Friday, July 13, 2012

Shame on you

I know, yet again, it has been a while since I posted. I will try to post more in the future!

Anyhow, I feel compelled to blog about my experience with a company called The French Oven, a bakery in Toronto the makes cakes and desserts.

This issue dates back to June 9, which was a Saturday. I had just finished participating in the Sickle Cell walkathon and needed to go to the grocery store to purchase fruits and veggies for my smoothies, so my Mom and I went to Freshco, a local grocery store.  As I had in the past. I went to the fridge section of the bakery and picked up a couple of the particular dessert in question. It was called a chocolate fudge dessert cup.  It's essentially a single serving cup that comes in a little plastic container. I've purchased a few in the past, and have liked them. So, I picked up some more. 


When my mom and I got home, I was so hungry from having participated in the walkathon after not having had much of a breakfast, I decided to eat a dessert cup while preparing lunch. Having been outside in the brightness of the sun, my eyes had not yet adjusted to indoors.


I took a bite of my dessert cup. Ew..this tastes really weird.  I smelled it. It smelled funny too..the only way I can describe the smell is that it smelled sour. I told my mom, who has a very astute sense of smell, to smell it.  She thought it smelled off too. I looked at the expiry date-the cake was not to expire until the following day.  I closed it back up and put it in a clear plastic bag, then into the fridge.  I decided that I'd take it back to the store.


Later on in the day, I got the urge to take the dessert cup out of the fridge and examine it further. When I did, I was horrified at what I saw.  The plastic that the cake is contained in is clear, which enables me to look at the sides and bottom of the cup without removing the cake from it's container.  It was covered in dozens and dozens of round little mold spores. Wow...I took a bite of that earlier today...


I panicked.  I had just gotten a transplant 3 months earlier, and I was worried that having taken a bite of this mold-laced cake could cause some sort of ill effect.  I picked up my phone and called the grocery store.


I spoke to the produce manager as the store manager was not in at the time of my call.  When I told him what had happened as well as my immunosuppressed status, he was equally horrified.  He asked how I was feeling and if I was ok, which I appreciated.  He told me that he would get in contact with the supplier of the cakes, and if I could bring the offending cake to the store the next day. I agreed.


After church, my Mom and I headed to the grocery store. The produce manager wasn't in, but I did speak to the meat manager.  She was helpful as well.  She took my information as well as the cake so that the store manager could see it when he arrived the following day.

The next day, which was Monday June 11, the store manager called me, but I missed his call as I was at work. On my break, I called him back.  He informed me that he had informed the French Oven of what happened, and that they should be in contact with me.  When I got home, sure enough, I did receive a phone call from Alok Razdan, president and owner of The French Oven.  He apologized, and stated that he would have a courier go to the store to pick up the cake for further investigation, and that he would get back to me no later than Thursday (June 14) with the results.  I agreed.

Thursday came and went with no phone call.  The following week on Tuesday June 19, I called the French Oven back and spoke to Linda.  She told me that Mr. Razdan was not in, but would be in around 10:30am. I left a message.  I didn't receive a phone call back.  On Friday June 22, I spoke to another gentleman. I didn't catch his name. When I asked for Mr. Razdan, he too told me that Mr. Razdan would be in later on in the morning.  I asked him to please have Mr. Razdan return my call before the end of the business day. Guess what? the phone call never came.

At that point, I called the manager of Freshco back and told him what was going on.  He promised to contact the French Oven himself to see what was going on. He also told me to call him back if I did not receive a returned phone call the following week.

 On Monday June 25, Linda called me and left me a voice message.  She informed me that Mr. Razdan had decided to give me "3 dessert cups free of charge" (this was actually 2 free cups, since I did not yet receive a refund for the moldy one). I called back and spoke to Linda. She reiterated to me what she said in the message. I told her that this was actually TWO free cups, since I hadn't received a refund for the first one.  She told me that the 3 free dessert cups is what Mr. Razdan had decided to do.

What disappoints me the most about this whole scenario is the lack of a returned phone on the day promised with the promised info as well as a lack of a returned phone call after I called twice.  I had to call Freshco's manager, who, by the way, was EXTREMELY helpful (not only him, but also the produce manager and the meat manager) to call The French Oven for me. It was only then that my phone call was returned.

Each dessert cup costs $1.59. So in essence I was given $3.18 worth of free product, or 4.77 if you forget about the fact that I hadn't yet received a refund for the first one. In the end, I wasn't worried about getting free dessert cups.  What I REALLY wanted was to receive a phone call back, as promised, with the information he promised to give me as to what happened with the dessert cup I bought. Having worked in customer service my whole employment life...this was a complete and utter customer service fail.  I emailed The French Oven on June 29 expressing my concerns and disappointment.  No response.

I went to FreshCo to collect my "free dessert cups".  The store manager graciously refunded me the one dessert cup that I bought, which I appreciated.  I told him that I hadn't received any phone calls back from Mr. Razdan, and that I had also sent an email and was waiting for a response.  I don't expect that to happen.

All but 1 of the free dessert cups that I got ended up going into the garbage eventually.  All of them tasted off, and all were no where near their expiry dates.

Based on the amazing customer service I received, I will certainly continue to shop at FreshCo. Customer service is EXTREMELY important to me and can dictate whether or not I choose to continue spending my money at a particular company or on their goods and/or services. Freshco's customer service definitely impressed me.

I have given the French Oven ample opportunity to call me back and make things right, but instead I was swept under the carpet and ignored.

Shame on you, French Oven.

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