Authored by Raquel Guarino
The end of the year is a great time to look back on what's happened in the past 12 months and reflect. In this case, we decided to reflect on all no-good, horrible, very bad customer service incidents that happened this past year! Here are the worst customer service stories of 2018 (Spoiler Alert: airlines did not fare well).
Worm Gate at the Jersey Shore
Things got a little squirmy at one restaurant in Asbury Park, New Jersey. An unlucky diner said they noticed a worm in their aunt's codfish dinner at Stella Marina, a swanky seafood restaurant on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The customer, who was clearly not very happy with their still-alive dinner, recorded the wiggling worm. The video went viral on Facebook and got over 100,000 views.
What happened next made the situation even uglier: the restaurant issued a statement accusing the customer of trying to ruin the restaurant's reputation. The restaurant dismissed the video as an "irresponsible reaction of an attorney of law to attempt to destroy our reputation & possible livelihoods due to something that could have happened to anyone, whether cooking at home or in a restaurant."
Southwest Forgets Its Heart
A Southwest Airlines flight had to make a U-turn after the airline realized they left a human heart in the cargo when it should have been unloaded. The flight, which was on the way to Dallas, was forced to turn around and bring the organ back to Seattle, the intended destination. While the purpose of the heart's journey wasn't clear, airline officials say the heart was a "life-critical cargo shipment." The viability of the heart after the added three hour flight is still unknown at the time of this posting.
Dog Dies In Overhead Bin
2017 wasn't a great year for United Airlines, and unfortunately the following year had its fair share of issues as well. Airline officials confirmed that a dog died in the overhead compartment of a United Airlines plane after a customer was allegedly instructed to put the dog in the overhead bin. Witnesses say the black French bulldog was in a pet carrier when a flight attendant told an unnamed passenger that if the dog remained on the floor, it would be an emergency hazard. The passenger allegedly insisted that she couldn't put her dog in the bin, but eventually she complied. The dog died during the flight. United Airlines apologized for the incident and said they "assume full responsibility" for the tragedy.
Men Arrested For Staying at Starbucks
Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on suspicion of trespassing after they used the bathroom and sat down at a table without purchasing anything. The men say they were waiting on another man to join them for a meeting. After a fury of criticism from the media and activist groups like Black Lives Matter, Starbucks did not press charges. The prosecutor's office of Philadelphia also declined pressing charges due to a "lack of evidence." After the incident, Starbucks apologized for the incident and committed to retraining its employees for racial sensitivity.
Woman in Wheelchair Abandoned at Airport
American Airlines confirmed an investigation was underway to determine how and why a woman in a wheelchair was abandoned at O'Hare Airport in November. Olimpia Warsaw was heading to Detroit after attending her ex-husband's funeral. She was assigned a porter when she arrived at the airport. However when her flight was canceled, the porter left without finding a way to get her to a hotel. Warsaw was then left stranded at the airport because she couldn't properly communicate with her family at the time. In addition to a porter abandoning Warsaw, American Airlines lost her luggage on her flight to the funeral in Chicago. She was forced to buy new clothes due to the inconvenience.
Can you think of any stories to top these? Tell us your favorite customer service fails in the comments below.