I noticed on Jamba juice’s web page that they say their customers inspire them and that are always looking for ways that they can get even a little bit better. I almost always give positive feedback when I get great service or a great product. I almost never take the time to give feedback when I am unhappy. I usually just stop going to that place. In this case I made an exception. I’ll be sure to let you all know if I get a response.
Dear Jamba Juice,
Far be it from me to point out the obvious, but in case you haven’t noticed the second word in your name is juice! That being said I would think it would be a bad idea to repeatedly be out of things that either are juice or lead to things that become juice smoothies. I’m just saying.
I remember fondly the days a few years back when I was a two, three or even four day a week regular at various Chicago locations. Like many Jamba customers I have my personal favorites and I always appreciated it when I would get called by name and asked which of my drinks I wanted on that particular day. I would say things started to go sour (pun intended) for me about 9 months ago. I recall a stretch of about two weeks when each time I would stop at a particular location they would be out of the acai juice blend that they used in my all time favorite the Acai super anti oxidant. Your staff would always graciously offer to make me my smoothie with a different juice if I wanted, but it’s just not the same. Then there was the ongoing wheatgrass shortage that plagued my late fall and early winter in 2011. I actually went to Whole Foods and bought wheatgrass powder at that point. It’s not as good, but it’s not bad either. The good thing is I know I can have it anytime I want it and I don’t have to put money in a parking meter only to go in and find out that their isn’t any wheatgrass and then leave without making a purchase but still have paid the meter. In case you aren’t aware meters are pretty darned expensive in Chicago.
I’ve noticed you keep adding new products. I tried your oatmeal this winter for the first time. It’s delicious. I like mine with a little bit of brown sugar and sliced bananas. When you have bananas that is. I would say that on at least a half a dozen occasions this winter you have been out of bananas when I ordered my oatmeal. I’ve tried it with some of the other toppings you offer but you know what? It’s just not the same. For a brief period in the early Spring last year I became obsessed with those things where you blend the yogurt and the fruit and sometimes peanut butter together. I can’t remember what you call them because I haven’t had one in so long. I stopped ordering them because sometimes they were too thin, sometimes they were too thick, and other times you were out of…..you guessed it. Sliced bananas.
I went to New York in January. It was really cold one morning. With all the amazing places I could have gone for breakfast I talked my girlfriend into Jamba Juice. She wondered why in the world I would want to go get juice on a freezing cold morning. I raved about the oatmeal and I even told her if they were out of bananas that they have this pretty good berry and pecan topping too. Except they were out of it. Frowny face! We had the apple and cinnamon topping which was okay but a little too sweet for my taste. Did I mention that they were out of wheatgrass as well? They told me they had discontinued it because of availability problems which in my mind is a pretty good idea. They might have wanted to take the wheatgrass juicer off the counter though.
I’ve been stopping at Jamba less and less since I got back from New York. Yesterday morning I had such a craving for some fresh wheatgrass juice and some oatmeal that I thought I’d give it a shot. I parked my car and peeked in the window and saw the little tufts of wheatgrass sticking happily up in the air from the counter. Win! I figured I could handle the oatmeal however I could get it. The clerk actually rang up my order, gave me my change and started getting my wheatgrass juice going. About a minute later he turned around and said, “I totally forgot that we are out of oatmeal.” In the immortal words of Charlie Brown. ARGHHHHHHHH!!!
I asked for a refund which he was unable to process on his own so the manager came out from the back. He did apologize and explained that they are not usually out of oatmeal but they were making a new batch so I could come back in a little while. Like most people I was on my way to work so that wasn’t an option. I was thinking that maybe he was going to offer me a free smoothie or something instead but that never happened. I told him that I had recently had a number of unsatisfying experiences at Jamba Juice and he said, “Hopefully not on my shift.” I told him that it wasn’t a personal attack but rather a comment about service and expectations.
I could possibly forgive and forget just one more time except for one little detail. Did I mention that the clerk that helped me when I walked in this morning was eating something from a cup while standing behind the counter. It was oatmeal. He must have gotten the last bowl. Lucky him. I guess his breakfast was more important than mine.
The thing is that I’m not even really that angry about any of this. I’m just sad. I don’t think I’m hoping for too much when I hope I can get at least one of the things that I want on a regular and relatively timely basis. When you Jamba people are on your game you’re just about as good as anybody and if you have what I want there is almost no other place I’d rather stop for breakfast. It’s just that at this point I pretty much have lost faith. This morning when I drive past Jamba I’ll probably be a little sad but I heard about this new place down the road that’s getting a lot of buzz. I think it’s about time I checked them out.