After 16 years as a waitress at the Friendly's restaurant in Mount Kisco, NY,
Maureen Kennedy accumulated many loyal customers, who loved her service. Not
among them, apparently, was the "mystery shopper" that Friendly's
sent into the restaurant one day to rate her performance.
Friendly's, like an increasing number of businesses, had the customer fill
out a two-page review form. To one of the questions - "Did you receive
your breakfast entree within 10 minutes of time of order?" - the customer
replied, "It took 11 minutes." Despite the customer otherwise describing
Kennedy as "very nice" and noting that she had a lot of tables to
handle and apologized frequently for the delays, that extra minute cost the
60-year-old waitress, who earns $3.30 an hour plus tips, a three-day suspension.
Rather than take the indignity of the suspension, she has resigned - prompting
a story in the local newspaper that lays out what happened to Kennedy and carries
quote after quote from angry customers.
Kennedy maintained that management should have taken into account understaffing
at the restaurant that day. And in her resignation letter to John L. Cutter,
president and chief operating officer of the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation
in Wilbraham, Mass., Kennedy said there should be some kind of appeal for employees
who are scored unfavorably by mystery shoppers. She wrote that she had asked
for her suspension to be reviewed, but to no avail.
"I have met some lovely people and have developed many friendships among
the thousands of customers I've served," Kennedy wrote in her resignation
letter. "If management were as tolerant and understanding as the customers,
Friendly's could indeed be a friendly place to work."
The Journal News of Westchester County, NY