It’s been a while since my girls and I went out with Quinn, our one-year old Boston Terrier, in tow. I attended our weekly discipleship group/Bible study meeting earlier and while my women’s group was studying, my girls were playing with dear Quinn. After the meeting, we headed to the park, which was just outside the church building, and let Quinn walk. We decided to have lunch then at one of the nearest fast food restaurants, one with a famous “bee” for its mascots.
It’s been more than a month since we dropped by the place and we really missed their famous chicken. As we were eating, Quinn stayed under the table. As usual, Lil Sis was the last to finish her food and I had to help her with it. Of course, it shouldn’t take me long to finish it, so I told my girls to get ready, we would leave as soon as I was done. I was about to put into my mouth the last forkful of spaghetti when my 12-year old daughter picked up Quinn and cradled her in her lap. I have to admit that we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and we were having a good time just hanging out as a family until their security guard appeared and demanded that we bring out “the dog” right at that moment too. Needless to say, all the beautiful memories we were trying to create (with our dear pet) just vanished.
For the record, it wasn’t our first time to eat at this establishment with Quinn. We’ve done so once, when Quinn was much younger. Just like in the past, they allowed us to enter their establishment. This time, one of their crew even helped me bring our food to our table and he saw Quinn, who was still playing then with my girls on the bench. Moreover, Quinn never made a sound nor begged for food from anyone–she just sat quietly under the table eating a bowl of dog food that we have packed while we ate too.
I made sure that Quinn stayed under the table out of consideration for the other patrons who might have allergies to dogs–even if we were seated in a booth, away from the others. It was also one way to avoid having her get excited over the smell of their chicken. Who knows if it would also give joy to an only-dog-food-eating sweet canine like Quinn? And yes, Quinn wears doggie diapers all the time whenever we’re out with her, regardless of the stash of doggie bags we always bring.
I explained then to the burly guard that he need not throw us out. I held up my forkful of spaghetti for him to see and realize that I was still eating, but also told him that we’re about to go as I was almost finished with my food. To my dismay, he continued to talk loudly as if what he had to say was important to the whole world, telling us that animals are not allowed in their establishment and that’s a city ordinance.
I was shocked by the manner he talked to us, enraged for trying to humiliate us and for even thinking that our Quinn, or any pet for that matter, was not worthy to be part of the company of humans. (Well, that’s the impression he gave us, at least.) Quinn didn’t even bark at him despite his uncalled for display of aggression, and a part of me wished that Quinn was a feral dog and would at least snarl at the uncouth man before us.
Seeing that it was pointless to talk some sense into him no matter how amicable I tried to be, I then asked for an audience with the store manager, whose nameplate said his name was Vinz. Vinz certainly stalled; we had already put all our plates in a tray–a habit we have formed when eating at fast food restaurants as a consideration to their hardworking crew who get meager paychecks–and we were ready to go when he came to our table.
I wish I could tell you that this so-called manager apologized sincerely. But I couldn’t. He didn’t. He just asked nonchalantly what the problem was. I recounted to him everything that transpired, from the moment we entered the establishment up to how their security guard told us to get out. I asked him to look at our dog. I told him that Quinn, though only a dog, was obviously much more behaved and well-mannered than some people (including them).
And his only reply was, “Have you eaten? Would you like to order?” then moved our tray of empty plates to another table.
Obviously, he wasn’t paying attention to a word I said. I pointed out to him our empty plates. I even took out our receipts and put them on the tray for him to see. I then reiterated to him–and loud enough for the ones seated at the nearby tables to hear–that if pets are not welcome in their establishment, they should put a huge sign by the door to warn all pet lovers not to visit or even dare bring their furry friends to their store. I told them that their patrons must not also be allowed to enter their store at all if they have their pets with them, only to interrupt them while eating and order them to get out.
I tried to make the man put himself in my shoes, asked him how it would feel to have been welcomed into the establishment, then just when he’s about to finish his food, get harassed by the security personnel in front of other people. But I must have failed. No sincere apology came out of his lips. He looked like he’d rather be anywhere else but there. He tried offering an excuse by saying that pets were no longer allowed in their store, and that was all. He tried to be nice by asking if we would like to order anything, even if I had already pointed out to him that the empty plates in front of us were ours. Without actually saying it, he was telling us that we really should not be there with our dog, and there’s nothing he could do for us.
Sadly, I had fond memories of growing up and going to this famous Filipino fast food restaurant with my family and friends. I even made sure that both of my daughters celebrated their first birthdays there. One of my very close relatives even works for them, has been employed by them for decades now, and currently holds a managerial position at one of their stores and previously, at their corporate office. I know the situation could have been taken care of easily if I had just dialed his number that very moment and told him about it, but I’d rather not bother him. I was curious to see what this manager is capable of doing in terms of good customer service. And, in my (and my daughters’) eyes, he failed miserably.
The lack of empathy both the low-ranking and high-ranking personnel had displayed was truly appalling. If only our Quinn could speak and wasn’t so well-mannered, I bet she would bark out every syllable and would say that this is one area where Jollibee truly sucks.
It’s interesting that my 10-year old daughter had this observation as we were leaving the place: Why do they hate animals when they are represented by a bee? Isn’t a bee part of the animal kingdom?
I rest my case.
Addendum. It’s 12 September 2016 now, months since the incident took place. We have already gone back to this same branch of Jollibee along Zapote-Alabang Road in Madrigal, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, as well as their other branches to dine. That is, even if we never received any apology from them over the incident.