Paying For Free Chips

I had a really weird customer service experience recently and it’s been on my mind ever since so thought it was worth sharing.

A couple of nights ago I stopped at the chip shop on the way home from work. One of the items I ordered was going to take a few minutes to get ready so I found a wall to lean against and started to read a couple of pages of the book I’ve got currently got on the go on my Kindle.

Everything was soon ready and the person serving started to ask about salt and vinegar and the like before bagging everything up, handing it over and saying thanks and bye.

All pretty normal on the face of it.

I was half way home when I realised I hadn’t paid. He hadn’t asked me for any money and I was that interested in my book and getting home I didn’t notice myself.

Now my first thought was obviously “free chips!!” but in the interests of supporting a local small business and one I’ve been pretty happy with so far I decided I’d go back and pay. (after going home to eat first of course…I wouldn’t want them to go cold!)

So I nipped back to the shop and as I approached the counter the person who served me, a young man, about 16-17 and and an older lady were waiting to serve people. She caught my eye first so I started to explain what had happened.

She was very defensive and the first words that came out of her mouth were

I didn’t serve you!

I was a little generic of ativan taken aback as it’s not quite the reaction I was expecting and she then starting shouting at the guy next to her and another teenage boy who was cleaning tables, trying to find out who it was that had served me.

Eventually, the person who did serve me asked me what I was that I’d ordered and took my money, offering an embarrassed apology and thanking me for coming back.

As I’m doing this the person who had been cleaning tables seconds before leaned across the counter next to me shouting,

“What’s happened? What happened?

As I was leaving I could see in the background the lady explaining to the owner what was going on and pointing fingers at me and the person who’d served me.

It just all felt a bit odd.

Is it that bad a place to work that the first reaction of the staff was immediately to make sure it wasn’t them that had been found out making a mistake?

If that is the case have I gotten that person into trouble?

I wasn’t expecting them to fall to their knees and worship me like some deity for paying for seven pounds worth of food but what I didn’t expect to happen was for a bunch of adults to behave like children who were scared of getting in trouble with their parents.

What would you have done in my position?

If you worked at the shop what would you have done?

If you were the owner how would you have expected your staff to behave?

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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