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  • The Storyteller

Bengawan Solo at Changi Airport

I overheard the following conversation at this popular local snack shop at Singapore Changi Airport.

Customer = pleasant and smiley young woman in her 20s

Seller = grumpy looking woman in her 50s or thereabout

Customer: Hi auntie (this is a form of polite salutation for older females), is there any sliced pandan cake today?

Seller: I don't have them this morning as I was so busy and didn't have time to cut. The full boxes there (pointing to behind the counter) are all waiting to be cut!

Customer: Oh, I am looking for just one slice and if I don't mind waiting, may I have one piece?

Seller: If you want, you will need to wait!

Customer: Ok, thank you I will wait here then.

(At cashier counter)

Customer: Thank you, I'm glad to get a piece as I was longing for it before boarding my plane.

Seller: (curt manner with disapproving, stern look) It's not that we don't have. I said it was busy in the morning and I had no time to cut!

Service Bank: Minus 5

Reflective thoughts: Perhaps the shop was short of its usual staff, but does that give right to the seller's attitude towards the customers? How could the seller have communicated better? Think of your own operations - what tends to make you/your team most irritable or annoyed? How can you/they avoid displaying the negative mood to the guests?

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