Since the contact form on the Wendy's website rejected my e-mail based on length, I figured maybe I should just post it here. If you happen to be from Wendy's corporate, I'd love to hear a reply. Also, I'm not mad at ya. We just have different ideas of how to raise my money.
And now, an open letter to Wendy's ...
My friends and I recently decided to stop being customers of Wendy's. I thought you might like to know why.
For more than 20 years, my friend Bob and I have had a tradition of going to the local fleamarkets here in Houston, usually three or four times per year. On these trips we start early and run hard. We comb every stall, examine every table, and hone in on the cool stuff we like with the precision of a hawk pouncing on a field mouse. When the morning is done, we transition to the other side of the city and start all over with a different set of flea markets.
Part of our tradition, from day one, has always been a stop-over at the Wendy's restaurant located at I-45 and Almeda road. We've been going to that specific restaurant for more than two decades, enjoying a nice, refueling lunch of burgers, fries, and sodas.
A few years ago, after the death of Dave Thomas, we noticed some changes in the way the chain operates. Most notable (to us, anyway) was that the drink machine was moved from the customer side of the counter to the employee side. We were no longer allowed the privilege of pulling our own drinks, filling them to our preference, and refilling them as needed. It didn't make us happy, but we understood it to be some kind of cost-cutting measure. Who could blame you for that?
Us, maybe. But big deal.
We also noticed a little bit of shifting going on with regard to sizes. French fry packaging got smaller, as did the burgers themselves, while the size of the prices seemed to get bigger. Again, not happy. And again, we figured it was about improving your margins. What business wouldn't want to do that?
Despite some annoyances, we have always continued to stop at Wendy's for our fleamarket lunch. In fact, we have often stopped at a Wendy's restaurant when on road trips, when we needed a quick bite on moving day, when we just wanted something good and inexpensive -- though, unfortunately, those two adjectives are starting to apply less and less.
This may seem silly, but recently you guys did something that we consider to be the "last straw." It's a small thing, honestly, but it made a very big difference to us. It sent a message.
You decided to pull the Jr. Bacon Cheesburger from the 99-cent menu.
See? Small. The price jump isn't even that high. But like I said, it sent a message. And that message, from our point of view, is "We don't care about you. We only care about how much money we can get out of you."
Maybe you guys don't mean that. I'm hip. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's a mission statement or a corporate philosophy statement on a wall somewhere in Wendy's HQ that says something to the effect of "We value our customers." But for the past few years, your actions seem to have put the lie to that.
Little things add up.
Anyway, my friend Bob and I have decided never to eat at a Wendy's again. We prefer to take our meager, small, insignificant bit of business to an establishment that, at the very least, isn't constantly trying to squeeze more out of us. We've also convinced several of our friends to stop patronizing your restaurants as well. It wasn't hard, actually. Most of them gave up on you guys a long time ago, citing "food quality," "price," and "customer service" as their reasons.
I'm a little sad about this, because for one thing I always liked our little tradition, and that will be missed. For another, I liked Dave Thomas. I thought he was an amazing guy, and I was proud to support the dream he built, in my small way. Now I just think he'd be upset and hurt. He probably wouldn't eat at Wendy's either.
So anyway, thanks for everything. Sorry we had to say goodbye. We're such a small part of your demographic, I'm sure we won't be missed.
Then again, little things add up, right?
It has been nearly two months since my friend Bob and I boycotted Wendy's, and I have yet to hear anything in reply to my letter. That is, of course, just fine. I wasn't expecting to hear much anyway. For some companies, the policy is usually to ignore crackpot critics, knowing that the odds that they will just go away are pretty high. Besides, two customers out of millions? No big loss.
I would like to say that as of last weekend, when Bob and I finally got a chance to return to the flea market after a holiday-driven hiatus, we chose to stop at a local What-A-Burger for our noontime repast. There we were greeted with a clean establishment, friendly employees and the ability to refill our drinks with wanton abandon. The burgers were huge and inexpensive. A medium drink was the size of a small cargo vessel. And when someone forgot to give Bob some napkins the manager apologized to the point of making me feel guilty for bringing it up.
That joint should be called "What-A-Difference."