Why Mee is not for me
With the Mee Noodles having been closed due to the demolition of its 13th Street building years ago, while in Kips Bay a week ago I went to that Mee Noodles for takeout. It was my first time there. I ordered spicy chicken with peanuts. They handed me a brown bag without stapling a menu on to the bag. The check didn’t have their restaurant’s name or my order, just the price, $9.75 plus tax.
When I got home and opened the brown bag I felt ripped off. The dish was all celery with some peanuts and a few pieces of chicken.
So I walked in to the new Mee Noodles, assuming they were the same company. According to an Internet search there are five Mee Noodles in Manhattan. The woman behind the counter said that the 13th Street Mee is unrelated to Kips Bay. So I called Kips Bay and asked for the manager.
The woman who answered the phone asked who I was. I gave them my name. She asked what I wanted. I said that they had wronged me. If I had ordered it at the restaurant I could have sent it back. But I can’t when handed a brown bag. The woman screamed: “We can’t write all of the ingredients in our dishes on the menu.”
I replied: “But celery was the predominant ingredient. This wasn’t a chicken dish. It was a celery dish.” She hung up on me.
So I write because I grew up in a small business. Sternberg’s never treated our customers’ complaints as indifferently as this woman did me. Yet with so many of us keen to defend small business, if I went to McDonald’s and politely said that the fries I got were soggy, I would get fresh fries. We’ve passed a tipping point: Big box stores are willing, ready and able to provide customer satisfactions that many small businesses can’t afford to anymore.
More important, can two Mee Noodles, using the same logo and color scheme, not be related? The spicy chicken with peanuts is $9.95 at 13th Street, a sliver more than the $9.75 at Kips Bay. But until the 13th Street menu says whether it includes celery, I’ll be wary of both.
Billy Sternberg, ST