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June 02, 2009

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So the main point here is that they didn't talk to the manager. I see this as a significant difference between Canadians and Americans. In Canada, people go to a restaurant, don't have a good meal or get bad service and don't tell anyone who works there. Result = restaurant slowly dies and the owner has no idea why.

Contrast this in the US, where the patrons will complain and let the manager/owner know: "The food sucks", "Service is lousy", etc. Real-time feedback, and this helps the owner adjust (sort of like in agile development). Result = restaurant can survive.

Canadian's shouldn't be too nice in these environments.

Yup, great post Rick! And I've seen the same exact "non-service" attitudes from a local Sub shop of a national chain right here in my own small town...oh, and yup, the cashier just pointed at the sign on the wall too!

Amazing, eh?

Jim Rudnick

Trader Joes, an eclectic privately owned food retailer in the US http://www.traderjoes.com provides a great counter example*. My wife had just finished buying two bags of groceries when she realized she had forgotten ketchup. Parked her bags at the checkout counter, got the ketchup, came back to a line a couple of folks deep. The checker waved her up and said, 'that one is on us', aka FREE. Everyone in line is looking puzzled, 'won't you get in trouble?', ' oh no we get to MAKE DECISIONS here...' smiles all around and the story gets passed on regularly...

* if you have never been in a Trader Joes go visit one, quite an amazing retailer...

Farhan: The numbers I've heard -- possibly from my grandfather who ran a restaurant, but possibly also from somewhere else -- is that at most about one in ten people actually make the effort to complain to a manager when they have a problem.

I don't think this is really that much of a U.S./Canada difference; I'd expect to see the same thing happening here. And I (U.S.ian) probably wouldn't bother either. What's complaining to the manager going to get me, a lot of trouble for three stamps, and I have to do it all over again next time? It's clearly a corporate policy, and at best the manager can just waive it once while making me feel like I'm getting some special treatment for being an ass about it.

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