Auchan Vitan Bucharest has many departments to make the customer feel happy. One of them is the on site buffet. To take away, to get a grub there, people on a hurry or just trying to please whetted appetites, of their own or of their children, wait in line at the fresh food counter at Auchan Vitan Bucharest. A food fest, you would say. No way.
Although I am writing this to pamphleteer a disappointing experience of mine, everything I am going to share with you in this article is perfectly true. Take it as a hard factual report, if you will.
Confusion at Auchan Vitan Bucharest
First, you always seem to be waiting in the wrong line. There’s so much confusion. When your turn comes and you open your mouth to order, the counter attendant ignors you. Your eyes, already wet with gluttony humors, ogle in frustrated wonder her dexterous hands filling the regular plastic tub for another customer. I am not politically incorrect here, as it is invariably a woman server.
Delusion at Auchan Vitan Bucharest
Worse than confusion, there’s utter delusion. This, I am going to explain with an example of bad practice. My own experience the other day at that very counter. To be completely truthful, it is ultra fresh, as it only happened yesterday afternoon.
I was bent on purchasing “Tigaie picanta”, my favorite dish there, until then. I would label it sort of Spicy Wok Delight, in English. Not having seen it on display, I made the mistake of asking if they really didn’t have it on that day. “We do,” came the server’s reply flat on the spot, only that I had to wait for a while for it to be fetched from the kitchen. I decided to wait, if it didn’t take long.
Although I hadn’t noticed the arrival of any steaming container, I was pretty soon announced by another woman, younger and a bit sloppy, that the event had just occurred. I was amazed not only at the sight of that improper attendant alighted out of the blue in front of me, but also at having missed the big cauldron in which that hot dish was regularly brought from the kitchen. Well, I said to myself, maybe they had changed the policy of transporting stuff from the kitchen.
“Spicy Leftover Bite” at Auchan Vitan Bucharest
I had bought many times “Tigaie picanta” — Spicy Wok Delight — from the take away counter at Auchan Vitan Bucharest, so I was well familiarized with what this product should look and taste like. Generous pieces of chicken breast, lots of sweet red bell pepper, and a few rounds of courgette, if any. But that time, I was served something completely different under the label of this dish. It did not contain any chicken breast, only one tiny piece of red bell pepper, all the rest being just rounds of courgette. When I remarked that hugely unbalanced content, I was told it depended on the day’s chef.
Considering myself lucky to have invariably tried only other chefs’ recipes until then, I finally agreed to try this one’s. I was unpleasantly surprised though to then meet the coldness of the dish, and of the serving personnel. Yes, it was cold from the fridge, although it was supposed to be a hot dish. And yes, the young woman started pulling faces at me, discontent. Her grimaces read like: when I’ve brought the goody you asked for, now you fuss over it!
Hot or not hot, that is the question
She told me that counter DID NOT sell any hot dish, but I explained that whenever I had bought that product before it was scorching hot. Why then had it used to be brought and kept on display in a huge cauldron? At that point the other attendant, wiser, she thought, and older in the counter serving business, broke in informing me that any customer who wanted a dish hot, had to ask for it to be heated up in the microwave oven. I declined the implied offer, which did but “heat up” my temper. Stupefied, I refused to take away that sham of a hot dish.
To confuse me further, the manager of the department assured me that specific counter DID serve hot dishes. “Hot from the stove,” he stressed. It was a he this time, who introduced himself as the manager of the meat and fishery department. But that department had to do with everything cold, deep-freezing, refrigeration, and a cool environment. How could he be responsible for the hot stuff, I wondered. He explained that managers of all food departments took turns to supervise the whole eating stuff business.
I agreed to come to terms with that. What I did not agree to was the take away staff having just tried to sell me some meager leftovers refrigerated, ironically, in the good practice of the only department that manager should have been responsible for.
Tell-tale chef at Auchan Vitan Bucharest
To cup the climax, the manager summoned what I supposed to be the chef — a woman again. From the mysterious entrails of the kitchen, a personage whose white coat was all covered in grease and samples of the day’s menu, made a humble appearance. She hardly said anything — what did she have to say, when she had just been caught out in a dirty act, with the young attendant as accomplice? Her bent eyes admitted to the attempt.
Tell-tale customer interface instrument
On my way out of the supermarket, I took a leaflet from a stand which invited you to express your customer’s opinion. Only when I got home did I have a better look at it. It was a pitiable sheet of paper copied “en gros”, in black and white, with hardly legible text and boxes for you to tick. It presented itself in the sloppiest of manners. Well, I told myself reassured, at the end of the day, I did not have to set forth any factual report backed by arguments, or a complaint, or a lengthy something like that. That shame of a piece of paper said it all, put the label on everything going on at that retail subsidiary. I could just as well slip it in a professional envelope and send it to Auchan Holding headquarters.
Getting serious: online complaint
I did, though, submit a complaint online. You know, in this day and age, online rules. I asked whoever was going to read it to please make a few things clear to me.
- Does the hot dishes counter at Auchan Vitan Bucharest serve hot dishes or not? Are these perchance kept in the fridge and served reheated?
- If so, why are customers misled into thinking they are purchasing freshly cooked dishes? I wanted to know what exactly I had been eating from that specific counter until then;
- Is the personnel properly trained in all the countries where they have extended their business (chefs, counter servers, managers, etc.)?
- What is the policy of Auchan Holding in all these respects? With a focus on Auchan Vitan Bucharest, of course.
For all I know, consistency is the no.1 key to successful retail business. Also, the quality of customer interface, first-hand and higher. In the conclusion to my complaint, I expressed my firm conviction that, if the company’s policy was correct, then it should be observed ad litteram, no matter the subsidiary or the country.
Wishes for and against the counter business
My experience at Auchan Vitan Bucharest was all counter on that day. Counter-counter, counter-customer, counter-cleanliness, counter-hotness, counter-health, counter-take away, counter-science — the science of management. I really wish for them to try and do something about this counter business. And it was fiction as well, what with all the confusion, the delusion, the interesting personages I met, and the wicked plot they devised.
Despite having lost one customer on that day — no big deal for a market of super proportions — I wish Auchan Vitan Bucharest thriving business ahead. Therefore better management, standardized professionalism, and more consideration for their customers.