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Sad about rudeness at Panini

b
beanbag Mar 9, 2002 11:10 AM

I'm sad to say that I had a rude incident at Panini on Beacon in Cambridge/Somerville -- and I'm doubly sad because the food is generally so good there. They offer a nice policy of giving customers 1 free coffee refill for those who are drinking/eating inside the cafe. However, as I learned today, they're rather draconian about enforcing their policy.

This morning, when I ordered my scone and coffee "FOR HERE", they gave me the scone on a ceramic plate but the coffee in a paper cup (instead of a ceramic one). I didn't say anything about the paper cup, thinking it was an inconsequential mistake. But when I asked for my free refill later, someone who appeared to be a manager there snapped loudly and rudely at me "NO, you can't have a refill - we have a policy -- SEE?" And she walked away. I was stunned by her rudeness, and as I went back to my table and told my friend about it, a fellow customer urged me to go back and tell them that there must have been a mistake. So I went back and gently said to the same woman, "there must have been some mistake... I have been sitting here this whole time, there's my plate at my table, etc.", she finally relented and loudly said, "OK, but this is your first and last time. HERE" and thrust the coffee at me. There were several people in line behind me, which of course, made me feel doubly uncomfortable... and several other staff members, who seemed wholly unconcerned. I would have complained about the rudeness, but I was trying to have a nice catch-up session with my friend, and didn't want to ruin our time over this.

I realize this is a pretty minor incident, but I think it indicates an attitude toward customer service that's deplorable. I've waitressed a lot and know how it feels to be busy and "in the weeds", but there's no excuse for treating customers like this. I'll have to find another place for breakfast goodies.

  1. f
    fatboy Mar 10, 2002 05:53 PM

    You should write a letter to the owner and/or manager saying exactly what you posted.

    1. j
      Jpepin Mar 10, 2002 11:12 AM

      What a shame beanbag that frustration comes out on a good customer. But we're all human so I guess its bound to happen. I wouldn't "cut-off-my-nose-to-spite-my-face". Paninni is a comfortable decent environment for coffee and such. I would just go back, head held high, and make darn sure you get a ceramic mug next time. DON"T LET A HUMAN MUG RUIN YOUR 2ND MUG OF JAVA. Your're the paying customer and you pay that peson's salary!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jpepin
        b
        beanbag Mar 11, 2002 01:09 PM

        I sent a copy of my posting to Panini -- I'll letcha know what happens.

        1. re: beanbag
          b
          beanbag Mar 18, 2002 03:25 PM

          I got a nice response from Panini:

          I am sorry to hear about your experience at Panini. It is very important to me that customers are treated with respect. I am sorry about the response that you got when you explained the situation to the person behind the counter. Judging from the day you sent the e-mail I was able to determine who was working that morning. We talked about the incident and how it should have been handled. Again I apologize and hope this never happens again. Sincerely, Debbie Merriam

          1. re: beanbag
            j
            Joanie Mar 19, 2002 07:13 AM

            I'd think she'd throw in a free latte or something.

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