Customer care and raw chicken balls – Part 3


Photo by: ninjapoodles

So, where do the chicken balls fit in? Well, I was in a bit of rush around lunch time and stopped at the first strip mall restaurant in sight. It was a tiny Chinese take-out joint with no line, so I figured it would be fast.

The cashier took my order and credit card, and then turned around to start prepping my sesame chicken. 80% of the lunch dishes were based on poultry, so she had a giant bowl of breaded, raw chicken balls waiting next to the deep fat fryer.

I watched in horror as she used my American Express to scoop the raw chicken balls into the hot oil!

I chose to ignore it and assume that the heat would kill any germs from the last guy’s credit card.  I also chose not to dwell on all the less obvious sanitary issues the place probably had.

In a few minutes, the lady yelled my number and pushed a heaping Styrofoam plate at me. I ate it. About 7 hours later, I paid for it.

It was the worst flight of my life. I was fine getting on the plane– but about 30 minutes after the linebacker left our row, I knew something was very wrong. I managed not to vomit… but only because that seething, evil mess was stuck halfway between both exits and couldn’t decide which way to come out.

The nice lady in the window seat noticed my obvious distress. She asked if I was Ok… I could only manage a “not really” grunt. I leaned forward and found the least sick position with my forehead pressed against the seat ahead. This angel of a lady reached over and started rubbing my back for nearly an hour. I felt like a college girl bent over the throne with a sorority sister kindly holding back her hair.

That was the kindest gift I’ve ever received from a stranger. I will cherish it and look forward to a time when I can likewise help a stranger in need. What a great reminder that we are all just humans making our way on this planet!

Personal takeaway #1: Focus first on the full customer experience, even when my own workload gets challenging. I need to really put myself in the customer’s shoes and make sure I’m not cutting obvious corners with all these raw chicken balls in the air.

Personal takeaway #2: Many people that I deal with are in obvious distress, be it financial, medical, spiritual, or otherwise. I bet there are plenty of others that hide it well. I need to be on the lookout for simple ways to figuratively (and maybe even literally!) offer a touch of relief that transcends the business at hand.

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8 comments

  1. Awesome stuff, man.. I almost lost it at the credit card scoop, I was pretty grossed out. Good to see a happy ending.

  2. Awesome stuff, man.. I almost lost it at the credit card scoop, I was pretty grossed out. Good to see a happy ending.

  3. Jeff, I always enjoy reading your posts however, this time all I can say is…HOLY MOTHER OF GOD…what were you thinking???
    Seriously though your fellow passengers reaction to your plight (self-imposed hell that it was) was an excellent practical example of how we should all treat one another. – Glenn

  4. Jeff, I always enjoy reading your posts however, this time all I can say is…HOLY MOTHER OF GOD…what were you thinking???
    Seriously though your fellow passengers reaction to your plight (self-imposed hell that it was) was an excellent practical example of how we should all treat one another. – Glenn

  5. Jeff Waters · ·

    Hey Glenn, cool to see you reading all this engineering stuff… Yep, I definitely paid the “stupid tax” on this one!

  6. Jeff Waters · ·

    Hey Glenn, cool to see you reading all this engineering stuff… Yep, I definitely paid the “stupid tax” on this one!

  7. Chris Riordan · ·

    Too many emotions at this time. You speak the truth on the customer experience. It always helps to see things from the other person’s perspective. The truly religious and spiritual will tell you that like it was obvious.
    Knowing you, Jeff, I laugh at the thought and figure that Kevin probably gave you a bonus for being in the hurling position. You might have gotten more had you slugged down some white lightening to boot.
    I’m also a bit apprehensive as I am travelling to Asia soon and may face the same situation. Ahh, the wonders of regional anti-bodies. I have a neighbor who just ended up in the hospital after eating something during a trip to China.
    But keeping an open mind and an open eye for fellow humans is always good policy.

  8. Chris Riordan · ·

    Too many emotions at this time. You speak the truth on the customer experience. It always helps to see things from the other person’s perspective. The truly religious and spiritual will tell you that like it was obvious.
    Knowing you, Jeff, I laugh at the thought and figure that Kevin probably gave you a bonus for being in the hurling position. You might have gotten more had you slugged down some white lightening to boot.
    I’m also a bit apprehensive as I am travelling to Asia soon and may face the same situation. Ahh, the wonders of regional anti-bodies. I have a neighbor who just ended up in the hospital after eating something during a trip to China.
    But keeping an open mind and an open eye for fellow humans is always good policy.