Woman demands compensation for Sizzler 'chocolate explosion'
A DIABETIC woman is fighting to have Sizzler pay more than $300 for new clothes after a busted lid left her doused in chocolate sauce at its Ipswich restaurant.
Terese Calleja, her daughter Bettina-Maree and young granddaughter stopped for lunch at East Ipswich on Friday before a doctor and business appointment.
Mrs Calleja went to the dessert bar to source chocolate sauce for her granddaughter when the bottle broke.
"I picked it up by the top and it completely come away, all down on me, over the dessert bar, all on the floor and I was just standing there," she said.
"Whoever filled up the bottle, about two litres, didn't screw the lid up properly.
"I had sauce all down my shirt, down my pants, in my shoes and on my vest."
With sticky substance in her shoes, the businesswoman scuffled back to her table.
Mrs Calleja was handed wipes to clean herself and then went to the bathroom to rinse and hand dry her clothes.
She said management at the restaurant did not offer an apology and after a discussion, offered to pay for her clothes to be cleaned.
About an hour from her Gatton home, Mrs Calleja said she would have nothing to change into.
"They said go and buy some clothes and we'll reimburse you," she said.
"There was no apology."
In chocolate-soaked clothing, Mrs Calleja travelled to Riverlink for a new wardrobe.
"I only brought what was soiled from Sizzler," she said.
"I didn't buy any underwear, I don't wear a bra because I've had a double mastectomy."
When the family returned to Sizzler the manager refused to pay the $360 shopping bill.
"He asked for the receipt, looked at it and said, this is excessive, it's a lot of money," the daughter said.
Mrs Calleja, who complained about the "way they treated me", left with nothing except a bag of chocolate-coated clothing.
"They're not going to pay me," Ms Calleja said.
"If they did I'd donate the money to charity for homeless people because I want nothing from Sizzler.
"I've lived in many countries all over the world and never in my birthplace of Australia have I ever been treated with such contempt and disrespect."
A spokeswoman Sizzler confirmed a customer "was splashed by dessert sauce when the product she was holding fell to the ground".
"The store manager took the situation very seriously and apologised to the customer, immediately offering to pay for the dry cleaning of her clothes," she said.
"The situation has been escalated to senior management who are now liaising with the customer.
"An enjoyable and safe experience for every customer is the number one priority at Sizzler. Anything that may impact that is investigated thoroughly.
Ms Calleja, who works as an investor and antique dealer, said her diabetes was also affected thanks to her chocolate dousing.
"For two days I was in bed because of that chocolate sauce," she said.
"I was feeling absolutely physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted."
Mrs Calleja said she would not return to the restaurant chain.
"I want to show you cannot get away with showing people disrespect," she said.
"When people go into a restaurant they're entitled to customer service."