Panera Bread 936 / poor customer service
I first discovered your bakery/cafe a few years ago when I lived in north haven, ct. I found the unique variety and high-quality very appealing. Since that first day I tried panera, I have been frequenting one of your stores several times a month. I am a single professional living alone. I hate to cook! So I eat out often.
I normally stop at north haven, ct, on my way home from work, or shelton, ct on my lunchbreak. Tonight I happened to be in hamden, ct so I stopped at your store there.
Let me also state that I am not only a working professional, but I also run a customer-service oriented business, which I have had for over ten years. I know how to take care of customers when they are upset.
With all that being said, here is what happened. I am fully accepting "blame" for leaving my wallet at home, along with my atm card, charge cards, you name it! Luckily a friend gave me $10, knowing that I have no food in my apartment and I need to eat something for dinner. I try to stay away from "fast food" so I thought panera would be a great choice, as it always is.
I ordered my sandwich (Turkey artichoke panini) and saw that I could get a bakery item for 99 cents additional. At that point the cashier (Stacey) stated that I need to order chips and a drink to get that special price on the cookie I wanted. Fine. I ordered a medium iced tea and got that small bag of chips. I decided that I wanted a holiday cookie for dessert.
Stacey rang up my order... And here is when it all turned ugly. My total for the sandwich, the drink and chips (That I didn't really even want but was forced to buy if I wanted the cookie for 99 cents) came to $10.31. I searched my pockets... No change. At this point I offer to go all the way back outside to my car to look for change, and I did so. I overhear stacey say "he has to go outside"..in a tone that seems like she is annoyed...
I was only able to find a couple of pennies in my car. Now I realize that I am short (29cents)... And I say as nicely as I could, that I am sorry that I am short the change. Stacey says "no problem". What does she do? She goes to get the manager. The manager puts in his key and the cookie is taken off my reciept. Taken off my receipt, taken out of my bag, and put back inside their case! Thats right, I was denied my cookie by the manager, and paid for my drink and chips that I didn't even want. Those were my "options".
Upon furthur thinking, I decided this just isn't right. I know I am short a few cents, but it is just not good customer service. I am very unhappy. So I go back and find the manager again. His name is don. I tell don how unhappy I am. I said that I didn't think it was right to take the cookie back since I was only short pocket change. He just listens to me, not saying anthing, which starts to make me even more upset. When I am done (And I am getting more and more animated at this point) he states, and I quote "we have certain standards".
I mean whaatttt did you just say? So now I am not up to your stores standards because I am short some cents? At that point I was so shocked that a) nothing was done to make me happy and b) the fact that the night manager said I wasn't up to the standards... That I jus becamore more and more upset. I said how I feel that is not good customer service, and that (Maybe I shouldn't have said what I said) I would tell everyone I know and deal with not to come to panera. I said it and I meant it and still mean it.
I would not waste my limited amount of free time to writing all of this over a cookie if it was just about a cookie. It is about how I was treated. Instead of making me happy by giving me a cookie (When I had to spend $ on stuff I didn't want to get the cookie) I was watched by everyone as I walked out to my car, and then denied it. Then I was told what I was told from the manager??? That just isn't right.
On my way out the door the second time, I go back to stacey and confirm that don is indeed the manager. I had to double check because I found it hard to believe that someone that would make that kind of decision would be in management. Anyways, to add insult to injury, stacey says under her breath "well you didn't have the money" when I was clearly upset at the lack of customer service provided by the manager. That just made me even more angry.
I hope that this email is taken seriously and that I am treated with the respect that I deserve. I wasn't treated right. There are many, many different meal choices on every block in every city and every town. I am perfectly fine and 100% willing to give up my panera that I love so much, if I am blown off by you (Whoever is reading and handling this) like I was by your staff in hamden ct.
I hope that I am seen as more than a customer who was short 29 cents. It is about more than that. Do you really want me to steam about this every time I think about panera? Do you really want me to tell the story of what happened to me every time im with a friend and we drive by a panera? Do you really want me to tell my customers the story when I am chit-chatting with them making small talk in between selling them products?
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