Friday, August 18, 2006

All We Wanted Were Some Chicken Balls! (Post-Uni)

When you live in an apartment with 7 people and have a kitchen the approximate size of a walk-in closet, you get pretty familiar with the local delivery establishments. Especially in the wintertime, when we couldn't barbecue.

We ate all the junk that could get delivered to our door: pizza, KFC, Swiss Chalet, there was even this great little Italian place down the street that could whip up an awesome fusilli carbonara. It was good for three meals and only cost like $9.

But when you've got a bunch of starving guys who know they want something fast and good, but don't know exactly what, and can't agree on anything, Chinese food is the preferred option. There was this awesome place in the mall that served up great Chinese food (both traditional and "white man" Chinese), the only issue was that no one at the restaurant really spoke English, so ordering was always an adventure.

So we found a simple way to get the ordering done. Instead of trying anything fancy, we sacrificed a bit of selection for an easier order. This place did two different kinds of combo delivery meals: the "regular" (white man Chinese, with egg rolls, chicken balls, fried rice, you know...) and "spicy" (more traditional asian cuisine, hot and sour soup, lots of mushroom and veggie dishes, and yes, a bit spicier than normal).

So I call up the restaurant for a delivery.

"Hi, I'd like to order the combo for six, delivery."

"Combo for six?"




"Regular or spicy?"


"Regular or spicy?"


"Regular or spicy? Restaurant very loud..."




"Oh, ok, I got it."

"Are you sure? REH-GEW-LURR."

"Yeah, sure. Thank you!" *click*

"Uhhh, guys, I'll bet you $20 our order's fucked up."

I don't remember why we were so hungry, but we were all in agony waiting for that delivery. Needless to say, the delivery guy comes in, and we just throw the money at him and start diving in. Then we notice that we got the spicy combo, of course.

So I call the restaurant back.

"Hi, I'm calling back about an order for delivery, combo for six, regular."

"Yes? Everything ok?"

"Well, no, actually. We ordered the regular combo and got the spicy."

"Oh, so sorry. We make proper order right away."

"How long?"

"About 30 minutes."

"Ok, that'll do, I guess. Thank you."

"Thank you, and so sorry, bye!" *click*

"But...wait...what do we do with the rest of the food?...Dammit."

So, we're sitting and waiting. And the spicy stuff is smelling, well, spicy. And good. And we're all circling it like vultures. Then we start to rationalize...

"Do you think they're going to ask for the food back?"

"They could, I guess, but why would they?"

"What would they do with returned food?"

"That's true, maybe we can just have a little bit, and they won't notice..."

Well, a little turned into a lot. A half-hour came and passed, so we figured they forgot about us. So we kept eating. Fifty minutes later, the doorbell rings.


"Hi, I'm here with the replacement delivery, combo for six, regular."

"Hi, thanks a lot for coming."

"Ok, we take other combo back."


"Because you didn't order it."

"Ok...but why else? What are you going to do with it?"

"Don't know, but kitchen wants it back."

"Are you sure? It's all cold...and eaten."

"Oh...well, I don't want any trouble, and it was our mistake in the first place, so just give me back what you have left."

So, we kind of spread the remaining food around the containers to make them look more full. Meanwhile, the delivery guy calls the restaurant and starts speaking in Cantonese. He hangs up the phone and turns to us.

"Everything ok, just one big misunderstanding. I take back what you didn't eat. No problem."

"Wow, ok, thanks man. We're sorry, but you were late and we didn't think you were coming."

"No, it's ok. Just misunderstanding. Good night."

So, we thought we were home free, and we had ANOTHER six person combo for free, very useful for when we were going to be hungry again in an hour. All in all, a good night. We were even talking about how cool the delivery guy was.

Then, about half an hour later, the phone rings.


"Hello, this is XXXXXX restaurant. You owe us money?"


"You got two combos, only pay for one."

"That's because you screwed up our order."

"Yes, but you ate food anyway."

"That's because you were late with the replacement and *snicker* we were really hungry."

"Oh, you think this is big joke?"

"Actually, I do."

"You had to pay delivery man."

"He never asked for money."

"Well, I send him back, you pay for combo."

"No. This is really poor customer service, you know. You messed up our order, and you want us to pay for it? If I ordered a pizza and they screwed it up, we'd get another pizza free."


"Yes we would, it happens all the time."

"I call cops on you!"

"Yeah, you do that. Bye." *click*




"Whatever." *click*



"Oh, you in trouble now. I call cops."

"You know what, fine. Call the cops. Let them know what happened. That you screwed up our order, then we ate it anyway because of a misunderstanding, then you delivered the proper order, and asked for the other food back, and now you're harassing me over the phone. What good is that other food to you?"

"None of your business!"

"What were you going to do with it? Dump it back in the buffet? Go on, admit it, and I'll call health and safety on you, and you'll get shut down." (huge laughter and cheering from the guys in the background. I don't know how I kept a straight face through all this...come to think of it, I didn't.)

"That's it, you never eat here again!"

"Let me get this straight, you would refuse a paying customer if we called you back?"

"Yes. I hate you!"

"Ooooooh-kaaaaay. Look, we won't call you anymore, but you have to promise to take anger management classes or something, alright?"

(Unintelligible yelling and screaming.)

"I'm going to hang up the phone now...are we done?"


And with that, went our Chinese food dealer. But a week later, we found another one, even better. And we gave him all our business. And all our friend's business. And we talked everyone we could out of going to the other place.

Last time I went to that mall, our old Chinese place wasn't there anymore. Hardly surprising. Whatever business you're in, good customer service is a must. I'm not saying you can't hate your customers (they deserve your anger more often than not), but telling them about it isn't wise policy under any circumstances.


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