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Panera Complaint - Nasty employee

Review by momsey on 2010-08-18
WEST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY -- My husband and I stopped in to Panera this morning after an appointment. There were two registers, with people standing at both. Apparently, only one register was open. We found out about that because one of the employees behind the counter says, "Why you standing here? This isn't open!" in the nastiest tone possible. I almost didn't believe what I heard. The two gentleman that had been standing there just meekly moved to the other line.

My husband said something to the effect of, "She's lucky she didn't say that to me." I asked the guy who had been first in line (and therefore who the comment was directed to) if he knew the employee. If he knew her, that could be the only possible explanation for the way she spoke to him. He mumbled something, and I believe he said he didn't know her.

My husband and I were so disgusted that we walked out. I said (thinking of my3cents.com) that we really should let a manager know what happened because otherwise, our walking out would be pointless. So once I got in the car, I called the store. I wish I had gotten the employee's name, but we walked out so fast we didn't think to. But I spoke to the manager, and he tried to determine who it was based on my description of the incident. He said he'd take care of it.

I still can't believe it!
Comments:21 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-08-19
Posted by FlShopper on 2010-08-18:
It's good you spoke to the manager about it. If there were only 2 cashiers present and one's lane was closed, it should be fairly easy to determine who the employee was.
Posted by MRM on 2010-08-18:
A polite employee would have said "sorry we're closed, we open at 8am." Its unfortunate that you have encountered a rude employee.
Posted by Skye on 2010-08-18:
That was very nasty and uncalled for. Whatever ever happened to people just being polite to one another, instead of going on the attack, especially an employee, who is a representative of the business. Glad you left.

It reminded me of an incident a few years back, when an employee at the deli counter in a grocery store, got so snotty to me, because I asked a certain type of Italian salami, that she never heard of. I looked up at her and told her to take her nasty attitude, and save it for herself. I know that really didn't make any sense what I said, but I also controlled myself, because in this town, everyone thinks New Yorker's are the nasty ones. Maybe they should look in the mirror once in awhile. I also just walked out, never to return. I understand everyone has a bad day, but why take it out on us, the customers?
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-08-18:
I'm glad I work somewhere where it's fairly obvious where to stand. I'll never understand folks who stand behind a register with no cashier. They do it because they don't want to stand in line and just assume it's open. You know what they say about assuming, it makes an "ass" outa "u" and "me". The customers had no right to stand there. I wouldn't have been as brash, and just told them, uh that line isn't open you have to get in the other line, but lets not forget that the customers are also at fault for standing in the wrong area.
Posted by shootingstar1284 on 2010-08-19:
I agree Ytropious... where I work it is also very obvious where to stand, although people insist on coming to lanes with no light on. I actually overheard a child tell their parent my lane wasn't open because I had turned off my light and the mother literally said "It's ok, we can come here. It doens't matter if her light is on or not."

This is a good review OP. I usually stand in the line and wait to be called over at Panera (the one I go to is really busy)but the way the cashier spoke to the customer was completely uncalled for. I'm glad you called the store and spoke to the manager. I think a lot of people are under the impression that just leaving is going to make a difference, but unless management knows about the situation, what can really be done? You've left little room for advice here, momsey.
Posted by momsey on 2010-08-19:
Sorry, Ytrop, I don't care where I'm standing. I could be mistaken and stand in the wrong area, but I'm not "at fault" for anything. I'm just mistaken and I need to be directed to where I should be. To see anything out of this situation where the customer was "at fault" is pretty appalling, especially when you apparently work in some sort of retail environment.

And, actually, the customer has every right to stand wherever he wants, as long as he's not being disruptive or expecting special treatment, or doing anything else he has "no right" to do. For all any of us knew, the guy was standing there because he wanted to get a better look at the menu before he ordered.
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-08-19:
Mistaken...at fault...tomato...to-mah-to

Point is, making a mistake is also being part at fault. Yes I work in retail, but did you happen to read the part where I said I wouldn't have been as brash, or did you just graze over that? As shooting star said, some customers just don't care and come into lines that are shutting down or don't exist for their own gain. That is indeed at fault. Sure, I have no idea what was going on in those customers heads, but neither do you.
Posted by skelly39 on 2010-08-19:
I can't even count the number of times I went to the operating register in a coffee place or gas station when NO ONE is manning the registers only to be told to move. So I disagree that it's obvious, and there is never any occasion that it's ok to speak to a customer like that. I know retail can be a pain and that customers can be jerks, but not every customer is, and it's sad that this is even a debatable point. The customer was not wrong, at fault or mistaken. The cashier was. End of story.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
Great answer, Skelly. The problem is that people that work in retail have become jaded against all customers by the very few customers that would intentionally stand in a closed lane, try to scam a store, etc.

You are right..it is never OK to be rude to a customer, not under any circumstances. People that understand customer service and have the skills to work with the public understand that. The public isn't "expected" to act in a professional manner, but we are. End of story.

Momsey, I would have walked too..and I hope you sent this off to Panera directly.
Posted by momsey on 2010-08-19:
I didn't graze over the part where you said you wouldn't be as brash. I read it and it came off like you wouldn't be as brash but maybe a little brash because you can't stand it when customers do that.

And as skelly said, and in the case in this particular store, it's not glaringly obvious what's an open register and what's not. There's no light above it like at the grocery store.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
The customer has the right? Says who? As Stew would say, show me where in the lawbook or statute that is clearly defines that. As consumers, somewhere along the line in life, we have become mislead into believing that our paying dollar entitles us to EVERYTHING. "I get what I want, when I want, can stand anywhere I wish, and anytime I wish"! Says who? Sure the dollar we spend dictates the business, but how much does that actually buy us? The right to be condescending jerks? Belligerant idiots that hold up the line, just because we think our "customer status" allows us that right? Sure, I'll be the first to admit that customer service has gone downhill over recent years. But maybe, just maybe, so has the customers attitude. Shouldn't we treat each other with the same amount of respect as we would want in return?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
I never said customers have the right to act however they want. What I said was those who work directly with the public do not have a right to act in the same manner. Again, there are no expectations placed on customers to be professional, polite and courteous...of course it would be great if they all were...but that expectation is definitely placed on employees. As it should be.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
j/c...I wasn't speaking about your comment. Nor anyone else's for that matter. It was more of a broad generalization that I've noticed lately.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
Once again JC you're spot on 100% right. All I can say is 'DITTO'.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
Sorry, Justice..that's what I get for assuming.
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-08-19:
No momsey, I did not mean that to sound like I would be any brash. I might be a customer hater online, but I'm a great faker in person. I show my customers respect, then vent about how much I hate things they do here ;)
Posted by momsey on 2010-08-19:
J4A, I'm totally with you on that in general. But no one was being a jerk in this situation except for the employee. She didn't even get any nastiness back to her, which she really deserved!
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-08-19:
Two wrongs don't make a right.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
You can't shake hands with a fist either...
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-19:
True but at the same the customer is always right so it would be impossible for the customer to be in the 'two wrongs don't make a right' equation.

True you can't shake hands with a fist but you can fist bump which is way cooler.
Posted by momsey on 2010-08-19:
Ay yi yi, Ytrop.

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