Monday, November 9, 2009

Strictly Go Away Pizza

I'm always amazed when some business is willing to sacrifice a long-term relationship with a customer for some small, short-term perceived benefit. Like... saving a few measly bucks.

Case in point: I once ordered a pizza from Strictly To Go Pizza on North Main in Walnut Creek. This is one of those take-and-bake places. I ordered by telephone, then drove over and paid for my pizza. When I got home, I realized they had given me the wrong pie. I typically order something really stinky and good, like garlic and anchovies, or red onion and sausage. This was a "Hawaiian Style" pizza with ham and pineapples. I like those fine, but it's not what I ordered. No problem. Everybody makes mistakes.

So I drove back to Strictly To Go and explained the error. Here's where the fun starts. The woman behind the counter actually laughed and said, "We're not taking that back. You paid for it."

I admit, I was not prepared for this. How could they have any reaction other than, "Gee, I'm sorry we gave you the wrong pie. Let me whip up the pizza you ordered. It'll take 5 minutes."?

After a moment of stunned silence, I came back with, "Wait. You gave me the wrong pizza. I didn't order this."

Another self-satisfied snort. "How do I know?"

Imagine a cartoon thermometer appearing in thin air next to my head, with the red indicator slowly rising. "How do you know what? Do you think I'm lying?"

"I don't know. But we're not taking that pizza back. You paid for it."

"Are you kidding? You gave me the wrong pizza. You should replace it."

"No way. That's your pizza."

"Are you the manager?"


"Awesome. So you're not going to make this right. Do you realize that I'll never come back here, and none of my friends will ever come back here?"

"Heh, I don't care."

"Wow, OK."

And I turned and left, leaving the large, half-baked Hawaiian sitting on the counter.

Of course I wrote a letter of complaint and mailed to the business address. I never got any reply. And of course, I never went back there, and neither have any of my friends. That was about nine years ago. How much pizza is that?

Consider how much it costs that business to find a new customer. And then think about how little real money was saved by refusing to correct their mistake. I'd say about $3, maybe less.

Doesn't anybody do math anymore?

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