Treat your customers like friends…

Birthday Pancakes (2)
Well, yesterday was my birthday and I took the day off and planned to treat myself to a greasy cheeseburger and a cheap haircut.
The burger I planned for yesterday was less than successful. It was my own fault for taking my time and farting around too long in the morning. I wound up not having the time to get to the diner I was planning to have a burger at. I decided to head for MacDonald’s but on the way to the golden arches I spotted a sign outside of a local Quinpool Road gaming cafe that advertised a BURGER AND A BEER FOR TEN BUCKS. So, being a bit of an adventurer when it comes to food I decided to give them a try.
I walked into a big empty room. There was a table full of D&D players and that was all the people I saw. I walked up to the counter were the owner, a tidy-looking millennial, politely greeted me. I ordered my beer and burger. He asked me to sit by the window. I am sure that he thought the sight of me enjoying my burger in plain view of the window would be all that was necessary to bring a horde of new customers wanting to share a dining room with a famous local author.
(Hey, I can dream!)
The beer was good and cold and the burger wasn’t too bad, although it was obviously a fried frozen patty. I didn’t mind. I am not a fussy eater.
Another young man came in and walked to the counter. He was a busboy or a counter clerk. I finished my meal and walked up to the counter to pay my bill. The young man fumbled with the cash register a minute or so before nervously going to get the manager.
“What are you doing?” the manager chided the young man. “I told you not to touch anything.”
The manager rung up the bill and walked back to the kitchen. Maybe he had a cake baking in the oven or else he was frying french fries. The bill, with taxes, came to about $11.50. I handed the young man a twenty dollar bill, intending to tip with the change. The young man looked at the bill nervously, then went back to the manager who came out looking unhappy.
Maybe his cake fell.
“Don’t you have a card that you can pay with?” he asked me.
“I do have a bank card,” I said. “I used it at the bank to get the money that I need to pay for my meal and a haircut.”
“I don’t have any change,” the manager said. “Can’t you use your card again?”
“I can’t do that,” I said, mildly astounded that ANYONE would try to run a restaurant without preparing a float. “I prefer to pay cash.”
The manager sniffed and poked around in the tip jar as if he was hoping to find change there. Then he pulled a crumpled ten dollar bill out of his pocket and threw it angrily onto the counter. “Thank you very much.”
Then he stormed back into the kitchen for his cake or his french fries or WHATEVER the heck he was doing in there that must have way more important than treating a brand new customer in such a rude and foul manner. I shrugged at the bus boy who looked nervously at me.
Then I walked away and headed down the street for a really fan haircut, giving no further thought to that young millennial bozo who had been so rude to me for ACTUALLY wanting to pay my bill with cash!
The lesson here, folks – is to ALWAYS treat your customers like they were your friend. I try to pay attention to people who buy my books. I would like to say hello to them and buy them all a cold root beer.
Even if you are having a really rough day – DON’T take it out on your client.
I wouldn’t walk back in there for all the cheap beer in Halifax.
Other than that I had a great birthday and received offers for  THREE different writing gigs
For which I thanked them very kindly.
Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

3 responses to “Treat your customers like friends…

  1. My daughter and I were planning on going to that place for the first time tomorrow but based on the lack of professionalism you noted, I think we will change our plans and go to the Board Room instead. They have always been friendly and courteous there (and they actually IDed me once – I’m in my 40s, so I was flattered,) and the food has always been wonderfully fresh.


  2. Oh, and happy belated birthday.


  3. Belated happy birthday, Steve!


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