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”.

Does that come with Free Prawn Crackers?


They say that the best things in life comes free, and prawn crackers are one of them… provided you’re willing to spend £15+ on your order.

Prawn crackers aren’t specifically speaking a Chinese dish; it’s regularly served as a snack or appetizer in a lot of Chinese eateries in the UK, but it’s origins are actually Indonesian where they are called krupuk.

Since then they have become synonymous with Oriental cuisine as an appetiser. As a suggestion try dipping them in either a curry, sweet and sour or barbecque sauce, and they have also taken on many forms from the Calbee shrimp chips with barbecque seasoning varieties to fish crackers.

Who doesn’t love prawn crackers? (those allergic to prawns as it happens as they do contain shrimp or shrimp extract). Those little white discs deep fried in oil blooming into big white fluffy petals of crispiness, left to cool for a few minutes before being lovingly packaged into plastic bags ready for you to enjoy at the price of £1.10 per bag (they used to be £1. I don’t know why there’s been an extra 10p added.).

If only I had £1.10 for every single time anyone asked me if prawn crackers came free.

Admittedly I used to get irritated that everyone would demand free prawn crackers (“Everyone else is doing it!”). To be fair, it’s not an unreasonable question to ask because prawn crackers aren’t exactly expensive and are normally bought in a box (£3.99 for a 2kg box) and we charge up to £1.10 per bag, and that makes just a little bit of money for an otherwise ailing business (as the saying goes: every little helps). Admittedly prawn crackers aren’t exactly our menu best sellers and is not necessarily the snack of choice when you’re on a bus home because the packaging is quite awkward compared to traditional crisp packets (a plastic bag sealed with a one inch strip of tape).

Ideally I would like to give away prawn crackers for free, but unfortunately it isn’t something that my boss (aka dad) would allow.