Customer service is an underrated skill. As anyone who has worked in hospitality will tell you, keeping calm while someone yells at you for something that almost certainly wasn’t your fault requires almost monk-like calm and an ability to see past the immediate blind rage that few possess. People who can do it deserve our utmost respect. Most of us fail spectacularly. Case in point, this story about a very angry Subway manager.
This week, the international sandwich franchise were forced to apologise after footage emerged showing one of their employees hitting a customer’s phone as they demanded a refund. Tina Richardson, who both shot the footage and made the original complaint, claims that she visited the Concord, North Carolina shop to purchase lunch for an elderly woman in her care. When she arrived home, she realised that the meal was not what she had ordered. It was then that she returned to the restaurant and the trouble began.
In the footage, a man assumed to be the “owner” is seen angrily approaching Richardson, before swinging a hand towards the camera, knocking it sideways, whilst swearing at her to leave the restaurant. The camera then pans to a crumpled sandwich on the floor, while Richardson explains why what she received was different to what had been advertised. A second employee then emerges and advises that Richardson should “get the f*** out”.
The footage, which has been viewed more than 2.6 million times at the time of writing, advises others to stay away from the establishment, and is captioned, “The owner thinks that it's ok to smack my phone away, smack me in the head and then throw the sandwich (that I was trying to get corrected by refund or store credit) at my head. What has this world come to.”
Speaking to local broadcasters WSOC, Richardson revealed that she plans to file charges against the franchise owner for assault. In a brief interview, she stated, “He doesn’t get to treat anybody like that and that they get somebody into Subway to treat people with respect and fix problems when you’re wrong. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
After footage of the incident circulated around the world, Subway issued a statement, apologising for the manager’s behaviour and revealing that he regretted the altercation. They wrote, “Providing an excellent guest experience is important to us and our expectation is that everyone is treated with respect. The local team has reached out to the guest to apologize on behalf of the restaurant as this incident is inconsistent with the high standards Subway® restaurants requires of its Franchise Owners. The Franchise Owner expressed his regrets for how he handled the situation." Though what caused the incident to escalate in the first place remains unclear, Richardson shows no sign that she intends to back down from filing more serious charges in the future.