They say the customer is always right, but that wasn't the case at a Mesa McDonald's Country Club Drive and Baseline Road. A couple called 911 after discovering that hash browns were missing from their order -- and now they're facing charges.
It costs $1 to buy one of these hash browns at McDonald's off their breakfast menu. When two were missing from Michael and Nova Smith's order Sunday morning, things escalated faster than you can say Egg McMuffin.
Operator: "Hi, it's Mesa Police, we just had a 911 hang up from this cell phone.. is there an emergency?"
Caller: "Yes, I got a manager at a damn McDonald's that doesn't want to be cooperating.. he wants to try to get violent."
At 9 a.m. Sunday, 31-year-old Michael Smith called 911 from this Mesa McDonald's as he and his wife Nova argued with a manager about two hash browns missing from their order.
Operator: "So was your food order incorrect? Your order was wrong?
Caller: "Right and that's all it comes down to is wrong order and he doesn't want to fix it.. the customer's always not right evidently in this store."
Smith says the situation escalated because he didn't like the way the manager was talking to his wife and that they wouldn't give him the money for the hash browns back.
"Because I felt like he was stealing.. he was stealing from my pocket... I didn't call for the hash browns, I called because he wasn't giving the money back," explained Smith.
Smith was cited with disorderly conduct. His wife was cited for disorderly conduct and assault with no injury for throwing a bag of food at an employee.
Public opinion not on the Smith's side -- though everyone is a fan of the hash browns.
"Yeah, I love 'em, but I wouldn't go jumping over the counter just because somebody didn't put them in the bag," said Jim Engelage.
"Or call 911 -- it's a waste of money. It's also a waste of 911's time," said Lisa Engelage.
Smith says it was an emergency to him -- McDonald's was robbing him.
"He was completely wrong in what he was doing and we had no other choice.. who else were we supposed to rely on on a Sunday morning?"
I spoke with the McDonald's manager who would not go on camera. He said the message of this story should be don't go behind the counter to solve a problem -- it never works out.
Mesa Police tell me the Smiths are not allowed back at that restaurant, if they go back, they are in trouble.
Both are due in court December 30th. They could face fines for their misdemeanor charges.
Statement from Shane Thompson - owner of this specific McDonald's location: "This was a surprising and aggressive response by a customer to a discussion where my employee was seeking to resolve the customers' inquiry about their order. We always aim to treat our customers with respect and will continue to do so."
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