by Katharine Branham - Archive of Katharine’s Articles
The third week of November, a Sunday to be exact, was very busy for me with new restaurants to review and articles to write. Just needing a break from the computer screen, I hurried out to one of my favorite stops for a quick food pick up. I phoned in my order before leaving the house so no time would be wasted. It was cold and wet outside, and because Houston had a major overcast, it was somewhat dark for only being 4:30 pm. When I pulled up, the rain had started pouring harder so I left my purse in the car and carried in just my wallet. The place was somewhat vacant; I suppose the weather kept everyone inside their homes.
The girl at the To-Go counter chatted with me for a bit. A manager on duty noticed my arrival and came over to say hello. He was not a manager I had spent any time visiting with while there in past. In fact, he was fairly new to the establishment. I knew this because I had become friends with many employees after dining here for ten years. He asked how my evening was going and puts his hand out to shake.
Being in a hurry I wanted to cut this chat short but he noticed my wallet under my arm. He pulled out his Blackberry. Then as I turn to go he says, “I have a bag to match that wallet that is a fraction of the real deal”. I am shocked by this and simply said, “I am not interested”. He starts his sales spiel with “they look just like the real purses everyone pays big bucks for”. That was not enough for him, so he comes out from behind the counter. I have my bag of food in one hand and push for the door with the other. He says “come out to my car” trying to coax me out. I again said “I am not interested” but with a much firmer tone this time. He said, “well okay but you better come see me if you want any handbags”.
This was the worst behaved manager I have ever witnessed. It was dark outside and he is trying to get me to his car. That is scary enough. Then the fact he was trying to sell illegal handbags, check his Blackberry on the company dollar, and tried to push his illegal items on a customer. I thought about this incident all night. Being a food and restaurant critic, I was shocked that this man is jeopardizing his job. Since I had a fairly longstanding relationship with the restaurant, I made a call Monday morning and talked to a public relations manager. He seemed happy to look into the problem. Later that day, the PR manager called me back and said it had been handled. The following week I went in the restaurant with some friends and there was the purse selling manager still there. The other manager on duty comes up and says, “The district manager had a talk with him and he promises to stop trying to sell his purses in the restaurant”.
I visited the restaurant again, and when I walked in one of the managers approached me and said “the purse selling manager is gone”. I was shocked, of course, since he was still there last I checked. It seems they had been watching him when this happened and money came up missing one night so he was let go.
The moral of the story is…well… I am not quite sure. There are so many morals to this one like ‘did I really need food to-go that evening?’ ‘never talk to a manager while he checks his Blackberry?’ or ‘call the restaurant when something has happened that they should be aware of?’ I think the last one is the best choice.