Sunday, July 22, 2007

Paddington House of Pancakes @ Hartamas Shopping Centre and Where the Customer is Always Right


Everyone has bad days.

The past 48 hours were a culmination of several irritants which by themselves, wouldn’t have been worse than mosquito bites, but together, became cancerous to my usually pleasant demeanor.

1.

VIPs. On the road, these guys are escorted by police outriders who shoo away the irrelevant, ordinary, unimportant people to create a path, somewhat like the parting of the Red Sea, so that the sparkling, polished, heavily tinted cars carrying their precious cargo can make their way through the clear roads to their destinations, and be damned about the other folk whose lives don’t matter.

I was leaving Sri Hartamas and having a pleasant drive towards the City Centre and was approaching a fork, the left leading to Sungai Buloh/Shah Alam, and the right leading to my chosen destination. Suddenly, I was ambushed by a police outrider who forced me to move to the extreme left lane (i.e. to Sg Buloh) without giving a damn about the fact that there were no U-turns on a major highway.

Mr VIP sir, is my life that unimportant? Am I that dispensable?


2.

I had internet problems and called the service provider’s customer service.

12 midnite

Me: My DSL light is not showing. I can’t connect to the internet.

Customer Service: We’ve taken note of your complaint. Please turn off your modem and turn it on again in 15 minutes after we’ve reset your port. If the problem still persists, please call us back. Have a nice day.

8.30am

Me: I still can’t connect to the internet.

Customer Service: Yes, according to the report, your DSL light is blinking.

Me: No, my DSL light is not even showing. Please amend your report.

Customer Service: OK, will do. Please hold, I’ll connect you to a technician.

(telephone music…sound of sea and waves)

Customer Service: I’m sorry. All our technicians are currently busy. I’ll have one of them call you soon.

Me: When?

Customer Service: In 2 or 3 minutes.

10.00am

Me: Your technician hasn’t called back. I still can’t connect to the internet.

Customer Service: I’ll have a look at your report. Yes, your report says that your DSL light is blinking.

Me: No, I already told you guys that my DSL light is not showing. PLEASE amend your report.

Customer Service: OK. Haha. I guess the previous person didn’t amend the report. I’ll do it now. And hang on, I’ll connect you to the technician.

(telephone music again)

Customer Service: Sorry, they’re all busy. I’ll get one of them to call you back soon.

Me: Can you ask them to get back to me in the next hour please? It’s urgent. (I need to blog)

6.00pm

Me: Your technician hasn’t called me. What does it take to get your technician to call me? My internet connection is still down.

Customer Service: Hang on, I’ll have to look at your report. Uh huh, the report says that your DSL light is blinking.

Me: For the fourth time today, my DSL LIGHT IS NOT BLINKING. IT’S NOT EVEN SHOWING. AND WHY ISN’T YOUR TECHNICIAN RETURNING MY CALL? IS HE PLANNING ON CALLING ME IN THE NEXT DECADE OR SO, AT LEAST?

Customer Service: Hang on, I’ll connect you to our technician.

(background music to calm nerves, sound of birds chirping and sunshine everywhere)

Customer Service: I’m sorry, I can’t get through to the technician. Is it okay if I get him to return your call?

Me: NO, IT'S NOT OKAY. I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR TECHNICIAN NOW. YOU CAN’T GET HIM TO RETURN MY CALL, BECAUSE HE WON’T.

Customer Service: Yes, he will.

Me: When? At midnight when I’m fast asleep?

Customer Service: No, before that.

8.00pm

Customer Service: We’ve just reset your port. Can you try to connect now?

Me: No. I’m not at home. Besides, resetting my port didn’t help the last time.

Customer Service: Well, when you’re at home, do try to connect, and if you can’t, please call us.

The next day, at 12 noon

(ting tong – house bell sounds)

Technician at my doorstep: I’m here to look at your modem. According to your report, your DSL light is blinking and you’re not able to connect to the internet.

Me: Sigh. My DSL light is not showing at all.

Technician: Then why didn’t you say so? If your DSL light is not showing, your modem is fried. You’ll have to get a new modem. I’ll need you to sign this report to verify that I’ve visited you to attend to your problems. Have a nice day!


3.

I picked up The Star at 7.30 in the morning only to see the headlines stating that four of the giant bookstores were not going to carry Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on their bookshelves in protest of the fact that a couple of hypermarkets were selling the book at a much lower price.

Firstly, O great booksellers, I was already intending to pay a visit to your bookstore to purchase the book at the recommended retail price of RM109.90 as I’m a pretty much a lazy person who values her comfort above everything else, and rubbing shoulders with five hundred other people at the hypermarket wasn’t my idea of fun on a Saturday morning.

Instead, arrogance and a sense of self-pity prevailed and a full page ad was taken out by these bookstores. Me, I’m not loyal, you see. If you’re not selling the book, I’m not standing by your side. I’ll just get the book at Borders.

Be reminded of what happened 10 years ago when a huge hypermarket landed on our shores and decided to sell Milo at a much lower price. The local retailers were furious and refused to carry Milo in their shops, protesting against the manufacturer. What they realised later was that water would always find its natural source, and customers would always look for alternatives. The hypermarket which carried Milo at a loss didn’t end up losing; the local retailers wised up and life went on.

Later that morning, I found a tiny bookstore in Bangsar which carried the book at RM69.90. I had a pleasant chat with the lady at the counter, and we both laughed at the big boys. I even managed to get a copy of The Edge there, so all was well.


4.

We were in the mood for pancakes, so we hopped over to Paddington House of Pancakes in Hartamas Shopping Centre for a quick bite. It started out rather promising; the place was awash with sunlight, the white gleaming tabletops a welcome sight to us, 3 starving girls. Paddington was having an offer: Ladies Have It Lucky! Lucky Ladies Get A Dessert Pannekoek With Cinnamon And Sugar At Only RM5.00++ With Any Savoury Pancake Meal.

We were all having savoury pancake meals, and we sure felt lucky, so two of us ordered the RM5 dessert pancake. No problems there.


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Although the Dollar Buckwheat Bruschetta was nice (and certainly, it would be sinful to go wrong with something so simple!), I thought the Fried Pancake filled with Spicy Minced Mexican Beef was rather appalling. The pancake was stuffed with a simple minced beef mix, and the entire dish lacked flavour. Salt was my best friend for the duration of the meal.

Then the trouble started.

We requested for our dessert pancakes to be served. The waitress came back and told us that the offer was one pancake for one bill, so she would have to split our bill into two. I asked if they were charging the same price. She said yes. Okay, no problems there, we figured.

A couple of minutes later, the waitress turned up again and said that her manager said that they couldn’t split the bill into two. And the offer was still the same. One offer per bill. I looked at the sign and sure enough it was a matter of interpretation. What irked me was that we weren’t informed about it earlier, when they were taking our orders that we were only entitled to ONE pancake. What further upset me was that the promotional sign was deliberately misleading. At first glance, it is easy to interpret it as one dessert pancake with one savoury pancake meal. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the fact that the manager was not interested in coming to our table to explain the situation to us and instead sent his pawn to defend the fort.

I was tired of all the lame explanations and cancelled the dessert orders completely.

The manager’s attempt to save the establishment RM5++ has only caused the loss of further business. And a loss of goodwill for the restaurant.

It doesn’t take a marketing person to figure that out.

46 comments:

Henry Yeo said...

poor you...reminds me why Malaysian customer service center sucks!

the restaurant manager probably should work the floor a few more times.

boo_licious said...

Poor dearie, sounds like a horrific weekend, never mind it's almost over. I'm no fan of Paddington - overpriced pancakes and lousy service. Been there twice and vowed never to return ever again!

msiagirl said...

Aww "sayang, sayang"... we had similar connection/communication problems with bt when we moved! aaarghhh - it's those uncaring people we meet who don't even know us that leave a bad taste in our mouths. Their loss. Luckily we meet lots of people who know and appreciate us too :) *hugs*

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

henry:

thanks. Yeah, Malaysian customer service sucks. :-P

Boo:

The one highlight of the weekend is my Harry Potter book. Am now curled up in bed with the book, and a pack of asam boi (not Bald Eagle) to keep me company.

msiagirl:

I'm usually quite nice to ppl in customer service because they probably have to deal with a lot of irrational, nasty ppl, but something was definitely wrong with my streamyx incident.

Yeah, once ppl get to know us, they'll find that we're quite lovable. *ahem*

kat said...

Ooh...I can so feel your frustrations!!

BTW, do you know I have to press Ctrl+ + as your text size is too small for my eyes... hahaha... luckily no problems with viewing your pixes!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

kat, i'm an ol' four-eyes, so I understand your predicament. Have increased the font size and changed the colour. Hope that helps. :-)

Big Pumpkin said...

Hi, I've had a similar experience with Paddington Pancakes. Service was so bad and they just didn't have a clue on how to undo the damage. Needless to say, we've never been back. And then, they get the negative reports whenever somebody is so inclined to try out their joint. I'm surprised they're still open for business!

- t y m j - said...

Honestly, I'm not surprised you got such a service in Paddington's. I've heard many complaints in regards to that particular pancake house and trust me, they're usually about the ridiculous/horrendous service they experienced. I've approached the one @ 1 Utama for a food review before and the so-called "outlet manager" couldn't even converse decently in English. I left my name card and needless to say, she never contacted me back. Don't bother going back there la... :)

boo_licious said...

Yes! Highlight of my weekend too was darling Harry Potter (I can imagine how "hunky" he would be like when he's all grown up) - I practically stayed in the whole Sat just to read it.

Precious Pea said...

Sista, *hughughug*. What a bad day u had. But the tele-conversation was so funny, almost burst into tears. Don't worry sista, this weekend is almost over...am sure you will have a nice week ahead. Cheer up!

wmw said...

Ahhh..."cancel, cancel, go away!" Shoo! Shoo! Now, you have a great week ahead! As for the stores not selling THE book, your opinion is the same as mine. So silly of them!

team bsg said...

aiyo poor poor gal , sometimes u will need a wondeful man( men ?) around to share the Xciting sorrowful quirks( actually f u n s ) such as these then only so u will be at joy / laughter as we always think we know u lyrically are. OK we buy u drink lah.
This paddington fella sounds kinda strange. maybe hes in da wrong place ( and time )...so where was he when u needed him ?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

big pumpkin:

it's funny that they don't bother with service when they're in that industry. so stupid. :-P

tymj:

So many other restaurants have wised up about good service, and here we have a pancake house that's going back into the dungeons. Oh well...their loss...

boo:

Wah...you finished it already?? I haven't, coz I was suddenly hit with the flu bug on Sunday evening and took some drowsy medication that knocked me out! I like how you describe Harry Potter. :-P

Precious Pea:

Huh? Burst into tears?? LOL. Yeah, I'm feeling much better now, thanks! Other than the flu bug, I'm almost okay. :-D

wmw:

Screw those 4 bookstores. I know where to get my books now. :-)

team bsg:

LOL. Paddington fella's loss, eh? Thanks for the offer. Will keep you in mind next time I get screwed (in a bad way! :-P) by anyone.

k.t.x said...

those customer service officers must hv suck so much, u did not take down their names and got sent around the world in search of mr.fix-it-right...lol.

this pancake manager must hv those mentality of juz drawing his monthly pay since that establishment does not belongs to his family....lol. maybe he should proceed to open his own version of roti canai stall(with maple syrup)...lol.

take it easy mate.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

when i 1st ate there and saw that they microwaved my food and passed it off for RM20++ pancakes..i vowed never to step in..and have never stepped in just yet..

i want harry potter! was thinking that since i wouldnt have time to open the book during the weekend, why not just wait till next week to buy..haha..

what happened to fogal?

Pink Elle said...

Oh dear! Hope your week goes much better! Btw, I can't help but agree with you on that VIP one. They, more than anyone else, should sit through the jams like all of us only then they'll understand our grouses! Is it no wonder then that nothing's done about the traffic woes?!

barbie said...

May I add that the pancakes that wrapped the minced meat was all soggy?! Not sure if it's the oil or just vapor. The meat was not too bland for me, but I can get that kind of mince meat anywhere else!

It's ok, at least u managed to get hold of that Harry Potter book by the weekend. I had to wait till today (Monday) b4 I cld finally hold it. *sniff*

Didn't get the papers on Saturday, so I actually didn't know about the stupid boycott. And like you, I wld have actually paid them their stupid RM109.90, if they had wanted to sell it! Thanks for the tip-off though, dahling. Got mine for the RM69.90 too. :-)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

k.t.x:

one of the customer service officers sounded like he was from a foreign based call centre! He didn't understand my Malaysian accent. I'm still looking for my Mr. Fix-It-Right. hehe.

Yeah, what you said about the manager may possibly be true! Some of them don't have a sense of loyalty, and performance, towards the company. I guess the guys doing the hiring aren't really doing their job either.

Nipples:

I think they're still doing the microwaving thing.

Harry Potter - I got mine at Czip Lee (Tel: 03-2287 7699) in Bangsar Baru. Call them up to see if they have stocks. I love their service with a smile. :-)

Fogal - review coming soon. ;-)

pink elle:

Ya lor. If the VIPs had to endure the traffic jams that we have to go through everyday, there'd be a lot of relevant discussions at parliament.

barbie:

thanks!

Hey, don't stay up too late reading Harry Potter ar. Tomorrow, we have a big makan. woohoo!!

jason said...

Aww... so sorry to hear about your horrific weekend. *hugs*

Sometimes, I just wonder if those escort dudes were so serious on their duty, maybe they should escort the ambulance instead.

babe_kl said...

awww sorry to hear all that. i hope you're better today.

Jackson said...

Awww...sayang... let me give u a big kiss to cheer u up..

tigerfish said...

You know what the pancake with minced beef look like- murtabak, no lamb!
I said it coz recently I made something like that. hahahahh!

I've come across (1) many times :( .....aiyoo.....really can make me vomit blood!!!!!

Xiu Long Bao said...

Aiyor, cheer up president!
TM net n paddington are well known for tardy n bad service. Already black listed the latter. The former kenot. Cus I still depend on it to blog :P

Kenny Mah said...

Poor dear, you've had a heckuva weekend, haven't you? No worries, I'll cheer you up later during our lunchtime chats. Tales of Wonder and Mystery awaits ya...

But your experience with Streamyx mirrors my own with Maxis. More of their vendors. Their cust. service hotline was actually quite good but I could have murdered their vendor.

Oh well. Viva la Malaysia! :P

(And I still enjoy living here. Heh. I'm a softie for the familiar.)

sc said...

oh dear, one of those icky pissy weekends. poor lemongrass..only been to paddingtons years back and dont intend to return. well, cheers to a new week, am sure things will be better this week :)

MeiyeN said...

ouch, poor thing!
*hugz* nvm, i am sure today and da rest of da days will not be that bad anymore!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

jason:

Oh, the ambulance guys are pretty efficient in getting through the traffic jams. Quite impressive, I must say!

babe_kl:

thanks dear. Other than the flu, I'm feeling better today. :-)

jackson:

Oooooh....when when? :-P

tigerfish:

ya hor...it does look like murtabak, except that murtabak tastes better. :-)

xiu long bao:

welcome back. :-) yeah, since we're so dependent on TMNet, can't get rid of them. haha.

kenny:

yep, the lunchtime chat sure did cheer me up!! Thanks!!

Yeah, despite it all, gotta love Malaysia. Ain't no place like home. And I believe that will all my heart.

sc and MeiYen:

i hope things will be looking up. :-) But just found out got more work to do, so I guess the moral of the story is that there will always be a balance. :-)

sunshine said...

You sound so frazzled but stomach-churningly FUNNY!!!

(hopped over fr FBB's)

Kenny Mah said...

Just dropped by again to say thanks for the lunchtime chat (no wonder I always hungry one, talking food before eating food how not lah?) and also to add that Paddington might be overrated (or not rated at all given the comments here) but I had a real good time there when I last went.

But then again, I had fantastic company so...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

sunshine:

I'm a natural born comedienne!! Wait till ya meet me. :-P hehe.

kenny:

I always enjoy our lunchtime chats. Yeah, talking about food before lunch isn't a good idea, is it? You're right, sometimes the food may not be that good, but if the company's better, well....it's all good then. ;-)

Argus Lou said...

Talk about penny-wise, pound-foolish for that outlet. Anyway RM5++ is NOT cheap for a simple cinnamon and sugar pancake. I can make three for you for less than RM1, Lyrical. ^_^

Yes, don't we detest businesses that can't see the forest for the trees. The promo thing is supposed to generate more business but, in the end, backfires, with customers leaving with a bad taste in the mouth.

msiagirl said...

Hope you feel better from the flu!see everybodee oso sayang youlah ;)
lovelovelovec

sooyin said...

oh dear, that sounds like a sucky weekend, eh? but all 4 experiences sounds really irritating. i particularly hate hate hate #1.

and that harry potter thingy is absolutely ridiculous. if i didn't reserve my book, i would've still bought it at times for rm100+ coz it's just so near my place. those bookstores made a downright silly decision, really...

hope the rest of the week gets better for you! =))

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

argus:

Is that a promise, dear Zitrongrass? :-D

I guess you wouldn't want to know how much the rest of the tasteless stuff costs. :-P

I guess their managers don't know how to use a promo for their own benefit. Sometimes, I think some of these guys actually moan about getting too many customers. :-)

msiagirl:

I took a whole bunch of medication last night and kay-o'd. It must have helped coz I feel so much better for the crab dinner which I'm going to have tonight. ;-)

sooyin:

I guess a lot of people hate No. 1 too. Grrr. They still make my blood boil.

Harry Potter - heard that the bookstores have decided to sell the books after all. Hahaha. By now, most fans would have already purchased their books. Padan muka.

Hey Sooyin...hope your birthday was good yesterday! Looking forward to reading all about it on your blog. :-)

UnkaLeong said...

I can guarantee you this coming weekend will be fun! Hahaha...

kat said...

I am supposed to meet wmw before I cabut. Would you like to join us? Don't know whether we will actually meet or not, because we have had so many failed attempts!! But we will do our darnest! :D Email me your contact? katclim[at]gmail[dot]com.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

unkaleong:

Can't wait! *wide grin*

kat:

Emailed!

Argus Lou said...

Yes, dear Lyrical -- I will do it for you provided you get me the kitchen, tools and ingredients (while I'm visiting KL next month). We can whip up banana and apple pancakes, too, while we're at it. ;-P
Also, I love eating pancakes with powdered sugar or honey and lemon juice.
Much easier than hand-making roti canai, heh heh.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus, you temptress!!! Will have to see what i have in my kitchen. Sadly, it is rather ill-equipped, which is why I eat out so much. haha. But the thought of those banana and apple pancakes are making me salivate!!! What to do, what to do!

The Cooking Ninja said...

Sorry but I did laugh at your internet problem because it was funny the way you put it. I can imagine you wanting to strangle the technician when he told you that.

Someone gave a Harry Potter spoiler on one of the bloggers' blog :( I'm still waiting for the French version to be out.

SteamyKitchen said...

I hope your days are much better now!

jasmine said...

ooh, sounds like you had a tough weekend but i totally understand. had the same problems trying to get through to streamyx support team and i swear never to frequent the hartamas paddington's anymore. the service is atrocious!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

the cooking ninja:

So I made you laugh? hehe. Yeah, gotta see the humour in things, y'know. Even if it's a Harry Potter spoiler (you poor thang). Why don't you read the english version before the french version comes out? Or do they not sell the english version there?

steamykitchen:

thanks...my week looks better already! :-)

jasmine:

Aah, we share the same sentiments then. To be fair to streamyx, they called me back yesterday to find out if everything was okay. Paddington - hmmph!! Never again.

mama bok said...

Now that's really not good for business..! good thing it doesn't happen here.. but they donch have much to offer here i guess.. as in malaysia.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Mamabok, you're definitely right about that...it's not good for business! Management's just blind. :-P

Honey Star said...

aiyo....everyone is saying the same thing about this place. Service is very very bad.
I had my share of lousy service from Paddington too. Swear never to step food in it again.

I heard house of pancakes is opening soon :D