Hey, Inferno Pizzeria, you suck.

I had some friends over last night, and we decided to check out Inferno Pizzeria. Inferno has had a shop on Campbell Ave for a very long time (at two different locations), so I was aware of the brand. I just never made that commitment to give them a shot before last evening. I’m pretty sorry that I did.

I never intended to make this a blog post. I went to the Inferno Pizzeria website to look for a way to send an email in to voice my complaint, and found their contact form. I wanted to give them a chance to win me over for another shot because this one visit could be atypical. The food was adequate in spite of the problems, so I wasn’t opposed to giving them a second shot if I had some reassurance this wasn’t the norm. After using the website, I’m throwing in the towel.

The site is a disaster. I’m reading into it that it sucks the same way their staff in the Troy location does because the management is a complete shit-show. I assume the captcha expired while I was typing my complaint, because it told me it was invalid upon submission. On the next load, the same captcha appeared. Again, it was incorrect.

Hitting the refresh button next to it did not load a new captcha image. I refreshed the page, and again the same captcha came up. Why? Because you’re setting the expire header for four months in the future, which is well outside of the timeout in place. You’ve effectively made it so no one can contact you through your contact form unless their message is somehow fitting through the grace period of the unknown captcha timeout. Might as well take the fucking thing down.

I’m posting my complaint as an open letter since I cannot send it through their form. I’d call the store later on, but I’m concerned that I’d get the same person that I dealt with last night. I cannot perceive her handling a complaint well when she can’t handle her normal activities with any aptitude.

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I ordered from you for the first time tonight, and I need to comment on the horrid customer service I received.

The first nit-picky thing I need to point out is that I ordered boneless wings, but I received chicken tenders. It’s only a dollar difference, but there was no mention of the substitution at all. I can live with wasting the buck, but it’s mildly annoying. I blame myself for not checking the order before leaving, but at the point we were done with the transaction, I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

The major portion of this grievance was the cashier. When she took my order over the phone, I was told it would take 35-40 minutes for the food to be ready for pickup. I showed up after 30 minutes to be on the safe side, and my food was already sitting on the counter waiting. When I asked how long my food was ready, she told me about ten minutes. I inquired about the discrepancy, and she snarkily informed me that timeframe was for delivery, and pickup was 15-20 minutes. I don’t understand how I would know that, since I’m not an employee, nor have I ever ordered from you before. Is the knowledge to contradict your employee’s misinformation innately possessed by other people? Did I somehow miss out on that?

Before giving me my total and cashing me out, she excused herself from our interaction to answer the phone. Instead of following through with my expectation of placing the caller on hold to handle the customer at her counter, she took an entire order, first quoting prices for multiple menu items.

As soon as she hung up, the phone rang again. For a second time, she entered an order while I stood there waiting, with my food on the counter.

To my chagrin, this happened a third time. Again, this was a price inquiry and a lengthy call. I tried to interject between her line swapping, but each time I was greeted with a cold glare and a quick turn toward the screen as she answered the next call. By the fourth call, she was clearly shirking eye-contact by bobbing behind the monitor between us.

While the fourth call was happening, two additional employees walked around behind her. I made eye contact with each of them, and motioned in succession for one of them to come over to me. They both broke eye contact and walked away. One went so far as to leave the building through the rear door without a second glance. At this point, I turned to my friends and remarked about the lack of attention. I may have missed a fifth call during that exchange.

When your cashier was finally done with the phone, I asked if she even wanted to take my money. “Yeah, sorry, the phones have been dead all day, but now they’re going crazy.”

Right, so you’ve had few customers, but one that’s standing a foot away, with cash in his hand, matters not. Exceptional customer service. I’ve waited a few hours to write this, to make sure I was doing so with a clear head, and I’m still shocked that this is the experience you want to present to your customers. I cannot imagine instilling, in a customer service employee, the desire to please potential customers on the phone rather than taking care of the ones already in the building waiting to pay for their food.

The food that has been waiting for at least fifteen minutes at this point, at no fault of their own, mind you.

I wasn’t watching the time, so I only have a vague estimate of how long it took to pay. It’s somewhere between five and six minutes. We were in the building long enough to watch the announcement of the impending Final Jeopardy question, the commercials between it and said question, the results, the credits, and the intro to the next show. Absurd.

I’ve worked as a service professional in the web design industry for ten years, and before that I worked as a customer service manager at various retail stores. I cannot imagine breaking up a conversation with a client or customer in my presence to take a phone call and handle other business in front of them. In your fast-paced world, I’d expect the employee to ask the person on the phone to be placed on hold momentarily, or ask them if they’d like to call back in a few minutes. It shouldn’t take me five minutes (conservatively) to walk in with cash and walk out with food that has been waiting for ten minutes. There wasn’t even another customer in line before us!

To top it all off, she provided incorrect change for the transaction. I received sixty cents, when I was due only fifty-nine. Guess I’m not down a whole dollar for the tenders swap. The small victories of life, right?

Have fun balancing your till, and I’ll enjoy my pizza and wings — sorry, tenders — from another establishment.

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Keith

I am Keith J. Frank, an overweight, acerbic, narcissistic, and sometimes lovable asshole that was born in June of 1983.

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