Customer Encounters #19 – Texting, texting, texting

Now we all know that it’s rude to text at the table during mealtimes, we also know that it is equally rude to be be on the phone with someone at the counter whilst the person serving you waits to serve you. Logic also dictates that it is also just as rude to be texting at the counter whilst someone serves you.

Who remembers Keith? No? Keith is one of those customers I wrote about in a previous entry, the one that carries the arrogance reeking of “I’m the most important customer in the room”. 

Very recently he has taken to playing the role of the silent customer; he comes in and begins texting on his phone. I come out and say hello, and without looking up he nods acknowledging my assistance. A normal person in this situation would put their phone away and begin their order. But not Keith, oh no, Keith as it happens is way too good to do what normal people do, so instead he carries on texting, leaving me hanging.

After about a minute I volunteer a suggestion. “Do you want king prawn fried rice?”

He shakes his head.

“Well help me out mate, I know Asians are meant to be clever but it doesn’t mean I can read your mind.”

It turns out that he wants a large special fried rice, and the only reason I know this is that my mum had to shout out the order from outside.

I then told him how much his order cost, he nodded again, and then left without paying. Apparently Keith assumes that he is too good to pay for things straight away, so he returns to his car and then pay 20 minutes later still on his phone. On one occasion he was waiting in his car and didn’t come in for quite a while, so we had to switch the lights off to get his attention.

As I said, nothing is too good for Keith.


Customer Encounters #18 – Does that come with free prawn crackers take two

If I learnt anything about life it is to lower my expectations, the logic being that when something good happens – say a 10% discount on my next purchase, a free bag of Haribo sours or even a free bag of prawn crackers – then I appreciate it a lot more than I would’ve done had I gone in with really high expectations.

Or to put it in another way, I never expect shops to give me freebies when I go in. When I do get them then it’s a pleasant surprise, and that’s often the best kind of customer. The worst kind of customer you can get in a Chinese takeaway of course are the people who always expect free things.

It’s sometimes quite amusing to see grown-ups act like children when they don’t get free prawn crackers, and on some occasions they do throw tantrums in the shop, which at first can be awkward to watch, but you have to admit is also quite funny.

The other night someone came in, male, old, very skinny, and a tattoo on his neck that was partly obscured by his shoulder-length sandy blond hair. He looked like a new customer.

He ordered three dishes amounting to about £10 and looked startled when I came out without a bag of prawn crackers.

“Where’s my prawn crackers?” He asks, “why don’t I get free prawn crackers? Everyone else around here does it!”

I was half expecting him to behave like the kid and/or the mum in the Vicks advert at one point.

He then grabs his belongings like an angry child storming off to his bedroom in a “no Xbox until you’ve done your homework” kind of way, and takes the time to shout across the counter “well I ain’t coming back here ever again!”

Me hardly ever being the one to answer back to customers simply replied: “Fine”.