Really? This Is How You Treat Customers?

As a family, we have a tradition of eating out on Friday night. We mix it up in terms of where we go, and it’s always the night that our two boys look forward to the most. Sometimes, we’ll go to Bandera’s in Old Town Scottsdale because the boys love drinking Shirley Temples and eating the delicious grilled artichokes. Other times, it’s a little more “budget oriented”. We love the Four Peaks Brewery, La Piazza Al Forno in Gilbert, and the Blue Adobe in North Scottsdale.

However, last Friday, we succumbed to using a coupon from our Money Mailer. It was for Uncle Sam’s – a local pizza and sandwich place nearby that offered $10.00 off any bill over $35.00. That should have triggered our sense not to go there.

Our meal was uneventful at best. The waitress got my husband’s order wrong. Our food was so-so, and we left feeling like we ate mediocre quality food that was at least reasonably priced. But, little did we know what was going to happen.

We exited the restaurant and headed to our car which was parked literally in front of the entrance. As I buckled our older son into his car seat, my husband called to Judd who was lagging behind us. Before he could stop him, Judd reached down and placed his hand on a flood light that is illuminating the restaurant. Now, this floodlight is literally on the walkway of the restaurant. It’s not covered by shrubbery, and there was no protective covering for it.

What happened? Well, Judd instantly screamed, and we both rushed over to help him. His hand was hot to the touch, and he began to cry uncontrollably. My husband rushed into the restaurant to get some ice, and I comforted Judd and got him into his car seat.

By the time we arrived home (less than 5 minutes away), the palm of his hand was blistering. He continued to cry. The decision was quickly made that I needed to take him to the Emergency Room at Scottsdale Healthcare.

The staff at the hospital was quick and efficient, and they were able to take away his intense pain with a good dose of Vicodin. The doctor referred us to the  Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa County Hospital for follow up care the next day.

As the doctor explained, burns on the palm of the hand can be difficult to treat because scar tissue can form – resulting in long-term or even permanent lack of mobility.

The next morning, Judd was seen by the Burn Center, and he will now be bandaged for the next several weeks. The doctor there thinks he will probably be permanently scarred, but will not lose any function of his hand.

So, today, I phoned the restaurant to let them know what had happened. I left a message for the owner/manager of the three-restaurant chain. I received a call back at about 5pm from the owner. He started the conversation by asking “Why did you call me?” So, politely, I went into the story of what occured. He then said, “Yeah, well that’s too bad. Not much I can do about it, is there? You should teach your kid to not touch lights.

As I listened to his blasé tone and absolutely unsympathetic words, I thought to myself. He has a prime opportunity to provide good customer service or to stir up a hornets’ nest with this situation. He chose the latter, and obviously didn’t know he was talking to a blogger who has a penchant for exposing bad behavior. He could care less.

Well, we’ve now racked up thousands of dollars of medical bills because of this injury. And, the owner of the business didn’t even offer to reimburse us for our meal. He didn’t invite us back, and he never apologized for the situation. He even admitted that the light that my son had touched had recently been kicked by another patron, was wrapped in duct tape, and had exposed wiring. Hmmmm! I guess we were lucky he wasn’t also electrocuted.

So, I did my civic duty by telling this absolute jerk that he had a hazard at his restaurant, and all that I received in return was a rotten attitude and no desire to improve our customer experience. For now, I’ll be changing the bandages on my son’s hand several times a day for the next few weeks and hoping that he doesn’t have long-term consequences of this accident. But, trust me, I will make it my personal mission to let everyone I possibly know that Uncle Sam’s is a restaurant that should be avoided. Will I take legal action? Well, I don’t really know yet, but I’m pondering it, and if it would actually prevent someone else from being injured, I might just do so.

To reiterate, please avoid Uncle Sam’s on Shea and 90th in Scottsdale. If they have such blatant disregard for building safety issues at their restaurant, they probably are neglecting other important things such as food safety and/or sanitation.

I’ll be updating readers on what happens with this one. Hell Hath No Fury Like an Angry Mom!!!!!


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14 responses to “Really? This Is How You Treat Customers?

  1. val sutherland

    good for you for writting about this. Even a sympathic tone or word could have helped this situation. I hope you do look into legal action or perhaps a word in the right ear at one of the local t.v. stations?

    • Thanks Val. I’m literally going after Uncle Sam with this one. I sound like an angry Tea Partier instead of a pissed off mom with a bad restaurant experience.

  2. Roar! Have been contemplating going there with our clan, thanks for saving us the trouble!
    Hope something good comes of all this.

  3. Carolle

    Good for you.Hope Judd will be okay.Can you not call some city safety oranization to get this jerk to repati the light and make it safe?If you need help with that I have a daughter in law who could make his life

    • Thanks Carolle. I appreciate the support. I’m starting my social media campaign to let others know about this today. And, I’ve also called the City code enforcement team to take a peek at the light. Hmmmm, I smell a hefty fine and some bad PR in this guy’s future.

  4. OMG. What a horrible scenario. I don’t even live in AZ but I feel like sending this around for the viral WOM. Hope Judd is feeling better and Mom and Dad have recovered too. I hope that you have yelped about this incident and tweeted as well. I imagine you have but this creep will probably never even know until such time as his business suffers.

    • Thanks Adrian: I was up at 2am Yelping and Tweeting. I plan on telling as many people as I can about this story. With social media, it’s a lot more risky to be such a jerk. You never know who you might tick off – like a Mom who knows lots of people and likes to blog!

  5. Laurel Sherman

    Wow! That is crazy. You should call Channel 3 On Your Side and expose them to the media. Kevin eats there all the time for lunch. I think he will be spending a lot more time at Sprouts from now on!

  6. Anonymous

    While I think the attitude of the manager was horrible and he should have at least compensated you for the cost of your meal, I agree with his comments. There are dangers everywhere you go. Parents often blame others for their kids’ ignorance/stupidity and their own lack of awareness/attention to them. This is a perfect example of that. But I am very sorry this happened to your son.

    • HI Sheba: I appreciate your comment. I agree that parents have to be responsible. However, I also believe that businesses need to do their part in creating a safe environment. The fact that this light is faulty and not protected is the overriding issue. If it had been repaired after it had been kicked by the patron and placed in a safe location, this situation would have never occurred.

  7. twixy nicole

    I used to work for Uncle Sam’s in the early 2000’s and it was such a great place. I was surprised to see that people had become so unhappy with the service and food quality. As a former employee I can tell you that the response you got from the owner or his representative was completely typical. They are not ones to accept any responsiblity for your bad experience or try to mitigate it. Obviously it is clearly their responsibility to keep their facilities and equipment in good repair and it is doubtful that there was a good excuse for that light not being fixed immediately. I hope you did receive some compensation for this incident.

    • Nope, we never received anything from them. But, justice was served I guess. Uncle Sam’s closed down in that location, and a new restaurant “Portillo’s” was built. It’s super busy so far. I haven’t tried it, but clearly, there’s a lot more excitement about this new place than there ever was for ol’ Uncle Sam’s. Thanks for the comment!

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