Customer Tale of a Big Burger Fail

I was hankering for a hamburger and told my young ‘uns I’d take them out for lunch. “Hey, I know. Let’s try that chain burger place up by the bank.” (Little did I know this would turn into a customer tale of the big burger fail!)


“Okay!” they both exclaimed with unbridled excitement.

We walked in the door and were met with your typical fast food ambience. It was busy and noisy. Busy was a good sign. At least that meant the food was probably good.

So up we went to the counter and scanned the menu sign on the wall. Lots of choices. Lots of different burger combinations. But all I wanted was a cheeseburger, so I ordered a single. The “kids” ordered something different.

We took our number and found a seat. And soon we were called back up to get our food. Yum! I was hungry and couldn’t wait to dig in.

But something seemed wrong. I looked at the burger. I lifted the top of the bun and stared down at a cheesy, wrinkled, wafer thin piece of meat you could almost see through. It was so skinny the edges curled. I couldn’t believe it. This thing looked like someone had taken a regular size hamburger patty and sliced through the center of it. In fact, the flip side of the burger looked like someone had done exactly that.

I was shocked. I was disappointed. And I was a little bit outraged. This thing was nothing like any hamburger I’d ever been served in my whole life and I’ve been around the block a time or two.

But I was hungry, so I ate it.

Then the guy who comes around to check and see if everything is okay approached with a smile. As he took our trays, he said the magic words: “Did everything taste good?”


Are you one of those people who would sit there, silently like a victim, nod your head and say everything was fine? I’ve been known to do that when it was just too much trouble to complain, but not this time. Nosirreebub!

“Actually, no. My burger was about half the size of a normal one. I could almost see through it. It wasn’t at all what I expected,” I said.

“Well, ma’am, is this your first time here?” he asked.

“Yes it is,” I answered.

“Well, our regular customers know that if they want a full size burger they have to order a double. The singles are very thin.”

No kidding!

But I REALLY wanted to make my point.

“Well, it’s surprising to me as a customer that you order a cheeseburger here and get half of what other places serve. I’m really disappointed.”

“Well ma’am, I’d be happy to get you a card for a free meal so you could come back again and order a different meal.”

Yes, that’s what I want. I want to go away hungry and then give you folks another try. This time, I, the customer will be more educated and order a double so I can get the same amount of meat every other place serves as a single. Yes, that would make me happy. (sarcasm)

I took it and thanked him for his consideration. But here’s what I was thinking:

It would have been much, much better to refund the cost of my meal. It’s not likely I’ll ever go back again. In fact, I gave their free meal card away to someone who is a fan of the place.

No one told me when I ordered that I’d be getting a paper thin burger. There was no warning label on the menu sign saying, “Warning – this is a half sized burger. Only order if you are slightly hungry.”

And yet the implied message was that since their regular customers knew to order a double, that I, as a new customer, should have also known to do that.

Here’s my message to them: Don’t make your customer feel stupid. Don’t market one thing and deliver another. Set clear expectations if you’re going to do something squirrely with your meal sizes.


It must have been “one of those days” because I just couldn’t let this thing go. I stewed about it for over a week, restraining myself mightily from writing this blog post a day after it happened – restraining myself right now from “naming names”.

In fact, after a week, I trotted on back to the same place and ordered a single burger at the drive through. (Darn, I should have kept that free meal card!) But I paid the money. I brought the thing home and took a picture of it to show you exactly what this burger looked like. (See how often I think of you?)


Now, you may say to yourself, “Come ON. Get over it. It’s just one dinky burger. Don’t get so wrapped around the axle over something this minor.”

Okay, you may be right. But I believe businesses have a responsibility to offer products that are priced fairly and accurately represent the product. It drives people nuts when they see doctored photos of picture-perfect meals and then get to the restaurant and face a reality which is nothing like what was advertised.

I think it’s a rip-off.

(And if you send me an email I’ll tell you the name of the chain.)

Additional Reading:

Chicken Nugget Surprise Customer Service

How to Earn Epic Customer Loyalty from a Total Stranger

9 Words to Use for Customer Service You Deserve