picture of a cow

1 08 2008

Our 4 year old is winding down his trip to Minnesota.  He will be back this weekend.  I can’t wait to see him!  He starts preschool in just a few weeks.  Amazing.  Seems like he was just born yesterday.  Now he is about to be a big brother…for the second time.  Incredible.

Anyway, I had to share this picture of him from Minnesota!  Looks like he is having fun to me!!


Arbys story

29 07 2008

I have been meaning to post about something that happened to us on our trip to Minnesota a few weeks back.  This has to say something about customer service, employee empowerment, business common sense, etc.  But, I will just tell the story and let you draw your own conclusions.

We stopped along I35 in Mason City, Iowa where there are a handful of fast food places to choose from.  Pretty much every single one of them were packed with 4th of July travelers.  McDonald’s was out as an option because we had already eaten there twice that day.  Culver’s was our first choice, but that place was absolutely packed with people.  So, we settled on Arby’s because it sounded decent and wasn’t completely overcrowded.  It happened to be right across the street from McDonalds.

I placed my order (2 Arby’s Melts and a drink) and then proceeded to start filling up drinks while my wife finalized the order for herself and our kids.  As I was filling up drinks, I heard my wife holler over to me that they wouldn’t let her buy an extra juice box for our kids.

A little more background – our kids are small enough that we normally order them one kid’s meal to share and then simply add a second drink.  We have done this more times than I can count (mostly at McDonald’s) without an issue. 

So, I walked back over to the cashier to try to get an understanding of what was going on.  Here is a paraphrased version of the ensuing conversation:

Me: Can we order a second juice box, please?

Cashier: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: I don’t need a second kid’s meal, but I would like to buy a second juice box.  Can I please do that?

Cashier: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: Why?

Cashier: I don’t know, I only work here.

Me: Can I please talk to a manager?

Cashier: Sure…. (Cashier summons Manager to the front counter)

Manager:  What seems to be the problem?

Me: I would like to purchase a second juice box and the cashier is telling me that isn’t possible, can you please sell me a second juice box?

Manager: No, I am sorry, they only come with a kid’s meal.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s just the only way we sell them.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s just how it is done.

Me: Why?

Manager: That’s what corporate has instructed us to do.

Me: Why?

Manager: Frustrated sigh…Sir, that is just the way it is and if you don’t want to purchase a second kid’s meal then there is nothing I can do for you.

Me: OK, I will go across the street and buy a juice box from McDonald’s then, I guess.  My preference is to buy it from you, but if you don’t want to take my money in exchange for one of your products, I am sure McDonalds will be glad to.

Manager: Fine.

So, that’s exactly what I did.  I had to go fight the crowd at McDonalds to buy one juice box.

The story doesn’t stop there.  After waiting in line for 20 minutes at McDonalds, I got my juice box and returned to Arbys.  Satisfied with myself, I sat down to gobble down my two Arby’s Melts.  The first one tasted fine.  The second one had no cheese.  I went back to the counter, flagged down the same manager and said, “Aren’t Arby’s Melts supposed to have cheese”?  Exaperated, she grabbed the sandwich, tossed it into the trashcan, and yelled out that she needed a new one.  I waited…

After a few minutes, I received my replacement Arby’s melt, and I returned to my table.  By this time, the rest of my family was wrapping up their meal.  Quickly, I began to devour my sandwich only to discover that the replacement was again lacking something…you guessed it…cheese.  Once again, I staggered back up to the front.  This time the manager didn’t even speak.  She just grabbed the sandwich and flung it into the back (I mean literally she threw the sandwich into the back of the store).  She then walked back there and relieved the sandwich maker of his command post.  I never saw her return to the front counter again.  Someone else brought me the second replacement sandwich (with melted cheese included this time).

That’s pretty much where the story ends.  I gulped down the sandwich and we were on our way with a new and interesting fast food experience under our belts.

Let me just say for the record, that I have never had any problems with Arbys before.  In fact, I can think of a time that our local Arbys here in the Dallas area gave my boys each a toy which we didn’t purchase just to be nice.  The point of this post is not to bag on a company.  The point of it is simply to tell the story and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

To me, it’s just a funny story of a store manager that was having a bad day and had not been properly trained and/or empowered by her employer.


15 07 2008
Minnesota Vacation

Our Lake

Sorry that is has been so long since my last post.  My family and I spent the last 10 days on a vacation to Minnesota.  Our family has a lakehouse there that we try to get to once a year when possible.

We had a wonderful time this year!  Very relaxing.  The mosquitoes were annoying, but the cool weather made up for that (at least for me).

My oldest son stayed behind with my parents for another 4 weeks.  It is a win-win for everyone because he gets to stay with Nanny and Poppa at the cabin, they get to keep him, my younger son gets some personal attention, and my wife and I get a break from having 2 kids!

Anyway, now that I am back to the routine, I will try to get back to regular posts.

witticisms from a 4 year old

9 06 2008

Our 4 year has had his share of witticisms over the last few days.  Just thought I would share.

Witticism #1

A friend of our boys was playing with them at our house late last week.  They were playing some game in the playroom that required a coach, and our 4year old had designated himself as that coach.  All of a sudden, he took off running to the back of the house as fast as he could.  As he ran around the hallway corner he said, “I’m the coach, and the coach needs to go poop!”

My wife laughed at that little witticism and IM’d me so I could have a chuckle, too.  A few minutes later, he calmly walked out of the bathroom and stated, matter of factly, “The coach is done going poo-poo.”  What a guy!

Witticism #2

I was combing his hair Sunday morning in an effort to get him ready to go to church.  I said to him, “I wish I had hair like yours.”

To which, he replied, “Yea, me, too.”

I said, jokingly, “You already have hair like yours.”

He stated, exasperatedly, “No, not me!  I wish you had hair like mine, too!”

Witticism #3

On the way home from church Sunday afternoon, our boys were telling their cousins about our cabin in Minnesota .  My wife explained to them that our family is going to the cabin in a few weeks, and that our 4 year old is going to stay behind with his grandparents for several more weeks.  Our niece and nephew seemed concerned and in disbelief that we were going to leave our 4year old behind in Minnesota .  So our 4 year old simply stated, “I have to be with my grandparents because I LOVE THEM!!!!”