No, you aren’t “just” the messenger

A few days ago, Amy and I grabbed dinner at a restaurant chain that offers online ordering, and delivers to your car at designated spots in their parking lot. I’ve enjoyed going to this restaurant occasionally for at least 15 years.

We arrived four minutes early, and called their phone number (as instructed), then waited.

Fiften minutes passed before we decided to call again.

I remember “Jane” asking the name on our order, even though we just told them. They would send “Jack” out to our car. Before “Jane” had a chance to hang up, Amy asked in a polite tone why it was taking awhile.

I just answer the phone and I’m the messenger.

(Also: It was hectic, and although “Jane” offered a drink for the trouble, we never got a sincere apology from her.)

From our perspective, we were under the assumption that our food was ready 15–20 minutes earlier. Add the ten minutes needed to drive home, and I’m not sure it’d be in good shape anymore.

“Jack” brought out our food. While pointing to a sign in front of our car, this statement was the first thing I remember when asking him what happened:

You’re supposed to call when you get here.

How would you feel if you followed instructions, only to be subtly scolded?

Amy politely held out her phone to show that we called three times1.

Oh, that’s weird. We didn’t hear anything about it! I do apologize for that.

Again, we asked about the food and how long it was sitting there. “Jack” felt the outside of the bag and said it felt warm, but we could check, or ask to see the manager to get it remade or get it “comped”. We mentioned where we lived (to describe how long it’d take for us to get home), and he showed some sort of false empathy.

Oh yeah, me too.

(Wait. What?)

Yes, bring your leader to us because you’re doing it wrong. (I didn’t say that out loud.)

“Judith” walked out to our car a few minutes later. She was super nice, listened to our brief story (experience), asked us if we’d like our food to be remade, and asked if we’d like something else. We already requested a drink, but didn’t ask for anything else.2

We were curious if “Jane” would come out personally to apologize. She didn’t.

“Judith” came back out ten minutes later with our order, plus a piece of cake for dessert, and was very apologetic again.

On the drive home, I joked to Amy to “prepare our bowels for rage”. Fortunately, the food was great.3 😀


“Jane” — Your primary job is to help customers with their needs, and your method is answering phones and making sure colleagues bring out the orders. We understand. Since we didn’t get our grub, be proactive to help customers with their needs. Check how long our order has been waiting, then start a new, urgent order—if we were okay with it—rather than send “Jack” out with food that’s been sitting for 15–20 minutes. If you weren’t empowered or able to do that, skip right to the manager (not “Jack”) and brief them on the situation along with your proposal. (e.g. “‘Judith’, can we remake this order since it’s been sitting for a long time? The customer has been waiting for 20 minutes.”). Also, listen, and don’t be defensive.

“Jack” — Don’t make assumptions. Ask us what happened, and listen.

“Jack” and “Jane” — How would you feel if you received this kind of treatment? Consider and use those feelings to help guide your actions towards the right resolution. (Empathy!)

“Judith” et al. — Evaluate the process of this service by walking through all the steps. Determine and fix/minimize any gaps, especially when things are busy. Teach employees to listen. If possible, empower employees with the ability to make things right.4 It’ll give them the opportunity to learn and take responsibility for themselves.

  1. When Amy called the second time, they answered and hung up. 
  2.  I don’t remember if we brought up asking for the meal to be “comped” when “Judith” saw us. At this point, we had been there for about 30 minutes. 
  3.  I’m glad there didn’t appear to be a behind-the-scenes experience as depicted in the comedy film, Waiting. 😀 
  4. We never said, “Don’t send ‘Jane’ out here or we’ll go ballistic,” so use that opening to make things right with us. 

Apple Family Sharing woes

When trying to accept the invite to Family Sharing on Amy’s phone, I’m stuck at the step “Share your location with your family”. Trying to continue with either of the two available options (Share Your Location, or Not Now) results with:

Cannot Complete Action

This action cannot be completed at this time.

Sadly, I’m not finding any solutions when searching DuckDuckGo or Google with the terms:

“cannot complete action” “family sharing” apple

Looks like I need call Apple Support. I’ll make sure to update this post. 🙁

Update 2015-11-24 16:25 PST: Amy just upgraded from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 6. Fortunately, she was able to accept the invite this time! 🙌

PayPal, I’d like to use my password manager

After news broke of the eBay security breach, I updated my account passwords for eBay and PayPal1.

With my trusty password manager, KeePassX, I cloned my current PayPal entry in preparation to generate a new password. To my horror, I saw the following password requirement pop–up:

Screenshot: PayPal change password screen

I’d like to use much more than 20 characters, and not be able to easily type my password. Kthxbai. 🙂

  1. PayPal is owned by eBay Inc. 

Don’t trust Amazon’s automotive part finder

Several months ago, I ordered a FRAM CF8392A Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter for Amy’s 2009 Toyota Corolla. Amazon’s part finder indicated that it would fit the car.

After checking FRAM’s official site, the correct one is the FRAM CF10285 Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter.

Sadly, I didn’t read the Amazon customer reviews for the CF8392A; at least one person left a comment that it would not fit a 2009 Corolla.

Another bummer — I can’t sell the brand new filter (which won’t fit our cars) on Amazon:

Please note: The item for which you have attempted to create a listing is a restricted item.

I’ll list the FRAM CF8392A Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter on eBay soon enough, but hopefully someone contacts me directly for it. 😛

Tortilla Jo's in Anaheim doesn't want money

We will never attempt to dine at Tortilla Jo’s again.[1. I haven’t given their food a chance, but after you finish reading this, can you blame me?]

Last Wednesday, I went to the House of Blues (Anaheim) for Scream It Like You Mean It featuring Silverstein and Emery. We got there a bit early to grab dinner before doors open.

We randomly chose Tortilla Jo’s.

There weren’t many customers, so we were seated quickly. The host gave us menus, someone else brought us chips and salsa, and…that’s it.

About 5-7 minutes later, the host that sat us asked, “Are you done looking at the menus?”

“Yes,” I replied.

He took them and walked away. There wasn’t an employee that offered us water or took our order. I counted at least twenty times where an employee or manager[2. I think he was the manager because he was wearing a long sleeve dress shirt.] walked by our table. Nobody acknowledged us.

After being there for 23 minutes, we left. (I know the photo shows 18 minutes, but we were there for about five minutes before I started my stopwatch.)

I didn’t want to say anything because of principle. We waited until after the concert for In-N-Out (La Mirada) on our way home — six hours later.

We will never attempt to dine at Tortilla Jo’s again.

Confused Twitter users and cluttered @replies

My first name is my Twitter username (@bryan). I love that!


  • New users don’t realize that you need to input the exact username.
  • Spammers know they can flood your @replies tab. (Of course, you can easily block and report them as spam.)

Tip: I understand that many Twitter users have difficult names to spell. Don’t rely on your memory. On the website, hover over the message you want to reply to and click “reply.” (End tip.)

At the time of this writing, the last four pages of my @replies tab only has nineteen legitimate @replies to me. (Well, technically fourteen because five are mine.[1. I sign my Twitter updates from @scarletparadigm with @bryan.])

Each page has twenty (20) Twitter updates. So, if I use fourteen in my math, 17.5% of 80 @replies are from Twitter users who don’t know how to @reply their friends correctly.

I’m leaning toward blocking repeat idiots offenders, but that’d take a lot of work. Maybe I should block anyone who can’t @reply properly. Is that too harsh?

How do you deal, if at all?

If you’re in your RSS reader, please click through to vote in my [unscientific] poll, and feel free to elaborate in the comments. (If your URL seems suspicious, I’ll remove it.)

Do you block people who can’t @reply on Twitter correctly?customer surveys

Update 2010-07-07: Derek Powazek wrote “Press the Magic Button” the same day I wrote this. I feel like he was reading my mind.