Customer Service- Role Reversal

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Last evening, my daughter and I went window-shopping  at the local market and of course had to stop at the favourite street side ‘Sev Puri’ stall. We have been visiting this tiny joint for more than a decade. The petite lady selling the ‘Chaat’ is helped by her son who keeps getting fired by her for his street urchin behaviour. We just smile in amusement at every such instance and continue to order our parcels from her.

Yesterday, she was alone at the stall with a huge crowd of her regular customers. She tried her best to speed up, but after a point started telling one and then another customer that she had run out of chopped onions and with no helping hand she wouldn’t be able to make the parcel. My daughter had gone to the next shop to pick up a bottle of water and I was standing at the stall waiting… doing nothing.

Seeing two of her customers go, triggered something in me. On a sudden impulse I asked her if she had raw onions and mechanically she titled her head to one direction indicating where they were. I took the knife peeled and started chopping the onion for her. When I was half way through, she asked me if I wanted to buy only onion from her, I told her I was doing it to enable her to make more parcels. The expression on her face was priceless!

This was not the end. My daughter came back and thought that I was hurt and hence bending forward. When I told her what I was doing, she took the paper from the lady and started arranging dry stuff for the parcel on it. We didn’t know where to keep it on her tiny stall. I couldn’t believe it when the customers started extending their hands to hold their half-done parcels and the stall owner just had to add the masala! Her expression was total disbelief… her customers were helping her… it was amazing! The peak hour was dealt with smoothly and I too headed home with my parcel.

Did this chain of events make her happy. She saved her loss of income and somewhere motivated other customers also to chip in for the good cause.   Can we call it customer service…who made whom happy.

My answer is every one…a total win-win at the Chaat shop.