Friday, November 26, 2010

The Great Willow Tree Farm Turkey Debacle

"Forgiveness is primarily for our own sake, so that we no longer carry the burden of resentment. But to forgive does not mean that we will allow injustice again." ~Buddha

Just so everyone knows, when I receive good service, or if a problem is rectified with satisfaction, I always write a letter or email the company involved expressing thanks and appreciation. I also share my good experience with others so that they know that said company is concerned with customer relations. Of course, when the opposite occurs, when a company provides terrible service, a poor quality product, or ignores my complaint or concerns, I share that with everyone as well.

Here is a copy of an email I sent off to Willow Tree Farms this morning. It's an unfortunate incident that I have since found has also happened to some of my other co-workers. It's a shame when a long standing family run business loses sight of customer service and the meaning of a quality product.

Dear Willow Tree,

I'm an employee of Barry Industries. Every year, my employer purchases fresh turkeys from you for all of us. It's a nice gesture on their part and something we all look forward to each year.

This year, the usual delivery was made at about 1:45 in the afternoon. Once the truck left and all the turkeys had been passed out, it was realized that we were short 6 turkeys. I happen to be one of the people who did not get their turkey. Our representative called and spoke with your manager who apologized and promised to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

Approximately 45 minutes later, the delivery truck returned and dropped of the 6 turkeys. Great! I put mine in my car and drove it directly to my parents house in Norton.

Every year, my mom does the same thing: she opens the box right away ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how nice the bird looks, how fresh it is, how clean it always makes her happy. This year, not so much.

When she opened the box, the first thing I said was, "Why is it wrapped in plastic?" Never, in all the years that we've received turkeys from Willow Tree, had the birds been wrapped in plastic. Then my mom put her hand on it and said, "This is frozen!" The turkey was not just a little icy from being "packed in ice" as your website suggests. No, this turkey was frozen solid! I would really like to know why, when your website clearly states that your turkeys are "never frozen" would you deliver a frozen turkey at 3:30 On the afternoon before Thanksgiving?!?

Mom tried the "quick thaw" method, putting the wrapped bird in the sink with cold water, but by 8:30 that night it was clear that we were not going to be able to eat this turkey. As the turkey began to thaw, strange things started happening under the skin of the turkey. It began to bubble up with water and gasses, not under the plastic wrap, under the skin. We took it out of the water and removed the wrap to take a look. Besides still being frozen as solid as a rock so that we couldn't even remove the gizzards, it also had an unpleasant odor. Rather than take a chance with this obviously non-fresh and who knows how old turkey, we threw it away. Thankfully, Roche Bros. was still open and we were able to purchase a truly fresh bird, which by the way was delicious. (Thanks Roche Bros.!)

Granted, the turkey you delivered was free to my family but my employer paid for FRESH turkeys. I sincerely hope that the rest of my co-workers turkeys really were fresh and that their Thanksgiving dinners went off without a hitch.

Maybe it was a mistake, although it's hard to believe when your website clearly states: "Your Willow Tree turkey, delivered to our store just days before the holiday, is packed in ice but never frozen." I'd like to know how this happened. Maybe you didn't have anymore turkeys and had to obtain a frozen one elsewhere, maybe it's just a sign of the times where quality and customer service are being sacrificed over profit margins, either way, I'd really, really like to know how this could have happened.

Thank you Willow Tree for nearly ruining out Thanksgiving dinner. Not only will I never order a turkey or anything else from you again, I also plan to share this unfortunate tale with everyone I know.


Heidi (last name deleted for privacy)

Our family Thanksgiving turned out well despite the turkey incident. I hope that everyone else out there had a nice Thanksgiving as well. Folks, when you receive good service, say thanks and share that experience with others. If you don't, voice your displeasure too. Poor quality and lousy service should not be rewarded with silence.

Thanks for reading!

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