Quibbling Over Pennies

Mark went in to the sandwich shop and was in the queue to pay. The lady in front of him was told that there was insufficient change in the till, so she was given 5 pence change instead of the 4 pence she was owed. She went away satisfied. Mark’s bill came to £3.38. He handed over a £5 note and was given just £1.60 in change. He asked about his other 2 pence. The checkout operator replied that they didn’t have change, so he couldn’t have it!

• The checkout operator was prepared to cheat a customer!

Mark has been thinking about customer service lately. So he suggested that the best policy would be to find in favour of the customer – to give him another 5p change. The checkout operator refused.

  • The checkout operator was prepared to loose a customer for the sake of a few pence!
  • The checkout operator was prepared take time to argue over a few pence!

The server then proceeded to call over her manager. The manager suggested they get some change from the other till. The checkout girl did so, and gave Mark the rest of his change.

Although this appears to be a failure on the part of a single member of staff, it hints at a deeper problem in the sandwich company:

  • The checkout-operator felt sufficiently disempowered / de-motivated that she could not make a decision in favour of her customer.
  • The checkout-operator felt unable to take change from the other till without manager’s approval.

All in all, this was a sad performance.

[With thanks to Mark, as he told me this story yesterday. I am sure figures are wrong, but that the gist is accurate.]


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