Take a look at the following photo which shows the 2-3 inch-long wiry object I almost swallowed in a recent Qdoba burrito purchased at store 002004 on August 2, 2012 (Qdoba is owned by Jack In The Box). Unfortunately, after snapping a couple photos, I threw the whole plate away, wire and all, but I did want to warn you (other consumers) about the quality of the food being served there.
My Immediate Concerns
- If the restaurant is dirty enough, and managed poorly enough, that a wire can slip into my food, how dirty is it, really? A Dateline report recently found that of 100 Jack In The Box restaurants tested in their study, there was a total of 164 critical violations.
- What if that wire object was placed in my food deliberately (or a worker was either too lazy to remove it or simply didn’t bother, similar to the “flesh sandwich” incident at Arby’s)?
- What would have happened had I swallowed the object or chewed it just the wrong way? Would it have scratched my esophagus, chipped a tooth or have done even worse damage? It’s not a stretch to worry here as a McDonald’s served up glass in a sandwich that cut a person’s mouth and chipped their tooth.
- What if I had gotten sick from the wire, either because it was infected or for any other reason? Let us not forget that Jack In The Box had an E. coli outbreak at 73 locations back in 1993 which sickened 700 people and led to 4 deaths.
- Why doesn’t Jack In The Box care enough to find out what the object is, even if, as they pointed out in their letter to me, “without the benefit of the alleged object it makes it nearly impossible to investigate your claim…” OK, but even if there was the slightest possibility that a dangerous object made it into my burrito, even without physical hard evidence, they should investigate for the safety of their customers, don’t you think?
- Why isn’t Qdoba’s staff smart enough to find out what that object could be? Any random person off the street can deduce that it looks like a silver metallic object, that it’s not part of the foil wrapper (because it could not be chewed), that it is fairly long (2-3 inches perhaps) and that it curls a bit, as if it was a very thin slice of something tough… Are they simply unwilling to do some digging? Maybe they don’t care what it is as long as nobody files a lawsuit?
- How many other customers at this location have had a similar object in their food (or how many people at other locations or restaurants owned by Jack In The Box have had similar, or other, objects inserted into their food products) but didn’t have a blog or Twitter account to tell the world?
Here’s What Happened
In a recent Qdoba order I got a long, thick, un-chewable metal wire-like object in my burrito. As is my normal procedure for messed up food, I tweeted about it. Long story short, got a call from Jack In The Box (who owns Qdoba) wanting to know more about the incident. They asked if I would send the pictures I took so they could determine what the object was and where it came from (which I did because, as I mentioned, I had always liked Qdoba and wanted to see them get things right–in fact, I visited so often I got numerous free burritos from the customer loyalty card).
The guy on the phone said he’d like to give me 2 coupons for free items for my trouble. I scoffed, of course, because I ALMOST SWALLOWED A WIRE. So, I was sent a letter from the Risk Management department. I filled out a form describing what I almost ate, reported that no, I was not injured (though I think I easily could have been had I swallowed the wire or was unlucky enough to chew it a different way). In return, I got a letter stating that, essentially, because Qdoba was too lazy or didn’t care enough (my paraphrase) to figure out what the wire was or where it came from, they would not be giving me anything other than a refund (as a good faith offer, since apparently, I didn’t even deserve that).
To me it seems like they feel I can’t prove anything in court (or thought that I wouldn’t spend the money to challenge them) since I threw away the whole burrito, including the wire, after taking the pictures pictures. Note to all consumers, if you find a wire in your food, save it!
So, no, Leslie Whittaker, Liability Claims Specialist in the Risk Management department of Jack In The Box, I will not sign a release form in the amount of $15.30 as full and final settlement of my claim. I am not satisfied that a company I have given to much business to doesn’t care for my health and safety, and I assume anyone else’s, as much as they care about money and liability. I’ll be warning everyone I can about your anti-health and anti-safety practices (not that you care).