30 Apr 2015

Saudi National Day at the Burger King

Author: Shah M. Siddiqui

The 84 National Day on September 23 was celebrated with much festivities & pride in the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This was also the time when Burger King decided to have free burgers for the entire week as a good faith gesture in solidarity with the national spirit. The announcement was made in the Riyadh Newspaper with a picture of the Chicken Burger as a freebee between the hours of 1 & 5 pm and as I recall without much fine prints. With B K memories from the past but certainly against my better judgment, I decided to take a detour after picking up the kids from the School and drive through for a bite of the whopper and not to mention taking on the additional risk of mingling with the Riyadh traffic. The moment of truth came without much anticipation and as expected to my surprise, the drive thru teller said to me in an obnoxious and hard to understand language “cash only’ he probably was meaning that for a free burger, go inside the store but in the most unprofessional tone and of course without manners or etiquettes’ of customer service. I said to the teller, anyway, how come this was not mentioned in the ad; uncomprehending to him & never mind that, I moved on and having found a spot to park, I dared to walk inside the restaurant with my three schoolers and then came the surprise next. As I walked in the store, the manager of the store seen enjoying the tasked, handling free burgers to a small line in the family section of the store, with a quick glance, he snapped his finger at me and pointed towards the single section. Again without formal communication, he was meaning that my place is in the singles section if I am for the free burger, again, in the most unprofessional manner and of course without manners or etiquettes’ of customer service. While there were men accompanied with their family in this side of the store and I believe, the manager had a point as they were paying for food. At this, being helpless with two of my kids running in the opposite, I came loud at him “are you crazy?” This was impolite for him and I had to walk to him to say: “Sir, are you the manager?” And to which he shot back “an Area Manager”. Reflexively, he wanted to know who am I? And my answer to his surprise was “your customer”. To this, he calmed down and at ease refused to give me his last name and further declined to give me the free burgers only to remind me of the newly added word to the Webster’s dictionary ‘McJob’ and that needed no further explanation. The one free burger that my older child had picked from the line was left back on the counter along a thank you. For all, I believe the whopper would taste the same but not the service and off course there would be minuscule beings out there.

The above is a glimpse of the service that the customers receive at the retail end. Call it bad, zero or no service and let alone guaranteed satisfaction and shamelessly without a doubt non-existent money back guarantee’. Most importantly, not sustainable as each and every one of us serves customers, whether we realize it or not. Two things come to mind, a disgruntled employee that may never have been recognized by the company & lack of training in the area of serving customers.   November’s new release at READ Academy is ‘Employee Recognition’.