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Not About Food

A simple "I'm sorry" would go a long way


Not About Food 15

A simple "I'm sorry" would go a long way

pane | Nov 24, 2006 05:04 PM

After researching turkey variations for about two weeks, I placed an online order with a local butcher for a 10 pound Diestel. Within half an hour of ordering, I received a call that they were out of this size and brand.

My two options were a 12-14 pound bird or a 6-9 pound organic. With only four people to feed, I selected the 6-9 pound variety. This was a little over a week before Thanksgiving. The Monday before, I was feeling uneasy about the order--not sure why, but I called to confirm. The butcher said that they were too busy to confirm specific orders.

Fast forward to the morning before Thanksgiving. I take an hour and ten minute bus/streetcar ride out to the butcher, only to find that they're opening half an hour late, unannounced. I wait another hour to discover that they've reserved a 14 pound bird for me and no other birds are available.

I explained the situation to the butcher, who tells me that there must have been a "communication breakdown." He offers me the large bird (with no discount) or I can wait until close of business to see if a smaller bird goes unclaimed. Not wanting to waste the animal, I decide to wait, and spend much of the day visiting other stores to discover their smaller birds are sold out, too.

I return at 7:30 p.m. and walk up to the butcher. He can't remember me from our extended conversation that morning, and asks what I want. I tell him that there had been a mistake in my order and I'm back to see if a smaller bird is available. At this point, he goes on a mini-rant about how there was a "communication breakdown," not a mistake. I finally walk out with a 9.5 pound organic bird.

The moral of this story, to me, is that I'm sorry would have gone a long way. Of course butchers are busy during the holiday season, and I understand that sometimes mistakes are made. Had the butcher simply apologized, I would have written this off as bad luck and probably returned at some point, because this shop does have a quality product. However, I will not return and when I get back in the office on Monday and do the rounds of Thanksgiving stories with my co-workers, they'll also hear about this. So the butcher loses one customer and several potential customers. Would a simple "I'm sorry" have been too much?

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