Monday, March 3, 2014

A Party at McDonalds

Yesterday was the first time ever that I did not have Harley's birthday at our clubhouse.  I decided to take it easy this year and book it with a local McDonald's with a playplace.
I called before we left for Disney just to check on what the pricing would be and what all is included in the package but didn't book the event.  I was still calling around to places and seeing what I felt like doing.
When we returned from Disney, I called and booked with McDonald's that we would come.  I wasn't sure how many people would respond to the invitation to come so I booked for 10 children while telling the manager on the phone that I would inform them of any change in number if it were to go over 10.
It sounds like it will be a nice experience.  $50 for ten happy meals, a cake, and a person in a character costume.  Oh wow, that last part sounds pretty cool.  Wonder if it will be Ronald or Grimace or what..  We will also have a party hostess that will be taking care of our party needs.  Nice.
I called a week later to adjust the date and time because oops!  I accidentally booked the party for a day and time that I would be attending TAPPS class.  I was told that it was not a problem and they would change it on their calendars.
The night before and our head count was right on the dot for ten kids.  YAY!  My husband called just to confirm that things were still set for the birthday party.  Thumbs up, green light, good to go.

featured above: reality

We arrived shortly after 1:30 to pay for the party to the establishment.  No reserved tables, no party placemats, no party goody bags, nothing that I'm used to seeing for a McDonald's party.  Okay, don't panic.  This is why you came early.  Let's pay and maybe they'll start setting up.  The $50 party fee and paying for happy meals outside of that.
Oh, okay..  Pay and head back into the playplace with only two open tables that only seat two people.  We go ahead and set Harley's birthday presents down on these tables and anxiety starts to build as it gets closer to 2:00 but still nothing is happening from McDonald's to set up for this party.  A family leaves that was sitting at three adjoining tables.  We move the presents to the chairs of that table to claim it and wait as a staff member told my husband that they would bring out a fourth table to join to this.  They never came with the table nor did they ever clean the table.  My husband finally went to the restroom and got a wet paper towel to wipe down the table for us.
As he finishes this, another two tables become available so we clean it and move the presents there so that the children can sit and eat because the staff have brought out the happy meals for all of the children.  I get asked if we have the cups already, which we do not.  They bring us cups that I pass out to all parents myself and they assist in retrieving the drinks for all of the children.  The person who asked if we had cups asks if there's anything else.  The cake?  Are we still getting the cake or is that not going to happen too?
Another table has opened up so we move some things over to it.  This one never gets cleaned by McDonald's staff either.  Someone else spills a large drink in the play area and wet floor sign is placed.  Someone goes to request that the mess get cleaned up.  I think this is mostly because we have kids really running around as well as my grandmother who's walking is limited.  No one ever comes.  Another parent from the birthday crew goes to request that someone mop the large spill.  Someone comes but makes the wet floor even more wet rather than cleaning up the mess.  They remove the wet floor sign but the floor is still a large puddle.
She brings out the cake.  No candles.  No plates.  Nothing to cut the cake.  Nothing to serve the cake.  But here's a cake.  I ask my husband to request something to cut the cake from the staff.  They return him to me with a plastic fork and knife as if we're cutting a cinnamon roll.  Our daughter is asking if everyone is ready to sing her Happy Birthday and my heart hurts because I wish I had known there wasn't going to be any candles.  I would've brought some.  She has nothing to blow out after they finish singing so I tell her to thank everyone for singing.
We slice the cake.  We serve the cake on napkins while the kids eat it up with their fingers because we didn't have forks.  Everyone is talking about how they don't remember McDonald's having parties like this.  Do we need to go across to Dollar General to get things?  I don't know.  I don't know what else McDonald's is not going to provide.
We open presents and everyone starts heading out.  It feels like I just went to McDonald's to have my daughter's birthday party, not reserved her birthday with McDonald's.  We pack up and head home.

I return back, leaving my daughter and husband at home.  This has to be addressed.  What did I pay $50 for?  I paid $50 for a cake is what I've seen so far.  I felt as though I had just held a party at McDonald's, not reserved a party at McDonald's.
I present that to the manager that was present during this.  I present what I was explained would occurred and ask what my $50 went towards.  She explained that the $50 was for the happy meals and that I had only been charged for the four extra that I had ordered, the cake, and the party hostess.  The party hostess?  The party hostess was the girl that periodically asked how things were.  The party hostess, according to the manager, was the person who should have brought us more tables and passed out the cake and more.  The manager was not aware that we were told a character would be there and wasn't even sure if the store had a costume at all.  This left me to wonder if McDonald's even carries stock of the birthday supplies even.
The manager stated that she noticed that we all looked distressed and displeased.  I don't understand, you noticed that your customers looked distressed and displeased but did nothing?  You did not bother to come out to find what was the matter?  You noticed that we were displeased but did not notice that our "party hostess" was not even in the play area 90% of the time?
She divulged that she was not aware that there was a birthday scheduled to occur that day until I walked in and stated so.  While I understand that miscommunication happens, I had called multiple times and did everything that I could to make sure that this event would be problem-free.  While the children did not know any better that things were not as they should be, myself and the other adults were quite aware.
She offered me a refund to which I placed my phone number at the bottom of the paper that I had to sign.  Not only was the profit lost on my daughter's birthday party today but any potential birthday parties that might have occurred after.  Not simply for this particular building, but for McDonald's as a whole.  The parents of other party-goers all mentioned shock at the lack of what McDonald's did for the birthday.  They all saw this as the McDonald's birthday party package.  This is what you receive if you book with McDonald's.
Not only was my money returned, not only did you lose the possible profit from people that attended their party, but also the word of mouth.  The people at my party will then be calling their friends and relatives to discuss how McDonald's does birthday parties now.
I would have to say that I don't believe that McDonald's does birthdays like this.  I'm pretty sure that McDonald's does not want people to think that this is the product customers will receive if they wish to reserve their child's birthday party with them.  Maybe they could do something to fix it.

I wish that they had done something to fix it before I had had my daughter's birthday there.  A refund can't fix my daughter not getting to blow out candles on a birthday cake at her own party.

Our second "party" table.


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