Archive for July, 2010


hard to forget

I think I will start this post with a dilemma written into the Herald Sun’s Wise Guy Michael Harvey (Saturday 3rd July 2010 for those playing along at home (and also making sure I am not plagiarising or shamelessly lifting content from other published materials without getting into trouble)).

Said dilemma is:

‘I buy my coffee from the same place every morning (at $4.50) but the baristas never acknowledge me. The least they could do is remember my order. TD.’

The forthcoming response from Mr. Wise Guy is: ‘Count yourself lucky, many suffer from the opposite (very first-world) problem – they can’t get their barista to shut up. Once you open the floodgates of familiarity – how was your weekend, is that a new shirt, what happened to your face – it is nigh on impossible to return to anonymous caffeination. If you’re stopping in before work, chances are you’re still waking up and should take this opportunity to vague out while you can. Remember, this is Melbourne; there are more coffee shops than traffic lights, so you could always go elsewhere. If you really want t make a point, you could be more forceful in your ordering approach. You could jokingly imply you are their best customer. Or perhaps sing your order, or write it on your forehead. If they continue to ignore you, you’re probably invisible. Maybe you should think about a new shirt, or a new face’.

Ok, there are two main questions which I see rise from this situation.

  1. (a) Does this same situation apply to supermarket customers? Do they want to be remembered as the person who doesn’t have flybuys (because they don’t like to fly/don’t believe in them/are too old/hates terrorists/has nowhere to go/really, really don’t want a fancy-arsed toaster)/always buys the salad and can’t shut the lid/person who brings their own pen to sign their credit card slip? Which then leads to (b) should I pretend I don’t remember above-mentioned people despite their delightful idiosyncrasies?
  2. Should I feel rather bad if I don’t recognise some of the more regular shoppers who may think they have an intimate grocery-shopping experience with me/admire my fantabulous bag-packing skills and knowledge of vegetable codes, as I have potentially hurt their feelings?


It is always nice to see and be served by a friendly face, right? (The amount of people who tell me the self-serve checkouts are impersonal (more like, they can’t get the concept to place their groceries in the bagging area and hence get too frustrated) must count for something). (And yes, I am going to at least have conviction in thinking I have a friendly face ha)

And then, if so, it is nice to think that you’re a person who people like to serve (hello Mr. Guy who comes in every Sunday, stands at the end of the register after being given the receipt, blatantly takes extra bags (‘I’m-saving-the-environment-by-not-using-plastic-bags’ people, he is clearly undoing ALL your good work) and repacks all his groceries, no one likes you and that is clearly not a good thing to be remembered for), right?

I guess, with my brilliant (mostly) memory, in terms of ‘Point 1a’, I would assume people want to be remembered – at least a little. TD was sad because of all the time invested in going to the same place and ordering the same thing, they felt less than important. If people are constantly good customers, they will be remembered. But if they are a real pain in the arse, forgetting them could be a bit of an issue.  And it is nice to think that customers actually care about how your day has gone.

If you’re buying lots of cake ingredients and commence to tell me everything you are going to bake, surely it is common courtesy that next time you are in, I ask how your baking turned out? (Assuming I remember who you are). You told me you were baking for a reason, felt the need to justify all those little chocolate bits and lollies you were buying (why do people do that btw? I don’t judge (unless you’re buying boxes and boxes of condoms, strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, hmm…)), surely you were asking for some curiosity on my part.

I hope ‘Point 1b’ shouldn’t factor in, because if (again), (a) they dint want to be remembered, they would be a bland customer and not someone who was actually nice or really annoying, or (b) they would shop at other supermarkets.

At least this way (my conclusion), I won’t have to ask every person whether they have flybuys… and it should count for some kind of brilliant customer service. Right?

What do you reckon?


July 2010
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