Falling like Dominos

It started as such a good idea. Dominos Pizza was having a Buy-One-Get-One free promotion through Sept. 24. We needed lunch for the kids on Sept. 24 before I was headed out to the Renaissance Festival to sing. So we went online to try to order.

The offer was for online carryout only, which is what we usually do, and that is where the issue began. We went to the website and our store — the one listed on all the promotional e-mails we get — 2516 NE 43rd St Kansas City — MO 64116, wasn’t available for online ordering.

The whole plan was getting out of church right after the choir sang, rushing to pick up the pizza, coming home, and then getting attired in my Renaissance outfit before rushing off to sing. The five-minute drive to our local store worked. The next closest store we could find would be 15 minutes both ways, or another 20 minutes out of the schedule.  This still seemed doable, but tight.

This was Saturday Night.

So I placed the order online. Two large hand-tossed pizzas, one pepperoni, one cheese. Had to revise my credit card information twice, since the card’s expiration had changed, before it went through. But it gave me a total, a confirmation, showed my piece of the rewards earned went from 50/60 to 60/60 towards earning a free pizza, and even gave me the progress bar to watch the progress of my pizza.  Set to be ready at 11:30 a.m.

I thought I was fine.  I never realized that the system never generated a confirmation e-mail.  So while the web page was plastered with all sorts of assurances that my order had been made, it sent nothing to the store itself.

Oblivious to this, I rechecked the route to STORE #9573, 7302 N Oak Trafficway Ste G, Gladstone, MO 64118. When I originally checked the address, I assumed it was in the same strip mall as the Fedex (Kinkos) store at northeast corner of 72nd and North Oak Trafficway. But a quick look at Google Maps confirmed that was close but inaccurate. It was on the West side of North Oak Trafficway, and just above 73rd street.

Sunday morning came, choir sang its anthem, and we left church. Usually we walk down the hill to church, but today the car was in the parking lot, saving another 4-5 minutes. We drove the 15 minutes to the store, which I noticed was in the north end of its strip mall, and appeared a very new store in a very new strip mall, that wasn’t yet completely rented out. We arrived around 11:45 a.m

I left Betsy in the car and popped in to pick up the pizza. They didn’t seem to recognize my name and tried to make me Jason. When they looked they couldn’t find anything under my last name. They kept on asking me if I was sure I had the right store.

By this point I had wasted 5-10 minutes I didn’t think I had trying to get this worked out. Yes, I know I had the right store. Seventy-Three hundred something North Oak, Suite G. None of them were sure that their store address had a suite G in it.

Yes, I know I have the right store, I copied the address from the website and pasted it directly into Google Maps and it brought me here.

Still they didn’t have it. I was getting something frantic, with my voice rising. I placed the order online, I saw it give me a completion, I had just enough time to pick this up and get the pizza home to feed my kids before I have to dash to another appointment. Finally, realizing that staying would do no good, I rushed out of the door and left.

We called home and had the kids look up the website on my computer, since I had left the page up. They confirmed the order did not show up on my recent orders tab anywhere.

When I got home I finally made the decision that I needed to order pizza anyway. So while trying to change into my performance attire, I dialed the store and tried to talk to someone on the speaker phone while changing.  I asked if the guy was there to have seen the person whose online order got lost. He said he was a delivery person and he didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, and said he’d have to hang up on me for yelling at him.  I explained I was talking on a speaker phone and wanted to make sure he could hear me. He couldn’t seem to understand what I needed, but passed me on to a lady who was supposed to be a manager.

She did remember me. I apologized and said I needed to get pizza ordered. So I went through and placed the order with her over the phone. Somehow the price for the two pizzas, without the BOGO (only available online), came to $17 something carryout instead of the $13 from the online BOGO carryout. But I need delivery, that’s the whole reason I’m calling, I don’t have enough time to get there.  So she got full address and phone number to the name, and said some sort of $30 figure for delivery. But when I tried to give her payment information, she said if corporate was taking care of it, she didn’t need it. This was 12:20 p.m.

I finished dressing and pulled out, and managed to reach my stage at the Renaissance Festival at 12:58 p.m., two minutes early. Usually I plan at least 15 minutes.

My texts during breaks, from the backstage area, said that the pizzas had not arrived each time I asked. So at 4:35 p.m., after I finished the final set and was out the gate into the parking lot. I called again. This time I talked to a gentleman manager. Rehashed the whole story., but this time more calmly, since I wasn’t struggling with two competing priorities and deadlines.  He couldn’t find any record of any order by me online or anywhere else. Somewhere the order I placed with a manager over the phone at 12:20 p.m. had also disappeared. He took the order, this time for carryout. and said it would be 25 minutes.  It took me 35 minutes to get there, and this time the pizzas were there.

So we took them home. Enjoyed them.

But I did go online and send a note to the Website about the issue. They responded that since it was a local store issue, they were forwarding my note to the franchise owners to respond. To which I responded, that I would be glad to talk to the local owners, but that it wasn’t the local owners who were responsible for the corporate website screwing up my order. I never did get a response from them on that.

But the following Thursday I did get a call from the local store owners. She admitted that they weren’t sure what had happened to the order. I rehashed some of my story for her, and told her that I really appreciated her call, and that I had told corporate that I knew it wasn’t her fault that the website had goofed up.

I got the story about the store where we usually place our orders. It was closed due to some plumbing issues that were being resolved. The store where I went to pick up the pizza was being crewed by the staffs from two stores, serving both areas, and it created a fair bit of controlled chaos keeping them all straight.

I told the lady that I appreciated the call, that having that understanding gave me the closure I needed to the story, and apologized to any of her crew. I told her I was able to think more clearly during the final call, where the successful order got placed, once I wasn’t trying to juggle multiple responsibilities.  I also told her that they didn’t charge me for the pizzas I had received, and that I had been willing to pay for them, I had just wanted to know what had happened.

She thanked me for my understanding, and said most of her customers (by which I’m sure she meant the ones with complaints), weren’t usually as nice. She said she was going to send us a coupon for a free pizza for our trouble.  I told her it wasn’t needed, that her call and the understanding is what I had hoped for, but that if she wanted to send it, I obviously wouldn’t refuse it.

And so Last weekend we received the coupon letter.

There was a lot of chaos and confusion involved in the whole event, but even with my being less than polite during my initial interactions, I was pleased with the way the people handled, or tried to handle, and resolve the incident.  The local store owners and their staff aren’t perfect, but they attempted to make the best of an unfortunate incident, which from me earns my kudos and continuing loyalty.  We will be continuing to order Dominos Pizza.

Corporate did a good job in responding to my original complaint, though their passing the entire responsibility off to the local franchise shows to me that someone didn’t pay enough attention to all the details of the case to recognize the elements of shared responsibility. I still laud them, but give the franchisee the high marks for customer service.



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