On 22 May, what was supposed to be a nice family outing for Ms Irene Lim ended with a terrible dining experience at Burger King’s Coastal Play Grove branch.
We’ve read about nice restaurant owners that would immediately jump up to compensate their customers for any inadvertent accident, like for the lady who incidentally collided with a restaurant’s glass pane because it was too clean, but some establishments go above and beyond to show how much they don’t care.
And well, this Burger King outlet really takes the cake.
The incident happened on a Sunday evening, after Ms Irene Lim’s family had spent some quality time at a water-themed playground at Coastal Play Grove to reward the children for attending their supplementary classes.
It was a big group of eight, consisting of Ms Irene Lim, her husband, their 23-month-old twins, her parents, her sister-in-law, and nephew.
Around 6:50pm, they decided to go to Burger King for dinner, because it was closer and more convenient, and it would take nothing short of a miracle to find enough seats at McDonald’s that could accommodate their family size.
When they arrived at the fast-food restaurant five minutes later, there was a small crowd, but it was definitely emptier relative to McDonald’s constant crowd.
The Jjang Jjang burger deal on the mobile app ensures that.
In spite of that, Ms Lim complained that they didn’t manage to receive what they ordered even after fifteen minutes of waiting.
She and Joanne, her sister-in-law, were standing behind the counter when they heard a loud bang that sounded like an explosion.
Suddenly, there was a lot of powder and white smoke coming for the left side, where their family happened to be seated.
Assuming that a fire had broken out, Ms Lim rushed back to the table quickly.
It turns out it was just a fire extinguisher that was activated by an Indian boy, whom she estimates is around 10 to 12 in age.
The worst part of it all was that the fire extinguisher was right next to her family and the nozzle was facing towards them.
The Affected Children and Area
Needless to say, their family didn’t get away unscathed.
Her 23-month-old daughter and nephew took the full brunt of the powdery spray.
Although her daughter wasn’t capable of forming full sentences yet, she conveyed her discomfort enough as she repeated the word “itchy”, while her nephew was rubbing his eyes until it turned red.
Ms Lim yelled for Joanne to bring her son to the washroom to rinse his eyes quickly, tending Averie after her mother told her that her daughter’s eyes were affected as well.
Ms Lim was fumbling and panicking slightly when two men from the neighbouring table came over, evidently related to the Indian boy, as they explained that the boy was a mischievous one.
From Ms Lim’s Facebook post, it isn’t clear if the two men apologised at all, or made the boy apologise for his mistake, though she did elaborate that those two men tried to brush it off by saying that it was just a small matter.
Then, they tried to leave the restaurant.
Her surprise shifted to irritation as the two men kept harping that “this incident is a small matter”, because downplaying the entire thing, without attempting to make amends, was not helping in the slightest.
Because of the pair’s attitude and the fact that two children were affected, Ms Lim proceeded to call the police at 7:30pm.
The Staff’s Lack of Response
To rub more salt into their wounds, none of the staff came forward to assist her family during the 20-minute wait.
Surely, if the activation of the fire extinguisher had generated such a loud noise, the staff must have heard it, right?
Angrily, Ms Lim stalked up to the counter and shouted for the manger to come out.
Her husband chided the manager for his slow response, but the manager didn’t do anything about the situation either.
Instead, the manager exclaimed that there was a long queue at the restaurant, and they couldn’t offer any assistance to their family.
Worse, the manager pushed away any blame for the incident, stating that the safety pin for the fire extinguisher was missing, and therefore it’s not the restaurant’s fault.
Ms Lim was shocked speechless, but her husband wasted no time to refute that it is the restaurant’s responsibility to ensure that the fire extinguisher is secure and in working condition, and that it shouldn’t have been put in place where it could be mishandled.
Logically speaking, shouldn’t the fire extinguisher be closer to or in the kitchen, where fires are more likely to break out?
After the manager was informed that Ms Lim had called the police, he didn’t say anything, simply turning around to return to the kitchen.
“He didn’t even bother to offer us any help, assistance, [or] any medical attention. He didn’t even check on the children or my mum,” Ms Lim writes.
It doesn’t help that when Ms Lim inspected the fire extinguisher, she saw that the fire extinguisher’s pin was just hanging down the red cylinder, as opposed to “missing”.
Like… Even if you’re going to lie, at least make it sound convincing?
The incident’s occurrence is a product of your restaurant management’s neglect.
Even when Ms Lim later asked for some warm water for the children, because she was worried that they might have potentially inhaled something toxic or harmful, her request fell on deaf ears.
She didn’t receive anything from the staff.
From their conduct, it appeared as though the incident hadn’t occurred on their premises, and that it had nothing to do with them.
Besides that, Ms Lim also suggested to the manager that the staff should cordon off the affected area because the remnants of the powder was all over the floor, tables, and chairs, lest another customer sits there.
However, the staff still remained unresponsive.
This further incensed Ms Lim to the point where she asked where the senior manager was, since the manager she was speaking to clearly wasn’t going to offer them any assistance.
You really have to give it to the manager for being as prickish as a cactus by this part because he tells Ms Lim that she couldn’t reach the senior manager even if he tried because he’s away on vacation in another country.
When she asks for Burger King’s headquarters’ number, he reluctantly recites the number 66364592 before telling her she can try it tomorrow.
Dude, even Siri would be more helpful.
Then, the manager returns to the kitchen to wrangle with all the orders that are coming in, not even bothering to offer any words of consolation or support.
Eventually, the police and paramedics arrived to assist the family.
The paramedics brought Isaac, her nephew, to the ambulance to help wash his eyes again with eyedrops. They advised the family to monitor the children for any reaction from the fire extinguisher’s chemical agents over the next two days.
Meanwhile, the police took their statements separately.
With that bad experience clouding over their heads, Ms Lim’s family changed their order from dine-in to take-away, which arguably shouldn’t take that much time.
But they only managed to get their dinner around nine o’ clock.
… Which really defeats the purpose of being called a fast-food restaurant, y’know?
To add insult to injury, they were completely short-changed for their order, which costs more than $90, as this was what they received.
Frankly, the meal doesn’t look appealing at all, for all the sweet time it took.
In fact, Ms Lim noted that one cup of yea, one cup of coke float, one ice cream, one cheese fries and normal fries were missing from their order.
How does one miss out on so many beverages? It’s like the staff just completely missed one portion of the order, or simply ran out of water at their establishment.
Understandably, Ms Lim ends her post on a sour note.
“What a day. Inconsiderate diners who did not take care of their children’s conduct. An irresponsible dining establishment that deprioritises their patrons’ well-being. Image a misused and empty fire extinguisher during a fire extinguisher.”
That’s a pretty good summary of all the problems, honestly.
If there’s a Burger King branch to never visit, this would be it.
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Featured Images: Facebook (Irene Lim)
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