HR Strange But True!
August 22, 2002

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."

Source: The Journal News of Westchester County, NY

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