Recent Posts

March 31, 2010

Almost asked, and the reader who did

God I've missed asking.

Today, Mr. A and I had a really bad dinner at an overpriced Italian restaurant, and as we left, I almost picked up the card with the owner's email. The waitress was really nice and the atmosphere was cool. As was the company. Tesoro. But the food. So bad it's not even worth the fifteen seconds it would take to type a description.

"Maybe I could ask?" I mused aloud to Mr. A on our way out the door. "Why they run things this way, and if they have any idea why their place is always empty. Maybe they don't realize how bad the food is? It wouldn't take a lot to tweak it. Less acid in the tomato sauce. Less breadcrumbs. More fresh herbs. It's such a pity."

I started composing an email in my head. "Caro Signore. Have you ever stopped to think why your restaurant is always empty? Would you be curious to hear the candid opinion of a visitor who dined there for the first time on a recent evening? While it is not my intention to offend you, I think perhaps getting the feedback of a diner could help fill some seats in your otherwise lovely establishment..." and then I realized:

1) That would be cruel. There's no point in asking something if it would just be insulting
2) That would be snooty. This whole "I'm a foodie. I have a Yelp account. Cower in fear" movement turns me off. My opinion is my opinion. Maybe someone else likes that food. Not many people, apparently, but still. Why am I more right than they?
3) Even if I wanted to ask, I couldn't. I don't have time!!!! Deadlines are crashing down and until April 14 this is my ONLY DAY OFF. Hence this blog-o-rama.

But let the record show that I am thinking about asking -- and doing it on the days I step away from my computer, which will be rare between now and April 14.

Instead of writing about myself, here's a thought: I tell you the success story a reader recently shared with me. He was charged for some photos and found out later the price was higher than what he had expected. Here is his email to the photo merchant.
Thank you for your speedy service. However, I was told (by the photographer, John Doe) when the photos were taken that the price would be $10 per digital copy and I ended up paying $20. Is there any way I could get you to send me "HAPPYASKER.JPG" as well? I really wanted that one too, but can't afford both at this new price. I hope we can work something out.

Thank you for your time,

An Asker
What I love: the tone is friendly and upbeat. He acknowledges something positive (speedy service), rather than putting them on the defensive from the start. He states his complaint/concern simply and objectively; no pointing fingers (yet he does provide the name of the employee in question). He also includes a personal and sincere appeal, saying he can't afford both. Finally, he ends the note with an affable yet businesslike formulation, putting the ball in their court.

Did they bite?

Do fish swim?

Do askers ask?!!

Here's the email they shot back that very afternoon:
The $10 special is if you come in to the office on the day. Because of the misunderstanding, I've included the other shot for you free of charge.
Considerate Merchant
With this adjustment, the merchant didn't sacrifice something he couldn't afford. Normally, he was willing to offer the photos at that price for same-day orders. By being flexible and extending the offer over email due to this misunderstanding, the merchant lost $10 but won a customer. (This reader, after all, was super excited to tell me about this.)

In the next post, I will make an appeal to you, oh reader.

And then, back to this deadline. So. Close.

[image via]
blog comments powered by Disqus