cover it up or pass it onto someone else. And I wanted him to see that men and women are treated equally.
Unfortunately, my son learned none of those lessons last night. After the host refused to change his 15% offer, saying it was the best he could do, I challenged him (in a calm voice, no yelling involved) on how the other customer received his entire order free of charge. The host said that customer had talked to the manager. I said okay, where is the manager? I was told the manager wasn’t actually there, and that the host would call her and then I could talk to her. He made it clear that he was not going to talk to her about the situation. Whatever. She apologized for the issues and offered the same 15%. I calmly told her what was going on and she got defensive and said that they would never expect me to take the original food. I told her that was what the host suggested, but I moved on. I asked her about the other customer who got his entire order taken care of. She said that he had to bring it back in, like me waiting there with my son for 45 mins was no big deal. I explained that we were loyal customers and just wanted to have this situation fixed. I would have been happy with a gift card for our next visit. I would have been happy with 50% off. I would have been happy with a true apology.
I got none of that. Finally, I said to her that they were about to lose our business for good and that I would be very vocal about it, telling my friends on social media, at Eater Louisville, on Louisville Hotbytes, etc. She then said, “Go ahead, tell your friends.” I promptly hung up, grabbed the food, and my son’s hand and walked out for the last time.
I am disappointed and disgusted (on so many levels) at the treatment I received. Eating out is a luxury and it is expensive. Why places think they can treat people so poorly and still get their business is beyond me. For sushi, I guess we will be hitting up Oishii Sushi and Dragon King’s Daughter. We love them both, although they are slightly further away. Now that distance doesn’t seem like anything.
In contrast to this occurrence, just a few weeks ago, I had one of the best customer services experiences ever. I was at Stevens & Stevens Deli, a place I go to once a month or so. When I walk in, they all know me and are friendly. They ask how my kids are – even more specifically to see how my youngest likes Kindergarten. I love walking in that place!! Well, that day, their credit card processing was messed on up their computers. They couldn’t get it to work when I was trying to pay. I felt bad, because I had no cash on me. The manager said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You can pay for it next time.’ Wow. Now that is full service customer service. Kudos to Stevens & Stevens for winning at being awesome!
What do I want to happen from all of this? I am not sure. I feel like maybe things could be smoothed over if Sapporo reached out to us. Maybe. But, honestly, I want this story to be spread around. After reading some reviews on Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc, it is obvious that others have had bad customer services experiences there also (don’t worry – my review will be going up soon!). So, let’s make it known to Saporro that we don’t like it and our money won’t be going to them anymore. Share this story with your friends. Think twice before going there next time. Make them change. And I just hope that what my son learns from this isn’t that it’s okay to defer responsibly for your mistakes, that you don’t have to treat people with respect, and that loyalty means nothing. Maybe he will see that often times actions speak louder than words. Sayonara, Sapporo.