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Thursday 10 December 2009

Is it because I'm British?

Yesterday, I went for my lunch time Costa as I do every week (sometimes, 2 or 3 times a week - what can I say? It's my guilty pleasure). Anyway, I ordered my usual medium and they gave me a small. So I did the worst thing imaginable - I complained. Yes, I actually took it back up the till and said "I'm really sorry, but I ordered a medium." They took it and a few minutes later supplied me with the medium I had ordered (and paid for) but the look they gave me just made me want to shrink up inside myself. I'm sure they'll forget - they must see hundreds of people - but everytime I go there now, I know I'll be worrying that they will be remembering the time I complained. And the worst thing is I knew that I was totally in my right to do this - yet I am the one apologizing? What is going on here? Why do I feel so terrible about getting what I paid for? Is it really because I'm British; everyone is always saying how polite we are (we do stand in queues) but are we too polite? Let me know - I'm especially interested to hear from those who aren't British and your views, or are you British but have no problems sending food back (I know I can't do it)?


Kess said...

I am exactly the same! What was funny was that I read your post shortly after notifying an ebay trader that I was giving them neutral feedback (for a good reason), and received a fairly rude reply in return. I felt a bit put out, and so felt able to relate to what you wrote!

See you soon!

Gone Back South said...

You weren't exactly complaining (you didn't say "this coffee tastes awful" or "these tables are all filthy", you were merely correcting their mistake of giving you the wrong thing. I think you're feeling awkward about it because you care about what these strangers think. The truth is, nobody likes to be shown to have made a mistake, and if they sneered it was probably because they were immature, felt silly and put out, and wanted to take it out on somebody. This is of course the wrong attitude for somebody in a customer service role. A worthy coffee shop employee would have smiled, apologised, and tried not to make you feel bad. You didn't do the wrong thing; The Costa Coffee franchisee has done the wrong thing by not selecting/training their employees enough in giving good customer service. So don't worry about it - it's not your problem!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks Absolutely Write, although that was kind of my point - I know I didn't do anything wrong; I was just commenting on how it is social expectance in England to feel bad about complaining or correcting anybody. And just so we're clear, I don't think the staff are badly trained and I'm sure they weren't sneering (it's just how I imagined they were reacting at the time ) - I go in two to three times a week so am quite confident in saying that.