But it’s cold outside!

Unless you have been hiding under your duvet for the last week or fortnight, you would’ve noticed that yes it is snowing, and once that happens the good part of BBC coverage becomes dedicated to an endless montage of photographs of shiny happy people kitted out in wellington boots, and winter warmers.

Whilst I do enjoy the snow but have yet to build a snowman (main reason being I don’t know how) I do find myself occasionally hating it because of the travel disruptions, the not knowing if school is going to be open and potentially wasting two hours getting there then finding out you have to go back home. Another reason why I don’t like it is because it’s bad for business.

Not only the driving there, and the possibility that no one will come, but because it is ridiculously freezing in the takeaway. I cannot possibly describe how insanely cold it is in the kitchen. A lot of people assume it must be nice and toasty because it’s a kitchen and that we must have the gas hob on full blast back there.

Last week I was wearing five layers, a scarf, and two pairs of socks. That was how insanely cold it was. Even the waiting area is depressingly cold and I wish I could keep the heating on for them, but with gas and electricity prices at this current rate it’s not like we can afford to do so.

The recession has forced us not only to raise prices but to choose not to put the heating on, and it really does annoy me that I can only switch the heating on when a customer comes in and off the minute they leave, knowing that they are probably just as cold as I am.

That we can’t even afford to keep the heating on for as long as we like is a horrible reminder that of how we’re struggling to cope.

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.