I had another bad experience at a local Subway sandwich restaurant.
Lee to Corporate:
I am sending you this email because I know that complaining to the store (which I will today) will do nothing. I truly hope someone reaches out to me regarding this because this is incredible.
Today, and for the final time, I ate at the Subway store in Miami located at 13876 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33184. This place usually runs out of bread or meats, that’s common, but I attributed it to poor sales and/or poor budgeting. I go there anyway because it’s close to my house (despite the fact that I’ve complained about the rudeness without receiving a response). I expect a response with this one since I’m writing higher ups and if not, I will post it in my blog to at least let people know what to expect.
This evening I stood in front of the counter to place my order. Two employees in uniform were chatting. A young guy wearing a regular white tee and OPEN-TOED SANDALS gives a wink to the male employee and comes to serve me. I didn’t know what the look was for, but it was evident there was an inner joke.
When I finally managed to convey my order, the kid went to chat with the other employees. As he did so, he leans over the trash can (with no lid) to chat. In doing so, he holds on to the trash can with both gloved hands. I observe as he then goes to retrieve my food. I realized he was not, in fact going to throw out his gloves. I stopped him and I apologized and asked if he worked there. He asked why and I explained that I was confused because he is not in uniform, he was wearing beach sandals, but worst of all, he had placed his hands in the trash container and was evidently intending on handling my food.
The kid at first DENIED he had done so. I didn’t argue, I intended to walk out as I will not pay for the opportunity to eat unsanitary food (for that I would ask my ex wife to cook). He apparently thought better of it and replaced the gloves he was wearing. Now clearly upset at ME, he just looked at me and nodded his head to let me know I could tell him what I wanted in the sandwich!
Annoyed, but too hungry to care I explained what I wanted as he angrily slapped it all together. I finally paid, glad to be out of there wondering if I would return. As I drove slowly past the store, the other uniformed employee, a female, opened the drive through window, waved frantically at me and asked me to return. I knew I hadn’t left anything behind. I knew she was going to speak to me about what happened. I was foolish enough to think maybe she was the manager and wanted to correct a situation. Wrong. She even pulled someone who was clearly waiting for her inside to come outside to witness?
I opened my window and said “what can I help you with”. She replied with “Don’t you speak English to me, I speak Spanish. Don’t YOU speak Spanish?” she asked motioning to me – I guess it’s because I’m Latin and I’m required to speak Spanish (racist much?). She demanded to know what interaction I had with “her son” because he had “gone to the back crying” and wouldn’t tell her anything.
At this point, and by her own admission there was a kid working the counter, wearing a regular white tee, beach sandals and handling the trash can with the intention of handling food. He very well would have served me contaminated food had I not been aware of what he was doing.
I told the lady that her son had gripped the interior of the trash can and was planning on handling my food. She defended it by saying “He changed to new gloves didn’t he?” to which I said he had.. once I asked him to (if she knew this he clearly HAD spoken with her, so she’s a liar too). She said “well I’m here to find out from you what happened.” I told her that this was exactly what happened and perhaps she should have a conversation with him. I drove off.
I have a few concerns. Is it bring your child to work day? If it is not, why is there a kid serving me food? Why is food being served by someone not wearing approved footwear (forget uniform, let’s talk safety and sanitation)? Why would an “employee” be defensive and rude over the fact that they made a mistake (mistakes happen, it is what it is, but you should correct them rather than deny and become defensive). Is it acceptable for my comment to be met with an employee waving me down and confronting me at the intersection of the parking lot?
I need to hear from somebody over this because although I will never return to this location, there’s a giant problem here and someone needs to start making corrections.
Incredibly, this is the response I received:
My name is Monique Collazo and I am the Owner/Operator of Subway 6913 of which you submitted a complaint on Jan 29th and Jan 31st. My family and I have been the owners at this location for over 23 years. As a matter of fact, I can’t think back far enough to where Subway wasn’t a part of us and we a part of it.
As per your complaint yes, you are correct in that one of our employee’s son was out of uniform and not where he should have been. That situation as been dealt with and taken care of.
I would like to address some of your other comments.
You say that you have complained about this location before and have been ignored. And to that sir I say: NEGATIVE! You see, customer service is one of our TOP priorities! Therefore, when a complaint reaches us we handle it within the hour if not within that same day that it comes in. Every receipt invites our customers to take a 1 minute survey. They come to us everyday. Most being 9’s and 10’s. Telling us about our wonderful service. And when we do get an occasional low score, that customer is contacted on the spot! Our employees have been trained to give the customer what they want. If it is possible of course. If you come in asking me for a hamburger, I can’t give you that but we immediately offer you a steak sandwich perhaps. ;) I know you catch where I’m going with this. This is the 1st complaint we receive from you and as you can see, you are not being ignored!
Secondly, and also a pet peeve of mine, you claim that my establishment is “ALWAYS” out “bread, meats, etc”. To that sir, I must repeat: NEGATIVE!
Out of all my stores, this is my highest seller. My 1st! My baby! My sisters and I used to sleep in the back of the store when my parents closed because we had school the next day.
By saying we don’t know how to budget or that we have are a low selling store is ASSuming. My dad always taught me to NEVER ASSume because you make an ASS out of yourself. Get it?! Hahaha I always found that to be funny. Point being, this is an above the market average selling store for Dade County. We don’t have a budgeting problem. We actually don’t have a problem at all. Our breads, meats, cheeses, veggies, and cookies are always fresh because we are constantly baking. We also receive 2 deliveries a week ensuring that we don’t run out of food. We do inventory spot checks and before running out of something I have 2 more stores on 8th street that we pick up food from and send to this 1. So I make sure we never run out of food here.
So with all this being said I do have a favor to ask. Please don’t bother coming to our store anymore. We have over 1,500 good, caring customers on a weekly basis that have grown with us and have been a part of our Subway family life. And you sir are not what We consider a good person. You see we try to help our employees in all aspects not only at work. Her son was there because she was having problems with him staying home alone. So with permission of course we allowed her to bring him to work with her. Rules weren’t followed so like I said at the beginning we took care of this matter.
God Bless you!
God Bless America!
Thank you for your time,
Monique C. Collazo
Lee’s Follow up:
This is the email I sent: Christopher.Carroll@subwaysandwiches.com; Peter.Buck@subwaysandwiches.com; Franchise@Subway.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; CBSMiami@cbs.com; email@example.com; HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Adventuresofthefoodaholic@gmail.com
This is Ms. Collazo’s email in case you want to share your experience: email@example.com
First of all, to those of you who have been cc’ed into this email, I apologize. I found it necessary to share with as many people as possible the business practices, customer sevice and problem resolution for this business. Please feel free to use any and all of my emails and, should you have questions or concerns, please email me. I would be glad to respond.
Good evening, Ms. Collazo.
First and foremost, unless I’m mistaken, you and I are not friends or familiar with each other. My name is Mr. Olivares, not “Lee”, so find the professionalism to address me as such.
Thank you for letting me know that I was correct that the employee’s son was out of uniform. This was never in questions as I was there when it happened and brought it to your attention. I’m glad to see that the situation was “dealt with” seeing as to how previous Yelp reviews make reference to a rude female employee and her child(ren) being at the store.
I reject your statement that I have not complained in the past. I would know this better than you as I would be the one who placed the complaint, not you. If customer service is one of your top priorities, how come the same issue(s) mentioned in Yelp reviews are the ones I have stated? How come I have consistently dealt with rude employees? I’m aware that the receipt gives you the opportunity to take a survey. I did it once and as nothing happened it prompted this email. Also, it’s incredibly shocking that the result of an email is a response with your tone (I take it this is your example of customer service being a priority). If your employees are trained to give the customer what they want, why did this happen to me on my last visit? It certainly is not what I wanted. I never asked for a sandwich with a side of garbage.
Secondly, I find myself highly uninterested in what your pet peeves are. Again, this is business, not a friendly interaction. I stand corrected (which is the response someone gives when an error has been made and someone has a sense of accountability). Your business is not “always” out of bread or meats. It just has been the case every single time that I have set foot in your establishment. I’m certain you are fully stocked when you place your orders – just never when I’m there. It must be my timing. I’m glad this store is your highest seller – it must sell quite a bit of bread because it is never stocked when I’m there. I would like to know which stores you own in addition to this one so that I can ensure to not set foot in those either. I do not support businesses which lack professionalism, safety practices, customer service and nearly serve me contaminated food.
I’m insulted that in your ignorance you opted to resort to highlighting the “ass” in assuming. It becomes evident than your employees lack of customer service stems from the fact that the owner lacks them, as well as common sense, accountability and manners. Your dad should have taught you to be respectful and professional as well. I’m very sorry that he skipped over that. I’m glad that your store is “above the market” in sales. I certainly hope that through my blog post, emails, Yelp and Twitter I can reach out to people and inform them of how you do business. The customer should be educated in these types of things when they make the decision to spend their hard earned money on any establishment. I do suggest you change your baking time and do more frequent inventory spot checks because either the employees don’t know they have a large abundance of fresh bread or the information you just regurgitated is inaccurate.
Ms. Collazo, you do not know me. How dare you make a statement that I’m “not a good person?” You should have thanked me for bringing items to your attention: a kid behind the counter, wearing flip flops (this is a cleanliness and safety issue), the kid nearly serving me contaminated food (health hazard and potential lawsuit) and the rude as hell lady who flagged me down to complain about me being concerned for my health. You are ignorant, have no accountability, have a false sense of entitlement and self righteousness, have no professionalism and are suffering from a case of being a huge asshole. I stated in my email that I would not set foot in your store again. In fact, I’d like to know which others you mismanage so that I don’t go there either. There are many other places who appreciate paying customers which I will gladly go to instead. I assure you that many people will do the same now that they’re aware of how business is run and how customers are treated.
Listen, I understand that the rude lady has her son at work because she can’t leave him alone. A kid shouldn’t be behind the counter, handling food, wearing flip flops, not following any regulations and far less should that rude ass lady approached me. Nor should your response have been so ignorant. However, since you want to flaunt your disgusting personality, allow me to put it on display and share it with as many people as possible.
In closing, I have worked in management and customer service for years. If you need any help in how to better improve your lack of skills, I would not be against operating as a consultant. It’s painfully clear that you’re severely lacking. Have a good evening.
You can read my blog post here: http://sirtilc42.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/subway-sinking
Follow me on Twitter: @sirtilc42
Minor update February 4, 2014:
It’s now Tuesday and I’ve not heard from anyone. I decided to get on the subway.com website and shoot them a message. The funny part is that it tells you AFTER you send a message that if you’re referring to a specific location, it gets sent to the owner of that store. Brilliant. Pretty sure that means that the mentally disturbed lady now has my address and phone number.
With the help of two of my brothers I have been sending the link of this blog post to subway via Twitter. We’re pretty relentless, but subway has thus far ignored every single post.
That’s not a big deal as I can track my views that originate from Twitter and when a search for the tag is made, our tweets will pop up.
I decided to get on the Facebook page for Subway. I posted my link asking why I had been ignored. A few minutes later I refreshed my page and found that Subway had been deleting my posts. I proceeded to post my link at least a dozen times throughout different areas of their page. I focused on comments people had made which had received many responses.
I called the phone number for customer service. The lady answered and read through my complaint. I knew she got to the good stuff when she started muttering “Oh, my. Wow.” She eventually apologized for the owner and said she was contacting the regional office and someone should contact me in one to two days. Now, what they could possibly say? I’m not sure, but someone needs to show a degree of accountability. I’m withholding my email to the state agencies for now and will wait to see what happens.
Update February 4, 2014:
Received confirmation of an email I sent to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation:
Dear Lizzle (OK, they had my real name),
Thank you for contacting the Department of Business and Professional Regulation regarding the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Your complaint has been submitted for review by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
If you need further information, please respond to this email with the case number in the subject field or call us at (850)487-1395. You may also email us by completing our email correspondence form available online at www.myfloridalicense.com/contactus .
This response was prepared by:
Email from Department to Lee:
FYI, I conducted an inspection of the subway in question, at the time of inspection, I found NO issues, in regards to any HANDWASHING procedures, at inspection time.
If you need any further assistance, let me know.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Response from Lee to Department:
Good morning. Thank you for following up as this was distressing. While I’m glad you had the opportunity to inspect this place, I made reference to the evenings where a staff member allows her son to prepare food for customers unsupervised. That is how I was nearly served contaminated food as I stopped the kid just short of handling my food subsequent to sticking his hands in the trash. I just want to make sure you were aware of the details of this. I appreciate your time.
February 6, 2014 * * Subway has not contacted me so it’s time to follow up * *
Email sent to:
Department of Health Feedback
Division of Community Health Promotion
Division of Disease Control & Health Protection
Division of Public Health Statistics & Performance Management
Miami-Dade County Consumer Services
(sent via website) Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
Due to the severity of the incident as well as the lackadaisical attitude of the owner (whom I have included here), I felt I needed to bring this to the attention of as many entities as possible to prevent any potentially harmful or dangerous situation.
The State of Florida Department of Health Chapter 64E-11 under the Florida Administrative Code states the following:
Definition: “Employee” – Any person working in or for a food service establishment who engages in food preparation or service, who transports food or food containers, or who comes in contact with any utensil or equipment.
(This means that the employee’s child who served me was, by definition, an employee. I’m uncertain if he is actually employed by Subway, but seeing as to how the owner provided the information that he was there because he couldn’t be left home alone, I have to assume he was not, in fact, working for Subwa)
Definition: (1) “Adulterated” – Food shall be considered to be adulterated: (d) If it has been produced, prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may become contaminated with
filth, or whereby it may have been rendered diseased, unwholesome, or injurious to health;
(I had to watch the “employee” as he was not dressed appropriately and seemed to not be sure of what to do. This fortunately was why I noticed that the “employee” handled garbage and was going to handle my food without sanitizing. Also, while the sandwiches are in the oven, the same gloved hands clean the counters and are used to open/close the ovens via the handles)
Definition: (20) “Garbage” – Food waste generated on premises that is not disposed of through the sewage disposal system. The term also includes solid waste such as discarded containers or wrappers that are contaminated with food waste.
64E-11.004 Food Protection.
(1) Food while being transported, stored, prepared, displayed, served or sold at a food service establishment shall be protected from dust, flies, rodents or other vermin, toxic materials, unclean equipment and utensils, unnecessary handling, coughs and sneezes, flooding by sewage, overhead leakage and all other sources of contamination.
(12) Food shall be prepared with the least possible manual contact, with suitable utensils, and on surfaces that prior to use have been cleaned, rinsed and sanitized to prevent cross contamination.
(This establishment failed to protect my food from a severe contamination via garbage)
(2) Cleanliness – The outer clothing of all employees shall be clean. Employees shall maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness during all periods of duty. All persons involved with food preparation or food storage, or who come in contact with utensils or other food-contact services, shall comply with paragraphs (a) through (f).
(a) Hairnets, headbands, caps or other effective hair restraints shall be worn to keep hair from food and food-contact surfaces.
(5) Handwashing – Employees shall wash their hands and exposed portions of their arms at designated handwashing facilities at the following times:
(h) After engaging in other activities that contaminate the hands.
(6) Other – Infants and children shall not be permitted in food preparation areas. Only authorized individuals, necessary for the operation of the food service establishment, or as part of an organized educational event, shall be allowed in the food preparation or utensil washing areas.
(The employee’s son, who served me, was dirty, wearing a regular white tee (right out of school?), and beach sandals. Cleanliness practices are not being followed and this is dangerous and could have caused me health problems.)
To follow is the original email I sent to the Corporate Offices: (I then included my original email)
I was further concerned about how this place did not address the potential dangers and liabilities. This is the response I received and is the reason why I want to ask that the agencies, institutions and entities in charge of setting and maintaining a clean and safe environment for consumers to intervene before someone becomes seriously hurt/sick due to negligent/ignorant practices.
(I then included Monique Collazo’s original email)
* * * I’m in the middle of getting things ready for my relocations so I don’t have a lot of time. I want to send this to every local blog, newspaper and agency possible, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to research. If you guys have a place I can send it to, let me know * * *
February 6, 2014:
Received this email:
Good day Sir:
If you would like to file a formal complaint with our agency, I suggest that you use the attached affidavit.
Robert Pedraza, Mediation Center Lead Worker, Consumer Protection
Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources
I filled out and sent the complaint form.
February 6, 2014: Received another email this time from Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources of Miami-Dade County
Thank you for contacting the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources of Miami-Dade County. This is to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail and to let you know that an Investigative Analyst will contact you directly after analyzing your concerns.
February 6, 2014: One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing:
Thank you for writing to the Department of Health. Your email has been forwarded to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants for follow up. You may also contact them by phone at (850) 487-1395, or visit their website at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/index.html
February 6, 2014: Subway wrote me and they’re not well informed.
Dear Mr. Olivares:
Thank you for taking time to share your comments with us.
In order to better assist you, we need to know the exact location of the SUBWAY® restaurant or nearby landmarks that you have visited so that our Regional Office and Restaurant Owner can research this properly. Please reply by e-mail or call 1-800-888-4848 ext. 8201 with the needed information. Refer to the Customer ID listed below when replying.
I appreciate that you took time and effort to contact us and look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Customer Care Representative
Good afternoon. The store # is 6913 located at 13876 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33184.
I would like to know what steps are taken because despite the fact that I will no longer be a Subway customer, I think that safety and sanitation should be paramount and that is not the case for this store.