If you haven’t already read part 1 of this episode… you may want to.
Learned: Don’t expect IHOP (at least the Bloomfield, NJ IHOP on Broad Street) to know basic first aid, care about the community they rely on, or to take the high road when responding to a potentially serious injury on their premises.
Injury Status on Day 2
Dressing blistered wounds in places I can’t reach by myself. Treating with Silvidine cream. Unable to wear anything but loose cotton pants. (no chafing undergarments!) After a 24 hours of thinking, I realized that someone should have offered me some sort of first aid. Now granted, where I was injured was not visible to the people around me. It wasn’t too hard to see the burns on my breast…but I wasn’t showing to the wait staff. I reserved that view for my mom and me. If my husband were there, he would have been managing the scenario, getting me ice, calming the children… he would have instigated our immediate departure I’m sure. He’s good like that.
As I considered the response I wondered why there was no one available to help me through my shock to get treatment for the burns. Couldn’t someone have pulled me aside to ask how I was? Maybe someone could have spilled ice water in my lap. I’ve subsequently learned that a burn continues to burn until it is stopped. Never an issue when I’m at home. Burn your finger and open the freezer for a boo boo bunny ice pack. Of course it was much more complicated here.. but is it unreasonable to expect in a place that serves hot liquid for them to be prepared to help their patrons with basic first aid? Apparently all IHOP is capable of is offering free meals and blaming you for the accident. The waitress did that very well. But I forgive her. Had she been trained properly she wouldn’t have been trying to place boiling water over my head. I never heard her say that she was doing so… it was a crowded restaurant- maybe she did. Even so, if she had alerted me, it was before I turned that she began to put the water on the table. Had she been placing the water at the end of the table, over no one’s shoulder- this wouldn’t have happened. So, I wrote a lengthy letter to the owner of the restaurant explaining to him that he needs to better train his employees or this would likely happen again. Along those lines, putting a first aid plan to use would be critical to properly respond to these accident when they do happen. I also include my $50 plus in copayments for the Dr. visit, the Rxs, and first aid supplies. (view IHOP initial letter) Apparently that isn’t the practice at this particular IHOP. In fact, the opposite is true. I wrote out this letter, detailing the circumstance and describing how they might learn from it to improve their service, and protect the community that they rely on. I then proceeded to look for the corporate address so that I could cc. the headquarters. In doing so, I filled out a form on their website accordingly:
Incidentcomments = I have a letter that details my experience that resulted in medical attention and longer term recovery. I have a certified letter will be sent to the Broad Street address, and I need the appropriate corporate address to send it to as well. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. Amy Gurowitz
And then.. an expected polite return letter from corporate:
Dear Ms. Gurowitz:Thank you for contacting us about your unpleasant experience during your recent visit at the IHOP in Bloomfield. Our reputation has been built on top standards of quality food, friendly service and clean atmosphere. Whenever there is a variance from this, we appreciate knowing about it.We are sorry to hear of the injury you encountered at this location. We have forwarded your information to IHOP’s Franchise Business Consultant for the North region so that he can alert the franchise owner of your experience. It is my expectation that the franchise owner or his representative will investigate this situation and will be contacting you shortly.It is our hope that you will allow us the opportunity to once again earn your trust. We appreciate the time and effort you took to share this information with us and we thank you for your patronage.Sincerely,Don MillerGuest Services RepresentativeIHOP Restaurant Support Center
But what came next absolute blew me away. More specifically it infuriated me. Mr Don Miller suggested I would be a referred to the Franchise Business consultant of the North and s/he would contact the owner of Broad St. Bloomfield IHOP, who came back with this:
Dear Amy,Thank you for contacting IHOP about your experience here. Regarding your visit on march 15th: Please take note, we have statements from the 2 tables surrounding your party. Each one clearly noted that your actions caused the incident you are referring to. If you would like to pursue further action that is certainly your right, however, be advised, we pursue fraudulent claims to the fullest extent of the law.Thank you. Cliff Gennarelli – Owner, Bookdale IHOP.
Are you serious! Not only did they not apologize, they blamed me for the incident! This community restaurant that draws in our children with promotional sugar pancakes, poorly trains their staff to serve boiling hot beverages, has no first aid response in place… and then blames the victim for entire thing. more later…
Oh, Amy, so sorry to hear about this. Hope you are on the mend soon. And we share your disbelief at the callous and ridiculous response from IHOP. Evidently this is their way of scaring you away from legal action. I don’t believe for a second that they have witnesses who will testify that it was your fault, except perhaps the waitress who of course wants to cover her you-know-what. Fraudulent claims, my fanny. I hope you have a nice chat with a lawyer to decide what, if anything, to do.
Hmmm…this post seems to refer to one’s nether regions a bit much. Sorry about that…no jokes intended!