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The Worst Chinese Take-out Ever

This is the story of a hungry girl. A graduate student in search of some sesame chicken and fried rice. A girl who wishes she had just had peanut butter and jelly.

In January of this year, I ordered food through an online service called They had stores that delivered, and I didn't feel like going out in the rain. The chinese food place on the corner near the Metro had a menu online and I chose my favorite.

About an hour later, a good fifteen minutes after the intended delivery time, I called the restaurant to confirm they were delivering my food. I was a mile or so outside their delivery area, so no, they were not delivering my food.

I asked the woman (of course with limited skills in English) why no one called to tell me they weren't bringing my food. "We no do that," was the response.

She said that at least they could take the charge off my card, or I could come and pick up my food. I said I would be right there (really hungry). She kindly asked if I needed directions. I didn't.

So I show up and there is a bag of my now hour old, completely cold chinese food on the counter. And they had taken the charge off my bill, because she thought I didn't want my food anymore (when I had said I didn't need directions, I confused her). 25 minutes later I left with two charges on my card, one refund in progress and freshly cooked food.

It wasn't worth the trouble.

So I never ordered from there again, and my life continued happily. Until last month when a weird charge appeared on my credit card. Now, I notice these things not because I am diligent, but just because I have not been using my card and so a random charge for exactly $10 seemed out of place.

I talked to Lorien and Dana, I fretted for two days, and they finally convinced me to let it go. I must have just forgotten some purchase I made. I remember everything (really, it's sad) so I didn't think this could be the case. But I've made mistakes before.

Today I went online to pay my bill again (I will not have debt after college. I will not have debt after college. (Except those pesky student loans.)) Random $10 charge.

This is unacceptable. I find the contact number for the company that has been charging me and call them. Apparently, when the ordering website got my information, they automatically enrolled me in a rewards program with coupons for the restaurants. The monthly fee ... you guessed it, $10.

The customer service representative explains - calmly, and as if it were for my benefit - how I was duped into paying her organization for the past two months. Then I had her kindly take at least this month's charge off my card.

In the end I had to drive to get my delivery order and pay $10 to a company I'd never heard of for food which wasn't that good to begin with.

Note to self: Don't order online unless it is directly from the source.

And in case you don't regularly check - look at all those little lines on your credit card statement and make sure you recognize the charges. Your terrible chinese take-out could be costing you much more than you originally bargained for.

Love always, ~Heather


raee said…
Poor Heather. Good sleuthing skills, I might say. I will co-sign that I am not a fan of food in this city. Grrr.

Try Mr. Chen's. (website is their own).
Hope your week went better.
We've had similar experiences. Having someone on another continent chastise you ("You should know not to do that") for what turns out to actually be the credit card company's mistake, and then to have him inform you it will take 6-8 weeks to get the error corrected, is a particular joy.

Years ago, we established a policy: We don't pay for discounts. No paying for a Books-a-Million card, etc. We did pay for a Costco membership, but then it was just across the highway from our neighborhood and we shopped there weekly. For anything that we'd use less often, it just didn't seem worth it.

Fill up on the free bread and jam at La Madeleine, drink the free iced tea refills and enjoy the best tomato basil soup around. Even with the cost of the metro ride, you may come out ahead of the campus food racket.