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The Price is Right - or not

Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009, at 2:59 PM

Jim & I enjoy a hamburger at least once a week. We go to Sonic because I'm addicted to cherry Cokes. Then there's Wendy's. Wendy's makes a mean hamburger.

Sunday night we were out of town and had not eaten an evening meal. It was quite late, maybe 11:30. I knew there was a Wendy's nearby, and my husband knew where it was.

When we went inside and I looked at the menu board, the first thing I noticed was the low price of the small single combo. It was posted for $3.29. I remembered paying about $4.50 when we bought one in Shelbyville the week before. What a deal! We both ordered the small single combo. Right upfront I had asked for a senior discount. I always try to figure what the total will be. You can imagine my surprise when the cashier said it was $9.09. I was taken back by that and stopped Jim from handing over that much money. I wanted to know about the price on the board. There was no way two combos at $3.29 each with a senior discount subtracted and tax added could total $9.09. I could see the cash register receipt showed $0.83 for tax. It wasn't proper for me to take it out on the cashier. I think she just punches the keys for what we order, and the machine spits out the price. Another lady walked up and said I'd have to speak with the manager. Here he came.

I went through it again -- telling him the price on the board was $3.29. We had ordered two, and the bill was over $9. He began by telling me that the prices were going up the next morning, and the new price was already on the board. Do you see something wrong with that story? He said $4.59 was the correct price right then, and beginning Monday it would be $4.69. He did not or could not tell me why it said $3.29 on the menu board. I figured $4.59 was probably what we had last paid in Shelbyville, so I relented and let Jim pay the girl. Then I turned to the people behind us in line and explained what was going on. After we were seated, the manager had a young man change the price for that item to what it would be Tuesday morning.

My sister said she would have walked out with no food. I had already told Jim that is exactly what she would have done. We just didn't know where there were other places to eat at that time of night, and I was hungry.

Stores like Kroger let you have an item for whatever price is posted, if the one on the shelf is cheaper than the scanned price. I still don't know why $3.29 was on the menu board. The combo probably hasn't been that price in a year or more. What I was telling them about the price up there being wrong just went over all their heads. No one would admit that someone had posted the price incorrectly.

I never like to create a big fuss. I should have taken a picture of the board with the lower, incorrect price on it. I could have noted the address and contacted Wendy's headquarters with that information, the picture and our receipt. That's what I should have done. I don't think Dave would have liked the way they handled it.

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I used to work in food service and the manager should have the ability to override the price or give a discount to make up for the difference.

You did management a favor by not taking it further and they should have done you the courtesy of saying thanks for bring it to our attention by adjusting the price.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 3:19 PM

Most fast food places have an 800 number posted somewhere where you can give feedback on stuff like this. You might also check the Wendy's web site to see if they have a customer feedback form.

Back after the Wendy's in Shelbyville had been shut down for a while, and was getting ready to re-open under new ownership, I decided on a whim to try to call the corporate office and see if I could get a telephone interview with Dave Thomas. Much to my shock, I did, and their PR guy even sent me a copy of his autobiography, "Dave's Way," which is fascinating. Many people don't realize that Dave played a key role in the development of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is where he earned the money he later used to start Wendy's. There's a great photo from the days when Dave actually traveled with Colonel Sanders, both of them wearing the colonel's trademark white suit.

I think my favorite part was a story about the fellow who succeeded Dave as CEO after he stepped back from day-to-day operations. That guy was so good that when Dave and the CEO entered one restaurant, the CEO could tell by the sound of the fryer in the background that the restaurant wasn't thawing its frozen french fries before frying them. He challenged the franchisee over this, and the franchisee denied it -- but then went back and checked on the situation and discovered the CEO was exactly right.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 3:57 PM

I can see why you let things slide but that scenario is one reason fancy cell phones come in handy.

A person could take a picture of the menu board,calculate price,tax and any necessary tip then call,text or email the appropriate people if there is an error or dispute.

This would provide an instant,objective response instead of a "he said,she said" after the fact.

Any other problems (on either side) that could be visibly documented or voice-recorded could also be handled by such a phone.

There's nothing like having evidence to back up one's take on something that needs correcting or something worthy of praise.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 6:34 PM

If you call Wendy's 800 number and complain they will send you some coupons.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:14 PM

John, that's a very interesting story about Dave & the new CEO. I like it when someone is really involved & not just a spokesperson.

I had the fancy cell phone that would take a picture, get the web site, etc. I figured we paid the correct amount for our meal. I just wanted an explanation as to why that much cheaper price was on the board.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:21 PM

Regarding poor customer service:

Tuesday, my son and I decided we would have SubWay after school. The girl behind the counter is taking our order, and she will make sure you understand that almost every item you add to your sandwich will cost extra. Ok, no big deal. Well, in the midst of preparing our order, she puts a finger up and says, "One minute, please," and immediately proceeds to take the order of the next customer behind me. I was taken aback. Why put your first customer on hold to serve the next in line? If my son wasn't so adamant about his beloved pizza sub, we would have just walked out and gone to BurgerKing next door.

Is this standard procedure at Subway? To serve multiple customers at once? I'd rather one at a time be served, to insure that each order is correct to customer's specifications. JMO

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 9:04 AM

i have gotten poor service in restraunts too. Once there was a chinese restraunt i went to in manchester with a friend. I found two dead cockroachs in the food. The owners excuse was that bug man come yesterday...

She only wanted to discount the meal 1.00 pe cockroach.

I called the health department after that and it was not long that place went out of business.

Oh and that manager could have overroad that price on the combo, he was being a jerk...

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 11:23 AM

I went into the Shelbyville Kroger on the Sept. 22nd and as always I looked at the cakes/desserts in the deli. I know from speaking with the people that work in the deli what dates to look for when they are about to mark items half price when the time on that particular item is almost out of date. There were 3 expensive cakes that were sitting side by side in the cooler that instead of marking the price down on the items, they covered the dates up with different dates making it appear that the cakes were 2 days fresher than they actually were. The Sept. 22nd date was covered up by a Sept. 24th date and the original price was still attached as to where all of the less expensive cakes, breads and desserts dated Sept. 22nd were actually marked with a Managers Special sticker and half off its original price. The lady in the above artical should have been given the price marked on the Wendys menu by the manager but wasnt.It seems to me that employees of Kroger is trying to misslead customers on the actual date of some of its products and selling food that is out of date for the original price. I think that should be against the law and that someone should be accountable for such actions. I would be very upset to pay $15.00 for a cake to only get it home and find out it wasnt fresh and that the experation date had been covered up with a newer date. If these businesses can get away with such things just imagine how much profit they are making off of the consumer & alot of the consumers might not even notice that they were overcharged or cheated in other ways. If everyone would stand up to these situations and make the person stand behind the price marked then maybe it wouldnt happen as often. As for the overpriced Wendys food...she should have been given free food or something for her time and trouble.

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 3:09 PM


I thought I was the only one. Several months ago I stop at Subway and the lady did the same thing. I complained and my sandwich was fixed immediately. And this was the other store. So I am guessing that this is done store wide. I was shocked and if I hadn't been so darn hungry for that sandwich I would have told her to keep it.

-- Posted by truckindaddy on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 6:35 AM

I was done the same way at the Subway beside Burger King too. I noticed that the girl kept asking the man questions, so I assumed she was kind of new, so I did not say anything.

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 10:10 PM

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