Customer Encounters #12 – But I’m from Peckham!

Around the end of last year we had a customer who came in, a new customer as it happened, she asked quite a few questions about the menu and had a specific interest in wanting something that had king prawns and did keep changing her mind every so often.

She settled for deep fried king prawn with chilli salt and pepper (something of a recommended dish if I do say so myself). We brought it out and she opened it in front of us and took issue with the number of prawns compared to the size of the box and how expensive it was (£4.20).

She made a huge fuss about it being so expensive to which I pointed out that seafood in general is going to be slightly more expensive.

“No  it’s not expensive.” She said giving me the attitude and the “nu-uh” finger gesture, “I’m from Peckham, prawn is not expensive down there, I buy it everyday, I can buy prawn anywhere there and it’s not this expensive.”

“Well I hate to break it to you love but one you’re not in Peckham and two if you’re claiming that king prawn is not that expensive there then it’s either not fresh, or from Iceland or most likely both.”

She said this with a sense of entitlement, that she deserved cheaper king prawns and was oblivious to the fact that we are also aware of the increasing cost of king prawns, which we consider something of a luxury in our house.

She repeated herself over and over again in that agitated manner people get when they’re frustrated and angry and resort to just constantly repeating themselves, as if saying that means that they win the argument.

Nevertheless this woman stormed out and most definitely will not be making the trouble of coming back from Peckham to our shop.

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Customer Encounters #3 – Not enough money

A few nights ago a teenage girl of about 15 years old came in with her friend and asked for a chicken chow mein with duck and sauce on top. Not an unusual request but one I knew that dad would take issue with serving in a regular container and would have to serve it in a large.

I then explained the situation to said customer who took issue with it and gave me a dirty look and so settled for having just a simple duck chow mein. She just about had the right money and asked if she could have sauce with it.

That would be an extra 50p.

She threw me another dirty look and just left. She didn’t even lok to see if there was a cheaper alternative.

Sometimes in life you can’t always get or buy what you want and you just have to live within your means. Not everyone can afford to eat duck all the time.

Customer encounters #1 – Your food is too expensive

Customer: What’s the difference between regular and large?

Me: *takes out a large and regular container*

C: That much for a container that big?! That’s way too expensive.

M: Well times are tough I’m afraid.

C: Right, well I’ll have a large king prawn chow mein. I’ll only eat here once because I’m hungry. I never spend more than £4 on a meal.

M: *internal monologue* well if you think we’re too expensive for you and you think you’re too good for us then you’re perfectly entitled to take your cash elsewhere.

Now I know it sounds really bad and I should be trying to woo customers to spend their money for our food, but it is that feeling that no one seems to appreciate that we are still in a recession and that it has been tough and that like everyone else, we also had to take the heartbreaking decision of raising prices.

And I know I shouldn’t slate customers who say the prices are too expensive (it’s just constructive criticism), but you can’t help but feel that no one seems to appreciate the fact that we’re trying to cope with the current economic climate.

In all honesty I find it quite hurtful when people give us a dirty look and say out loud our food is too expensive. It’s like they live in a bubble world and haven’t realised that we’re still in recession and raising prices is the only option we have to stay afloat.

No business wants to raise their prices because they know it might drive away regular customers or that our regulars will start spending less. Whilst it is posible to lower prices it would affect our income and you would be hard pressed to find a cash a carry that would sell crates of shrimp or prawns for a lot cheaper than they do now.

I guess it’s fair to say that coming from a Chinese background I tend to be more reserved and more muted with my criticism and try not to kick up a fuss unlike a lot of people who come here.

Next time you go into a small business and complain the prices are too expensive, know that we are trying to do the best that we can and that we would be better off with less customers like you.