Customer Encounters #8 – Refunding food because you don’t like it

A few months ago a customer from the day before came in with one of our trays and said that he bought a portion of our spare ribs last night and said he wanted a refund simply because “he didn’t like the taste”.

For the time being lets call this man Steve; now Steve looks very much like your typical white guy from Essex; a bit stocky, bit of a beer belly, shaved skinhead, dried skin that was quite raw from the cold, worn out polo shirt, battered jeans and trainers that were probably white once upon a time.

We’re going to name this man Steve because he makes another appearance in this blog in a future post.

Anyway, Steve didn’t go any further into explaining why it tasted horrible, just that it didn’t taste as good as it used to. But as we do with difficult customers, we just gave him the money without another word, and hope that he doesn’t come back.

You would think that that would be the end of him but we were wrong; the next day he came back and asked for spare ribs.

Spare ribs at the takeaway are soaking it in herb infused juices and then storing it in the fridge. Dad would do this in large batches say every week to every two weeks. In other words the spare ribs that he ordered just now would have been no different to the ones he refunded the day before.

We tried explaining this to him yet he remained adamant that he wanted spare ribs from our takeaway. We simply said “you didn’t like it yesterday, and the ones we serve you now will be no different to the ones you refunded, so it’s best we save you the trouble of coming back again to complain.”

Quite naturally he left very much dissatisfied, and to be fair to him, you would be. But given the account I have just given you, would you have taken his order knowing that he was likely to come back and file the same complaint again?