Sunday, February 14, 2010

Malts vs. Shakes

On the evening of Tuesday, Feb 2, I went to the nearest Sonic Drive-In to take advantage of their Tuesday night half-priced burger special and included a pineapple malt in my order. To ensure that I got a malt and not a shake, I said, "That's a pineapple malt, not a shake."

"They're the same thing," came from the voice in the box.

Surely, I didn't hear that correctly. "I want one pineapple malt. I do not want a shake," I said.

"Shakes and malts are the same thing," he said.

"Excuse me?"

The guy taking my order repeated, "Shakes and malts are the same thing."

It doesn't bother me if regular people don't know the difference between a malt and a shake, but it does when an employee of an establishment that has both on the menu doesn't know and he definitely gave me the wrong response three times in a row.

"Obviously, you don't know your beverages," I cut back at him. Was he not trained properly, did he forget his training, or was he an idiot who liked to annoy customers with inappropriate replies?

"A malt is a shake," he said.

Well, yes, but since a shake isn't a malt and with his repeatedly insisting that they're the same thing, I had no reason to believe that I'd be getting a malt.

"Just forget the whole thing," I said as I started my car and proceeded to the grocery store's deli section for the much better dinner of Tequila Lime chicken and hot veggies.

The next day, I called Sonic's toll-free number and reported the store that has an employee who doesn't know the difference between a shake and a malt.

(A malt is a shake with malt added, usually a powder consisting of barley that gives a richer flavor. Sometimes, the malt includes wheat or other grains.)

Justin was very nice and apologized, promising to have my complaint passed down to that particular store and thanking me for contacting Sonic. "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

"Yes, I have a question about pricing. The previous time I ordered a pineapple malt, I was charged extra for the pineapple. It was at the same store and doesn't seem right because there isn't anything on the menu that says other flavors cost more. Why aren't vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate priced the same? They're flavors, too. When the car hop came out, he pointed to another section lower on the board that said additional flavors cost more, but I shouldn't have had to hunt around the board to see that. If the additional pricing isn't right there by the shakes and malts, there should be an asterisk to let me know there's a footnote with additional pricing information that applies to them."

He replied, "The first flavor is the price posted whether it's vanilla, chocolate, or pineapple. The second flavor has an additional price added. That means that a pineapple malt is the price on the board, but a pineapple and coconut malt is more.

"So, I was overcharged! I thought so! Please add that to my complaint."

Yesterday, I received a postcard from Sonic thanking me for contacting them with a coupon for a free sandwich.

It pays to complain!

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