Before I begin, let it not be said that I tried hard to contemplate on whether I’d be writing this post or not. After all, I have no intention whatsoever of besmirching an establishment’s reputation, especially if it’s one that makes food.
As you know, complaints about a certain kind of service (or lack thereof) pale in comparison with complaints about quality of a product especially if hygiene in food preparation is overlooked. We all know the horror stories brought about by such negligence — food contaminations resulting to health issues ranging from tummy aches to food poisoning.
But as a blogger and consumer, I have rights and obligations and I’d like to claim those rights as I write this post. I can guarantee you, however that I will tell this story as truthfully as possible as I have no ulterior motives here but to warn the public lest they be too complacent. I also write this to alert fast food people to man their stations more vigilantly and keep store managers on their toes.
** Backgrounder **
SM City Calamba is probably one if not THE busiest SM mall in the country. Everyday is like Christmas day here and every public holiday is like one of those midnight sales that cause horrible traffic jams in Manila. Parking is a nightmare you can’t wake yourself up from. Once inside, you squeeze yourself through a thick crowd like taking the MRT ride on payday Friday rush hours.
The first thing you think about when you finally get inside in one piece is how the hell you can go through all the shops you need to visit, get the stuff you need and get out as quickly as possible because God help you if you ever find yourself hungry while in the mall because all fast food chains are almost always full. I have actually, on many occasions, endured a long queue for a burger and ate the entire thing walking because there was practically no place to sit on! Every square inch of space is taken.
And this, my dear friends is the backdrop of today’s horrifying story.
We ate at Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria tonight, as we usually have. Feeling adventurous, we veered away from our usual pizza and ordered their “Set Meals” instead. My husband had “Set 1″ (Sausage Panini, Bolognese). I had “Set 2″ (Bolognese, Garlic bread, Classic Ceasar Salad). My son had “Set 4″ (Bolognese, Garlic Bread, Chicken Fingers) — all with iced tea. They actually got one of our orders wrong — Set 1′s pasta was supposed to be carbonara but we got bolognese. I resisted the urge to complain because I didn’t want to ruin a lovely evening. Not to mention, I was dressed to the nines, another adventurous thing for tonight.
In hindsight, I should have taken those as omens of imminent danger but unfortunately, I was none the wiser.
Anyway, we were all hungry from a lot of walking so we finished everything in minutes — well, almost. My son, the recently-spaghetti-loving picky-eater didn’t finish his pasta. The mother in me decided to save him from onerous rotten food binge in Hades, so I ate his leftovers. I seasoned it with salt and pepper — force of habit, that one. Halfway through, I thought out loud, “How come this pasta tastes weirdly better than mine? We both ordered bolognese. Curious.”
And that was when I got acquainted with this familiar fellow in red-orangey color. Legs, body, OMG! There’s no doubt about it! A frickin’ cockroach, albeit a “baby-sized” one is on my son’s plate of spaghetti bolognese mixed with the sauces and all!!! The size of half a thumb!!! I have never, in my entire fast food-eating life ever seen a cockroach on my plate! And I have been eating and enjoying myself the whole time! Talk about guilty pleasure!
So does it taste like cockroach, you ask? How the hell will I know? It’s not like I eat one on a regular basis! And does it smell like a cockroach? Oh for crying out loud! I must have some sort of olfactory fatigue or I’ve put too much salt and pepper to ever know the difference!
It’s too bad I totally forgot to take a picture of that baby cockroach though, that would’ve made for a more compelling post.
In fairness to the lady who attended to my complaint, she seemed red-faced in embarrassment and was fairly apologetic about the whole thing. After a considerable time of huddling with the crew inside their kitchen, I was offered a replacement. I politely declined. We were only too eager to go home and forget about the darn thing. Plus, I am pissed and I only know myself too well not to engage in arguments in public when I am terribly pissed. Besides, I don’t need a replacement meal.
It cannot undo what’s already been done. I came this close, let me say that again, THIS CLOSE to eating a cockroach and I don’t even stand to get a million dollars for doing so. If I was cool with such a thing I would’ve signed up for “Survivor”.
And mind you, that WAS my son’s pasta to begin with! He could’ve eaten the damn thing! Who knows what sort of disease he stands to get had he ingested that cockroach?!
I paid the entire bill. Yes, in FULL. I could’ve demanded a refund but what good will it do me? It’s just money.
My entire family’s health is invaluable. And one person’s negligence could’ve put any or all of our lives at risk.
That is what MATTERS big-time. And that is what fastfood people need to understand and take heart.
When I dine, I not only give you my money — I give you my complete trust — heck, I trust you with my one and only son’s life!
So please be very, very careful. AND PLEASE KEEP YOUR KITCHEN CLEAN!
You see, I may have stopped myself from getting into a lengthy discussion at Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria today but this I can guarantee you:
I WILL NEVER EAT AT JOEY PEPPERONI PIZZERIA EVER AGAIN FOR THE REST OF MY FASTFOOD-EATING LIFE.
It’s just that kind of road you don’t want to take ever again.
The next time I go hungry, I’d rather drive and walk on an empty stomache than eat food from Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria. That’s how disappointing it is.
And to all you pizza-pasta-loving folks out there: Be very, very vigilant. Check your food before eating it. Never rest in the complacency that fast food chains will serve you clean food 100% of the time. Whether an honest mistake or a gross oversight, it is never justified. We, the customers deserve better. In fact, let me stretch that, we deserve the best.
I urge you to demand nothing but the best because amidst this hurried, harried generation of instant-everything’s, these time-honored mantras will always remain:
CUSTOMER IS KING.
HEALTH IS WEALTH.
AND TRUST, ONCE BROKEN, CAN NEVER BE MENDED.
So, goodbye Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria.
I thought you and I were meant to spend lazy dinners and hurried lunches for years to come.
It was fun while it lasted but like a sickening chick flick romance gone wrong, I find out, albeit belatedly yet again that …
“It’s not me. It’s you.”
And like the eternally optimistic protagonist, I will eventually move on to something better.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom. Tummy ache.
P.S. If you feel the urge to forward this to friends, please do so. You will do them a huge favor.