Thai restaurant trusts its customers

Zap Thai: Humanity Trumps Customer Humiliation

So I’m casually, minding my own business when I was approached by Skye Overall to share a customer service blog post. She had a story to tell and was hoping I could provide the outlet. Well, tada. I’m always happy to showcase a great experience when it seems the ones we always hear…well…suck. Over to you Skye. 

Thai restaurant trusts its customers
The “S” is for Service…cape might be a bit much.

I just had one of the best customer service experiences ever, and I knew that I needed to share it with you all. My own blog is mostly about running, but Russel kindly allowed me to invade his blog, so I could pass on this story.

First, I need to share something a bit embarrassing, so you can get the full picture. Due to some unexpected bills this month, I ended up having just enough from my paycheque to cover them, with literally less than $5 left in my bank account right after payday. This made me uncomfortable because it has not happened to me since I was a student.

However, I was only a couple of days from my next paycheque, and I still had a credit card. I really wanted Thai food, but I didn’t want to wait until payday because I worked nights that night. So, after checking my credit card balance, I ordered dinner from my local Thai restaurant, Zap Thai in Esquimalt on my way home from work. I’m not a regular, but I do order dinner from there every month or so (the food is awesome, by the way, especially the spring rolls).

I went to pick up my order and gave the girl at the counter my credit card. Declined. I tried again. Declined. I knew I had money on that card; I checked 20 minutes ago. Baffled, and embarrassed beyond belief, I told the girl that I would have to leave the order because I didn’t have enough in my account to cover it. I felt bad because it’s a small business and they probably can’t afford to throw whole orders out. I would NEVER order from anywhere without intending to pay, especially a small local business like this. I headed to my car, almost in tears from humiliation.

Just as I was getting into my car, the girl came out and said that her boss was making her ask me to come back in. I thought for sure that she wanted to yell at me for wasting her time and food. I was thinking of how I was going to apologize as well as I could, but was also resigning myself to the fact that I might not be able to order from here anymore.

I walked back in, and the owner asked if I didn’t have any money. I explained that I checked my credit card balance just before I called the order in, and it said that there was money. I said I was very sorry and that I would never have ordered the food if I didn’t think I could pay for it. Then she asked me if she put my bill on the board behind the counter if I could take the food and pay her tomorrow. Wait, what? She was going to let me take the food home without paying, if I promised to pay her tomorrow? She didn’t know me, she had no reason to trust me, but she was willing to do this? I was absolutely stunned.

Of course, I said yes. I was still hungry, after all, and I knew that I would be able to pay her somehow. I looked her in the eye and assured her that I would be back by the same time the next day (as it turns out, my husband got a cheque in the mail, so I took the bus to work so he could drive to the bank and get some money for her). I thanked her profusely and took the food home.

So, rather than me losing a favorite take-out restaurant, the owner gained a loyal customer (although I will be paying cash for awhile). It helps that the food is delicious, but even if it wasn’t the best, I would still give this place preference over a chain. I know that this would never have happened in a chain restaurant. It might not have even happened at some of the larger local places. In all likelihood, I would have been treated like someone who didn’t intend to pay, if I wasn’t accused of it outright. But by treating me like a human being, this little place has guaranteed that I will be back again.

And seriously. Try the spring rolls.

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