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TGI Fridays / general manager forced me to leave instead of resolving complaint

Review updated:

Here is the letter that I sent to their corporate office:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing about a terrible experience I had at the TGI Fridays located inside Honey Creek Mall in Terre Haute, IN on July 3, 2010, around 7:00 PM. A manager identifying himself as Todd Sackett, the general manager, forced me to leave the restaurant instead of resolving my complaint.

Five friends and I visited your restaurant to celebrate a birthday. After we were seated in the wrong area and moved to the location that was actually set up for us, we ordered some alcoholic beverages and placed our meal orders.

I had ordered the parmesan crusted chicken, but the server brought out a chicken and shrimp dish. I told the server that my order was incorrect and indicated that the chicken and shrimp would be acceptable; however, the server returned the incorrect meal to the kitchen. I assumed that she had just grabbed the wrong order and would be right back. I was wrong.

When the server had returned to check on us, I told her to cancel my order because my friends were now finished eating. She offered to provide the meal at no charge; however, I would not have had time to eat or store the food, so I declined.

When I received my bill, I asked to speak to the manager to see if he would refund my drink purchases to make up for the poor service. Mr. Sackett arrived and explained that they had already offered to provide my meal for free and that he had to throw away my food because I had refused to accept his offer. I explained that I would not have been able to eat the meal as my friends had already finished eating and we needed to leave.

Mr. Sackett told me that he could not buy my drinks and did not offer any other specific remedies to my complaint. I informed him that I would be contacting his supervisor. He provided me with his business card with a hand-written name and phone number on the back (enclosed) and then left.

As we were paying our bills, we noticed that we had been overcharged for some of our drinks. Although the description of the drink on the receipt had the correct price in it, the actual extended price for the drink was too expensive. The server apologized and corrected the error. I have enclosed the corrected receipt showing that an allowance was added at the bottom to correct the price; however, the original misleading line item is still visible at the top.

I then asked to speak to Mr. Sackett again. I had to wait a long time before I could speak to him. When he was finally available, I informed him that in addition to being forced to sit and watch my friends eat their dinner, we had been overcharged for our drinks.
He replied that we had not been overcharged. I responded that had we not caught the error, which could have been easily overlooked, we would have paid too much money for our drinks. I reminded him that I would be contacting his supervisor about my experience.

In response, Mr. Sackett sighed deeply and told me that he did not care WHAT [sic] I told his supervisor. He reiterated that he had already thrown away my food and told me to contact my state representative.

I replied that he could offer me a discount or a gift card/voucher against a future purchase instead of buying my drinks. In front of my friends and the other patrons that were probably watching, he grimaced deeply and told me that he had had enough, that I had to leave, and gestured towards the exit, as if I had done something wrong. I was humiliated.

While I was understandably upset with the service I had received and the handling of the situation by Mr. Sackett, I did not use inappropriate language or speak disrespectfully to Mr. Sackett or any of the staff.

Though my friends and I will certainly never visit your restaurant again, it is my hope that you will forward this letter to the appropriate executive(s) and the franchise owner so that future customers do not have to go through what I did. As a matter of public interest, I have posted this letter online so that others will know what to expect should they visit your Terre Haute TGI Fridays restaurant.

Ji
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Comments

  • Wh
      Jul 07, 2010

    While I agree with jw3, I suggest checking on Google to see if you can find TGIF's contact list for higher ups. Consumerist.com would be a good place to start - they have contact info for many companies and their CEOs.

    Other than that - yea, it was a TGI Friday's. Not exactly a 5 Star chain, and when those types of places get busy it's easy for small mistakes to happen like that. Money responsibility falls to you for the overcharging and keeping an eye out, and yes, the manager did handle it a little poorly from the sounds of it. But at the same time - he doesn't have to give you anything technically.

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  • Ji
      Jul 07, 2010

    @WhoCaresAboutYou: Your insultful, disrespectful comment is completely unacceptable and I will not tolerate it.

    @jw3: Thank you for the information. I agree money responsibility falls on me, and you'll note that I caught the error. But, the combination of charging the wrong price and making the price hard to understand on the receipt is exceptional, and the public needs to be aware this has occurred so that they can watch for it if they choose to eat at this restaurant.

    As for small mistakes happening every now and then, of course they happen and I expect that. However, I think the string of mistakes that I encountered combined with the handling of my complaint by the manager are noteworthy, hence my post.

    Additionally, I completely understand that the manager was not obligated to do anything else. I think the fact that the manager chose not to do anything more than what he was obligated to do speaks volumes. For example, I'm not obligated to leave tips for good service. That doesn't mean it's not proper to do so, and I certainly do.

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  • Ji
      Jul 07, 2010

    @WhoCaresAboutYou: I apologize, I got your username and jw3's username reversed.

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  • Wh
      Jul 07, 2010

    It's ok.

    But like I said if you are looking to pursue the issue further, I'd suggest www.consumerist.com as a good starting point. They list a number of companies and their higher up's contact information. Other than that, the best way is to also get viral - get this type of complaint logged in numerous places and people will notice.

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  • Ji
      Jul 08, 2010

    @jw3: I have worked customer service myself. I understand the environment. They were not very busy - we got in after a very short wait. Additionally, I was not "calling a manager over every time the waitress made a mistake." I simply asked the server when I got the check if they would comp my drinks and then had to deal with the manager, once before finding the error and once after.

    I agree that they gave me a reasonable offer. Had my circumstances been different, I would have gladly accepted. However, I take issue because the manager refused to take into account that I had to leave with my friends and could not eat or store the food, and did not extend me an alternative offer. Additionally, I do not think my request was unreasonable - it is not my fault that they didn't bring my correct order on time, especially considering I offered to eat what they brought me, and there was no way for me to foresee that occurring.

    The manager forced me to leave when I offered reasonable alternatives to refunding my drinks. I do not believe his actions were as constrained as you do.

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  • Al
      Feb 22, 2011

    I just had a horrible experience at Fridays in Quakertown PA, after going there often with no problems. The cost of their wine increased apparently, but since there were no prices on the wine list, I didnt know it. I was charged $9.50 for a glass of wine (not even big glasses). I complained to the waitress that they should let customers know that prices increased by 1/3. She sent the beverage manager over. I told him that one would not expect a glass of wine at Fridays to cost more than at the Melt (a very pricey, exclusive restaurant in the area). He told me I was free to go to the Melt from now on. I said that managers are supposed to make sure the customer leaves happy with their experience and that I felt his answer was being rude. He then kicked me out! We were just paying our bills, and I said I would leave when my friends did. He threatened to call the police to have me removed forceably if I didnt leave that second. I told him to go ahead and call, since I did nothing wrong. Then he forgave my 3 friends their entire bill (over $50 worth) for their "inconvenience" and because they are "valued customers", instead of fixing the issue with me. If I were manager, I would have said "I understand how you feel, you do have a right to know that the drink prices went up. This one time I will charge you the old price, but next time you know the price is this." Or "I'll give you one of the drinks on the house, but next time you know." Such an easy issue to accommodate. But instead he was on some kind of power trip, accused me of being drunk (after 2 glasses of wine and food in my stomach? Please). And then tried to rectify it with my friends, probably because by that point he knew he had screwed up, but wasn't mature enough to admit he was wrong by accommodating me. I'll never go back to Fridays anywhere again, even though usually I have had great experiences there recently.
    And in the case of Jimmah, the manager of Fridays handled that completely wrong. It is ok to complain when something is wrong, unlike what some on here seem to think. And I had worked as a waitress for years, so I have been on both sides of this. Customer service is the lifeblood of any restaurant, and a good experience may draw 20 additional people, but a bad one spreads even faster and keeps away 100 potential customers. That manager should have lost his job for treating a customer so badly. The one that treated me so badly should too, but you can bet they won't.

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  • Me
      Aug 10, 2012

    I was an emplowee at tgi friday. on aug, 18 2012 . A server told me that he hate me, so I told him he was a punk. So I went on about my business. the next thing i know a manger took me into the office stating that someone had said i called a server a punk, but I have been having problems with server making slurs and disrespecting me. I response back to them and the general mangaer said can't respond back to them . so I got wrote up for standing my ground. Iam 56 years old, and he want me to bow down to these 19-30 years old kids.These people play around like little kids. when you say something to them they tell a manger, who always side with the servers. so I was fired for responding to someone who said that hate. I didn't know that he was gay.I should have known the way the servers be grabbing on each other, men grabing men and girls grabbing girls. When ask for corporate office number they get mad and ready fire anybody who talk to them.

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