This was my face when twice in two days I left a business just ever so slightly miffed, but overwhelmingly resolute that I would not return.


Because their penny pinching saw them break a promise to me as their customer.

Being English I’m not one to cause a fuss. I’ll politely point out that I have been slighted in some way, and I will give you a chance to rectify the situation, but Heaven forbid I will not get into an argument about it or cause a scene. However being English also means I will walk away bearing a grudge and will boycott your business until the end of time.

The first, a popular local bar, enticed us in with an offer recently of ‘Father’s Eat Free’ for Father’s Day. Seems simple enough right? No terms and conditions on the poster, no small print about how much has to be spent or how many people.

So we pick it over about half a dozen other places we would probably have gone to otherwise and enjoy a nice lunch. The sting in the tail? I ‘only had a burger’ and the offer only pertains to a free main. Of course the burger cost the establishment far less than the 300gm Scotch Fillet I would have had if I had known, but nothing doing – they wouldn’t take the burger off the bill. They are one of four bars on that part of the street, and about a dozen more nearby. And now they are off my list of places that I’ll consider when I’m looking for lunch, dinner, or even just a drink. Not only will I not be spending money with them any more – I’ll be spending it with their competition!

The second example occurred the very next day on my commute when I stop for coffee and realise I have gained seven stamps on my coffee card I claim the eighth for free. (Yes that’s buy 7 get one free, rather than the usual 5 or 6 – I should’ve taken the hint.) I ask for a large flat white and a minute later they hand me a small one.

“I asked for a large one?”

“Sorry you can only get a small coffee for free.”

“But I always get a large one. I bought seven large ones to get this one.”

“Sorry, I can only give you a small one.”

Now I know that margins in the hospitality business are wafer-thin – after all I worked in the industry for eight years. But I also know that the value of a customer (and ensuring I do everything I can to see them return) is waaaaay more than the cost of plating up a chicken burger, or giving someone a large coffee.

That second incident particularly upsets me… I mean come on!

You have let me leave unhappy for the sake of 100ml of milk and 50ml of espresso.

You’ve just sacrificed $5 from me almost every weekday to save 50c one time.

The moral of the story is this: Give a little to keep a customer happy – you’ll always get more back.