Valentine’s Day is feared and loathed by men around the world. While I understand the pain that anyone in a relationship can face, I am personally glad that I do not have to go through these questions:
– what do I get her that says the right thing?
– can I get by with a card and flowers?
– what kind of message do roses send?
– should I get her a diamond?
– maybe just a small necklace?
– who was the genius who invented Valentine’s Day anyway?
– I have to pick her up in 15 minutes and I am at the grocery store, will chocolate suffice, who doesn’t love chocolate, right?
As my wife can attest, I have always been into simplicity and creativity. That may seem like a contradiction, however, both words originate from Swahili, which loosely translated means ‘low cost’. In turn, that means that she has experienced both ends of the spectrum, from a bouquet of flowers picked from the side of the road or a scavenger hunt with the first clue taped to the bathroom mirror (nothing says, “I Love You” like handing your significant other a GPS and saying, ‘good luck finding your gift’).
This year, as with every year, if we choose to go out for Valentine’s Day, we go either before or after February 14th, when all restaurants are packed and prices have tripled for a one day only ‘special’. In line with our tradition, we sallied forth last week to our local Chinese Dim Sum restaurant, where my wife can order her favorite dish (Walnut Prawns, without the Walnuts) and I am amazed by the giant Golden Buddha that sits in the middle of the dining area.
The entire evening was strewn with Customer Service stories, from the attentiveness of the wait staff, to the consideration for special dietary needs, however, the one which stood out worthy of sharing was when I asked for more of the Sweet Chili Sauce which our waiter, Ronnie, had brought out with our appetizer as part of a three sauce set. Not only did Ronnie fulfill the “extra sauce request” in under three minutes, but he brought out a soup bowl of sauce, ensuring that we had enough to last us through the evening.
While resisting the temptation to snarkify Ronnie’s Customer Service focus into a Mike Meyers comment on coffee, I could not help but notice that Ronnie had performed a very simple act that cost his company very little and was at the lowest of the risk spectrum. To be clear, Ronnie did not know that I am a sauce fiend, and that I will put sauce, gravy, relish, dressing, or any other topping onto almost any of my food.
He did however, understand the concept that he could give us another tiny, one ounce container of sauce, which we (mostly I) would go through in a few minutes, in turn causing me to flag him down for yet another portion to get my fix.
Whether Ronnie knew the exact cost of the corn syrup, sugar, and flavoring that made up this concoction is unclear, but he did comprehend that this was a much lower price than that of the plate of glazed shrimp that my wife was swooning over, and he went with his common sense.
While we don’t all work in restaurants, we all interact with Customers, and we all know (or should know), what is our Chili Sauce.
What items cost us nothing, yet give that ‘extra sauce’ to our Customers who request it?
Thanks for reading, and good luck with getting that Valentine’s Day Gift,