Had a meeting with the manager of the local McDonald’s this morning. After a year or so of being totally disappointed…well…actually disregarded as a customer, I decided to complain. I’m glad I did. It was appreciated.

Ok, McDonald’s wasn’t my favorite healthy food place. After 14 years of being in Germany and you just start missing a bit of America and look for something which reminds you of the good ol’ USA. Besides, I can walk there in 15 minutes and I figure, if I walk to and from, that’s gotta count toward killing one or two of those calories I put down. So, for the past year or so, I’ve been visiting my local McD’s on a regular basis.

The more I went, the more disappointed I got. I would walk in and stand at the counter with my feet sticking to the “just washed” floor and order from an employee who never once looked me in the eye during the entire transaction. I’ve handed back my tray and asked for another because I didn’t want to be the fourth person who used it in a row without it being washed. I’ve been yelled at not to sit in the McCafé area unless I bought something from the café. I’ve paid 30 cents for ketchup and taken my food home, just to find it was the wrong food. Hmmm. I thought it was just me…the American unrealistically searching for that world-renowned American style customer service which says customer is king. Well…after seeing a young 21-year old German guy grabbing his mobile phone and taking a picture of the kitchen area so he could send it on to his uncle who also owns a McDonald’s…just so the uncle could send the complaint directly to the right person…well…I guess I realized I wasn’t alone. So I decided to complain personally.

Today the manager graciously listened to all of my concerns, looking me in the eye the entire time. He assured me it was not what he wanted for his store and not what McDonald’s wants for their customers. He explained he had parted company with some employees and was doing his best to continue to train the existing and new personnel. Maybe I gave him some additional tips which he can use for supporting the good people he kept. The one thing which made me feel good was that he said, “We don’t have any way to change what we do unless customers speak up.” I’m glad I took the time to share my thoughts as a customer. It wasn’t anonymous, it was face to face and that made a lot of difference for me. I now have a renewed interest in visiting my local McDonald’s. (Still going to walk there, though and not eat an entire meal at supersize…)