As per the letter we contacted Wegmans with :
Our family was very excited to learn that the Harrisburg PA location was hosting a demonstration and book signing of one of our all time favorite childrens' authors Jan Brett. We made plans for the hour and a half drive with our family to arrive there and eat dinner. Since its always a treat to eat those delicious hoagies from the sub shop. However our evening that started out as a fun field trip was quickly ruined by one of you rude employees. Please let me fill you in on the events that took place and for the reason I am writing this complaint.
We got to your Harrisburg location around 4:45pm on Thursday , it was getting pretty full of other families looking forward to the event. We immediately noticed her beautiful tour bus parked outside as we walked up to the cafe entrance. We took time to take a family picture in front of it with our 4 children. Their ages 6,3,2 yrs and 9 months. We headed inside the cafe to find that Jan Brett was actually doing her demonstration in larger 2/3 of your cafe. The remaining 1/3 was occupied with parents waiting as their children listened to Jan talk. It seemed like a great turnout for her. We walked towards the books for sale and were told the book signing tickets had been sold out but we were welcome to look and and purchase books and listen to Jan speak. That was fine with us. We made our way to the books and I purchased Jans newest book Cinders. We eagerly listened to her speak and then my family decided we wanted to grab some food and a seat before the end of the presentation.
After we ordered and paid for our food we made our way back to the cafe area. To our surprise there was not a big enough seating arrangement for our family of 6. There were lots of people sitting and chatting and some drinking coffee, some eating. We walked back out to the coffee area near the entrance of the store as we had spotted some tables earlier as we paid for our meal. We thought we might be able to arrange something for our family there to sit and eat. No such luck, it was also full and we decided the high cafe chairs were no place for our 3 and 2 yr old. So we walked back to the cafe again hoping that maybe a table might be available. By this time the demonstration was over and people were flooding out into the store, it was apparent that it was getting sorta chaotic obviously there were no seats to sit and eat. All the seats were taken up. Most by people now waiting for book signing tickets to be called. Not using the cafe to eat, but to sit and talk. We made our way back and noticed a man and his two sons sitting on the floor in a corner of your Beer corral eating quietly on the floor, located adjacent to the cafe. They seemed to be undisturbed and we joined them. Our family sat against the one wall closest to the wall of the cafe. We got plates for our children and dispersed their food. They sat and ate quietly. I fed our 9 month old as I too sat on the floor next to my 2 yr old. My husband stood eating his sandwich on the other end of our daughters. Two customers looking to purchase beer walked past us and we excused ourselves and scooted closer to the wall. All the replies of the 2 shoppers were " oh your okay" " dont worry your not in the way" . We went back to eating and feeding our family before we headed 1 and a half hours back. In the meantime the man and his children finished up and left. About 10 minutes into our dinner a woman employee in a green shirt along with 3 or 4 other men employees appeared over my shoulder , pointing at our family and saying " look at this, people cant even purchase beer" and walking away. Im sure she was saying other things but I couldnt make them out. But I know she was really concerned that "her" customers "couldnt even purchase beer" obviously more then possibly helping our family find a seat. They left and we continued to eat, a bit faster but children only eat so fast.
About 5 mintues later the woman employee in the green shirt came back, this time with a harsh escalating voice and looking me in the eye as I sat feeding my baby said " you really need to hurry up and eat so you can get out of here, because what your doing right now is illegal" going on about how customers cant purchase beer and so forth.... I looked up at her and said " Im sorry the cafe is full as you can see, and there is no place for us to sit, if you know where we can go we would most certainly go sit at a table" … She spun around cutting me off and mumbled something and marched back out to the entrance door to the beer corral where she stood guard . I stood up and asked who her manager was. She seemed flustered to be confronted and said that his name was Bob and I could probably find him at customer service. So I took myself up to your customer service and explained I wanted to talk to the store manager. A very kind young woman at customer service called the manager forward. I talked to Josh and explained that we traveled here for the book signing and to eat dinner, the cafe availability was nill and we located ourselves in a out of the way location because there was literally no place to sit. I told him Im trying to feed my children and was approached not once but twice and harassed by the woman that was now standing guard where my family was eating. Josh explained that he was already alerted to the issue of us sitting there and then shortly thereafter the call came to him that I was requesting to talk to a manager. He said it was a chaotic day and that he knows seating is hard to find. As we walked back to where my family was sitting we talked about how hard it can be with little children when you go somewhere to eat and how unacceptable it was for this woman employee to tell us to hurry up and eat and "get out". He asked what her name was and I said I didnt know it but would point her out to him. As we got back to the beer corral she hadnt moved from the doorway and I pointed her out. I asked for Joshs name and the female employees name . She starred me down as I made my way back to my family. By this time they had finished their sandwiches, my husband had cleaned up the food and papers and they were waiting for me so we could head out, there was also another Wegmans employee standing and carrying on a friendly conversation with my husband when I got back. We occupied this space for maybe 15 minutes tops, we didnt open or finish our drinks or chips or dessert, which we ended up eating when we got home. Before we left I took pictures of where we were sitting, Kam standing at the door where she stood a great majority of the time, along with three shots of the 1/3 of the completely packed seating area that was available to all of your customers to sit, as well as the other wing of your cafe that was also packed with Jan Brett enthusiasts and Wegmans customers. On the way out Josh was waiting at the exit door. He apologized again and said that its just so chaotic and so on, he said that he told Kam "its not what you say, its how you say it" that seemed like perfect advice for her, but maybe a class in customer relations was in store? He was overly apologetic and we talked a bit again about the situation. Then said good evening and headed home.
While Josh gets a A+ in our book for manager and apologizing, we feel that Kam should have been the one apologizing to our family! Her inappropriateness and continued harassment was obviously completely uncalled for. While she might feel that by her harsh words to my family she was taking charge of the situation she was only making Wegmans and herself look silly. We love shopping at Wegmans and frequently do at your Williamsport location which is closer for our family. We know how you emphasis family friendliness at your stores and enjoy the regular accommodations such as little fold down stools in the bathrooms for children to wash hands, and those little seats in the stalls for moms of many! Hosting a well known children s book author at your many locations is also very awesome! As well as the childcare thats provided in some stores for shoppers children and neat kiddie shopping carts. All showing you are a very family friendly store at the core and care about your customers experience at your stores. And id like to think that that would spill over into the employees you hire to interact with your customers, Kam however showed otherwise last night.
We deeply understand that something like that will get chaotic. Space may get limited, this is not your customers fault. Being told that we are " illegal" for sitting quietly , out of the way on the floor when there was NO place to sit was completely ridiculous. I would say the total limit of people in that cafe area at that time vs the acceptable fire code limit was closer to illegal then what my family was doing. Id like to think that instead of speaking such harsh words at my family that finding a table, maybe one of the dozen or so tables that were turned upside down alongside the cafe side wall that Jan Brett was on would have been a better way to handle it. Or if it was such a huge issue , open the employee lounge to us or something? Ultimately if you dont want us to sit here, then we would have gladly moved to a available table. But nothing was offered to us nor open. I picked up a little business card at customer service while waiting for Josh, its said that your open to comments. Here is my advice: if you dont have the room to host a event like that, AND continue to accommodate your regular customers and those attending the event. Maybe other accommodations ( a large heated tent outside, allowing the cafe seating area to remain available) should be made or not host the event at all. What would you have done if a bus tour or sports team would have stopped in at that time to eat? Where would they have ate? Would you feel comfortable telling them to go eat back in their car/bus?
In conclusion I am requesting a genuine apology not from the manager of the Harrisburg store as Josh had already did that , but rather from Kam. To my entire family, myself , my husband and my children. The way she handled herself as a employee to Wegmans is unprofessional and undeserving. She made no effort to find a table for us not usher those taking seats and not eating in the cafe in order for those that purchased food to eat at. It was more important for her to loudly announce her dissatisfaction over us impeding her sales of beer. The cashiers outside the beer corral were definitely aware of the situation as well as other customers checking out, by the volume of her voice. She created a spectacle of my family. Yet she did not try once to remedy it that we were aware of. A apology from her directly is the correct thing to do
I am still awaiting a response.
Product or Service Mentioned: Wegmans Sandwich.