Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free Pizza, All You Can Eat Pancakes, and a Baby Car Seat

So, how do you get a free pizza from Papa John's in Chile?

The answer: Not very easily.

So I ws telling another teacher at Grant's about how awesome the Papa John's here is, and how it is exactly like from back home.  We decided to have lunch at my apartment and then exchange teaching ideas.  So here's where the adventure starts:

We arrived at 1:03.  And that's when things started to go downhill.

There are about 5 or 6 employees in the store, 1 of which is taking a phone order, and another of which is making a pizza.  The others are standing around doing nothing.  There are 2 checkstands, 1 of which is only being used, and 1 person in front of us.

The girl took about 10 minutes for her phone order, and she then took the order for the person in front of us.  Then an employee came out from the back (from a break I guess), saw us, and came over to take our order while the rest of them continued to stand around.

We placed our order at 1:14, which was a medium pizza with chicken, tomato, and bacon, along with a cinnapie and 1.5 liter soda, and we proceeded to sit down and chat to pass the time.  At about 1:30 the people in front of us got their pizza, and so I thought that we would get ours soon too.

Well, here is where I was wrong.  At 1:40 the other people finished their pizza and left.  I looked at my watch, and Tim and I decided to wait it out and not be impatient.  Then at 1:45 I went up to the counter and asked about my pizza, pointing out that the other people had already received their, eaten it, and left and that they ordered one minute before us.  They told us that the pizza was "un poco retresado" or "a little delayed".

So then at 1:55 our pizza comes out of the oven.  Keep in mind that there were only 2 other customers in the store besides us.  But that's not the end of it, as we did not have our cinnapie yet.

The cinnapie came out at 2:00.  Once we had everything, I asked to speak to the manager.  The employee went over to him, said something to him, and then came back to tell me that I wasn't getting anything for free.  I then told him that I didn't ask for anything free and asked to speak to the manager a second time.  He then came over, and I explained the entire situation to him.  His explanation was that the computer did not process our order the first time, and I told him that I always received great service before this and asked if he could do anything to make up for the long wait.  He just apoligized and said he couldn't do anything.

Tim and I left pretty annoyed, but we enjoyed our pizza despite that.  After he left, I decided that I was going to write an email to the Papa John's website about what happened.  After I sent it, I then remembered they had a libro de reclamos or complaint book at the store, so I decided to go back to write something in it.

After requesting the book and getting to write about 10 words, a woman (apparently another manager) came up to me and asked what was going on.  I began to explain the situation to her, and she told me that she heard something about it but didn't know the whole story.  So I told her what happened, and it turns out the male manager was still there.  He came over, and I called him on refusing to talk to me the first time.  His eyes turned wide and he denied it, and I simply told them both what happened, and that's the impression I got from the situation.  I also explained that I live within 5 minutes of Telepizza, Domino's, and Pizza Hut, and that I could very well eat there from now on if this is how they were going to treat me as a customer.  While the female manager talked with me a bit more, the male manager wrote out a coupon for a free pizza on a business card and gave it to me, apoligizing for the situation.

Since I started writing in the complaint book I had to finish it, but I changed the message from about how horrible the service was and how badly they responded to it to how they were actually listening to me as a customer and made the situation right. 

But that's not all.

Once I put down the book, the female manager had a piping hot cinnapie packaged up for me to take with me.  So in the end Papa John's and I made up and are on good terms.

So then this takes me to the next logical topic: all you can eat pancakes.  I got an invite on Facebook to an all you can eat pancake breakfast/flea market last Saturday morning, so I decided to check it out.  There were a good amount of gringos there and a lot of English speakers, so it was cool meeting some new people and hearing about their travel adventures.  And I enjoyed real pancakes for the first time in over 8 months.

And then my last (and least logical) topic: the baby car seat that is currently sitting in my apartment.  I woke up this morning, and on my way out the door I noticed something strange on the floor by the sofa.  When I got closer, I realized it was a baby car seat.  At first I didn't think much of it, but then as I was on my way to work I wondered why it was there.  I mean, my male roommate Cristian wouldn't need one since he's single.  And my female roommate Malu has a boyfriend, but she hasn't been pregnant since I saw her a few days ago.  So I am left with a strange feeling like I am in an unfinished Chilean version of The Hangover.

I find that the cultural differences here don't phase me anymore.  I have no problem with pushing my way through a crowded metro or bus to get out.  I am used to my personal bubble being violated in ways you would never imagine in the States.  And the man who was going comando style down the street while wearing shorts that were ripped in half on one side?  Or what about the other one who looked like he was showering in the bathroom of the SchopDog by Estacion Central, even though there were only toilets and urinals there?  I might give these things a passing thought, but they don't phase me much anymore.

My to do list for the next 2 months before flying home:

1. Go to Fantasilandia.
2. Go to El Cajon de Maipo.
3. Complete my Christmas shopping here.
4. Save up enough money for prescription sunglasses that will not get pickpocketed this time.
5. Perfect some of my Magic decks so that I can stay competitive and possibly enter a tournament here.
6. Continue being social in different contexts to get to be more outgoing and practice my Spanish.

I'm sure that there are many more things for this list, but I'm too tired to think of them at the moment.  And pictures will be added to this post once I get around to getting the old camera my dad sent me set up on my laptop.

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