Monday, 21 April 2014

Life Experience: An Eye-Opener to Fast-food Consumers in the Philippines

A few weeks ago, I read an open letter containing a statement that questioned a policy of KFC regarding replacement of chicken parts. An employee stated "Kasi po policy namin yun na isang malaki na part at isang maliit na part ang iseserve namin." ("We have a policy that we serve a big chicken part with a small chicken part"). It says that the fast food company KFC stated that it's their policy every time a two piece chicken or a bucket meal is ordered, they place big chicken parts and very small chicken parts together i.e. a breast part and a small chicken wing in a two piece order or 3 big pieces with 3 tiny pieces in a bucket. An image that shows a very opposite advertisement. 

I didn't want to believe this because of all my years eating at any KFC branch, whenever I ask a replacement, they do it immediately, they replace it according to wishes, and they don't make a big freaking fuss about it. I even laughed at the open letter after reading it.

But, before ending a very peaceful Black Saturday, it happened to me, or rather, me with my family. 

This is how that evening happened:

We went in a KFC (the Malolos Branch) and sat at a long table. There were eight of us and we were all exhausted from a very enjoyable trip and wanted to end our day with all smiles. My mom and my aunt ordered a bucket meal and as a force of habit, they requested a bucket with no chicken wing parts.

A KFC Bucket Advertisement

The order arrived, we picked pieces and as the large pieces vanished, the tiny pieces started appearing and they were at the bottom of the bucket. The crew member didn't add wing part but she added two very tiny leg parts. 

I went back and requested a switch. The crew member said "Wala na pong spicy part" (there's no longer an available spicy part). I said it didn't matter if she replaced them with regular flavored chicken. She did replace them but she replaced it with a slightly bigger breast part and an extremely tiny part that I couldn't even distinguish which chicken part that was. I said "Grabe naman po sobrang liit naman nito, kaya ko nga pinapalitan kasi maliit na yung kanina" ("I asked for a replacement because the part you gave was already small, and now you gave me something even smaller") She replied in a very rude manner "E kasi po bucket meal inorder niyo" ("That's because you ordered a bucket meal") That statement got my blood boiling. I said "so hindi totoo young advertisement niyo at nasa picture?" (So it isn't true what your advertisements and those pictures show?")

Without saying a word she replaced it and did it in a very rude body language. The bitch was testing my patience but I didn't retaliate, instead I walked back to our group and ate. 

After our meal I walked back and talked to the store manager. 

The manager addressed the issue in a nice way. During our conversation she stated "Kasi po may email saaming bago na ganito  po dapat ang serving namin" (we received an email regarding our serving size) i asked her "so sinasabi mo na policy ninyo yan?" ("So are you saying that that is a policy?") she replied "Parang ganun na nga po."("Something like that") I countered her statement by saying "Bakit? Alam ba namin yan? Nakapaskil ba sa labas ng advertisements niyo yan? Alam ba ng consumers niyo na ganyan lang talaga? Ipinapakita ba sa mga picture ng menu ninyo? (Why? Do we know that? Is it included in your advertisements? Do your consumers know that? Do you show it on your menu pictures?) She couldn't speak and couldn't react. I calmly said "So meaning na internal policy* yan, na kayo lang ang nakakaalam." (So it means that that is an internal policy* and only the employees know about it) She nodded. 

There is a lot more to that conversation but I would rather leave those minor details behind. Let me just clarify some things.

1. This is not a minor issue. The company is falsely advertising to consumers like us. They want to entice us with what looks nice in advertisements but very disappointing when we see it after we have paid for it. Let me remind you that we are CONSUMERS. We paid for it and we have the RIGHT to proper treatment as consumers. 

2. Rudeness will not help the cause be it the consumer or the employee. This is what made me very angry in the situation.

3. INTERNAL POLICY - The employees are the only ones who know about this. Consumers are not allowed to know this. If consumers are to request something that breaks an internal policy, they should conform to the consumer. An internal policy is a loophole to make sure the company remains thrift and cheap. But the absolute policy is that the CONSUMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT unless the situation proves wrong. The policy that KFC claims is not just theirs. Almost all fast-food chains have that kind of policy, but the other chains just know the difference between an internal policy and the absolute policy.

How do I know this? I have been a product distributor of a big Pharmaceutical Company, my parents were previously real estate agents and were also sales reps, my cousin is also a pharmaceutical drug distributor, my uncle has a business franchise and my other cousin graduated management engineering. We are a family of business people that know stuff about stuff. That is why those employees that have done inappropriate things were crew members who were not trained well enough. 

This is not an open letter. This is just an explanation to people and employees who still don't get why there are consumer outbursts like this. 

And to the consumers, our country may not have strict policy about our rights but in times like this, the way companies are cheating and manipulating us, all you have to do is to speak up and be heard so that this inhumane way of treating consumers can be and will be stopped.

I know that this post will make some of you laugh, make some of you angry, make some of you annoyed. I just leave my warning, because maybe sometime, this might happen to you before you even know it and you might not know what to make of it.

Stay positive.
thejanraphaelbc, 2014

images courtesy of Google.