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Re: Goodbye, Fedora



[snip]

I figured, OK, since the morning is shot anyway, I might as well go to
the diner for some breakfast.

It’s one of those classic New York diners, like the one on Seinfeld.
There’s a thirty page menu and a kitchen the size of a phone booth. It
doesn’t make sense. They must have Star Trek technology to get all those
ingredients into such a small space. Maybe they rearrange atoms on the
spot.

I was sitting by the cash register. 

An older woman came up to pay her check. As she was paying, she said to
the owner, “you know, I’ve been coming here for years and years, and
that waiter was really rather rude to me.”

The owner was furious.

“What do you mean? No he wasn’t! He’s a good waiter! I never had a
complaint!’

The customer couldn’t believe it. Here she was, a loyal customer, and
she wanted to help out the owner by letting him know that one of his
waiters needed a little bit of help in the manners department, but the
owner was arguing with her!

“Well, that’s fine, but I’ve been coming here for years, and everybody
is always very nice to me, but that guy was rude to me,” she explained,
patiently.

“I don’t care if you’ve been coming here forever. My waiters are not
rude.” The owner proceeded to yell at her. “I never had no problems. Why
are you making problems?”

“Look, if you’re going to treat me this way I won’t come back.”

“I don’t care!” said the owner. One of the great things about owning a
diner in New York is that there are so many people in the city that you
can offend every single customer who ever comes into your diner and
you’ll still have a lot of customers. “Don’t come back! I don’t want you
as a customer!”

Good for you, I thought. Here’s a 60-something year old man, owner of a
diner, and you won some big moral victory against a little old lady. Are
you proud of yourself? How macho do you have to be? Does the moral
victory make you feel better? Did you really have to lose a repeat
customer?

Would it have made you feel totally emasculated to say, “I’m so sorry.
I’ll have a word with him?”

It’s easy to get caught up in the emotional heat of the moment when
someone is complaining. 

-- http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html



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