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Monday, September 13, 2010

SM, Shape Up!

September 11. SM Save More sold to me a bar of chocolate reeking with worms, live, kick-ass worms.

I went to that SM-operated Save More Supermarket at Festival Mall in Alabang for some groceries. Because of my two nephews, I had to pick up some pasalubong, too. I decided to get two chocolate bars - 35 grams, brown packaging, rice crispies with Bon Bon in the label.

Fastforward to home. I handed the bars to my nephews - a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old.

I went up to my room to change when suddenly my brother, the father of the 4-year-old shouted at the stairs' landing. "Ate, yung tsokolate, may MGA uuod!"

Hurriedly, I went down. My brother handed me the chocolate bar. There in my hand, a bar of chocolate with squirmy, squiggly, wriggling worms, jumping, almost flying out of the bar. I haven't seen so many active worms coming from one source. My hair stood on end.

My 4-year-old nephew had just put that abominable thing in his mouth and ate and swallowed a bite of it! Whoever caused that to happen should go to hell!

I should have video-d it. But I decided against it. Why expose others to the experience of something so gross? All because a multi-billion-peso business is downright careless and inefficient?

I called Save More Customer Service to report the incident. The usual stuff. They're sorry for the inconvenience but I can return the item and they will replace it with the same or another with the same price: P17.50. I know I'm a Scrooge, but I know my money's and my family's worth. Fine!

That's it? I was poisoned by a quarter of a bowl of stir-fried noodles from this resto chain a few months ago and there was not a trace of worm in it. What more with this chocolate bar with an over-population of worms in and out of it?

That I observe my nephew within 24 hours and if something happens...What the hell is that suggestion?

I told the customer service rep that I was not willing to just observe. That I would have my nephew sent to the doctor for check-up before any cause for alarm shows up.

Then Save More has to pay for that check-up.

The rep talked to another at the background. It was OK to proceed with the check up. If results from the test show that the cause of my nephew's illness (granted he got sick after that incident) is the chocolate bar, they will have their "nurse" verify the results. Double WTF!

One thing was clear, they would only pay for the doctor's fee if my nephew could prove that he got sick because of the chocolate bar with worms he's eaten.

What I mean is, I will have to send him to the doctor when there isn't supposed to be any need to, but because he ate your wormy chocolate bar...

I was getting impatient getting my message across.

After a decade, they got the message and told me I can send the bills to them and they will reimburse! Hallelujah!

Unbelievable! SM is one of the most successful businesses in this part of the world and they have this kind of standard operating procedures when they mess up!

SM runs its business like a sari-sari store. With all due respect to the Aling Nene's, 2 Sisters' and Basta Sari-Sari stores out there.

Yes, I agree, all companies mess up at one time or another. All businesses have bad days sometimes. The company I work for isn't an exception. But SM is so up there, so rich up there, so successful up there, and yet. And yet they couldn't come up with decent replies to customer complaints. Food rots. Food gets stale over time. They should have perfected handling and storage, more than anything else. That's the pillar of their business. But even in an almost perfect environment, food does spoil. And SM needs only to prepare a sound how-to-deal-with-customer-complaints procedures and a good script of apology when shit happens. I guess, SM will not be bothered with that anymore. They have reached beyond-god status. So they think.

The next day, I returned to Save More only to be exposed to another unbelievable experience yet again.

That on the next blog.