Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coke and Lemon


Lately we have been reading quite a fair bit about the dismal state of service in Singapore.

Singapore has been ranked ninth out of 10 countries and territories for the third consecutive year last year for customer satisfaction.

‘’If Singapore is to lift its languishing service standards and compete effectively with top global cities for visitors, chief executive officers here must show that they are serious about changing things,’’ pontificates six CEO’s at a recent Forum.

Service standards have indeed sunk to a crisis point, reported the papers. Crisis point? Or ridiculous point, I wonder? Or pure despair, and beyond hope?

I was at Sakae Sushi yesterday, hungry, in a hurry, and wanting a quick bite. I saw the claims on their computer screens: ‘’our rice is enriched with Vitamin E! Our food is sent for bacteria count examination each week!’’

Still, I didn’t have high hopes for food served from a conveyor belt in Singapore, and was not under any delusion of a gourmet meal in a five star establishment. But neither was I expecting to be talking to someone from another planet or who has lost her human capacity for reasoning:

Me: You serve diet Coke? Can you put a few slices of lemon into my diet Coke?
Waitress: (Dead silence, confused look)
Me: (noticing a very Chinese name on her tag, repeated my request in Mandarin)
Waitress: (Blank look)
Me: Lemon, you have lemon? (surely a Japanese restaurant would have lemon in the kitchen)
Waitress: Yes, yes
Me: Ok, can you give me a few slices and put them into my Coke?
Waitress: (Pointing to the fridge in front of me, containing bottles and bottles of mini Coke) But our Coke comes in bottles.
Me: Do you pour out your Coke from the bottle before you serve?
Waitress: Yes
Me: Ok, never mind, just give me a few slices of lemon, and the Coke.

So in this case, are you going to blame the CEO’s for not being serious, for not training their staff (to think?!), for hiring staff with no IQ, or simply blame the staff for being too lazy to ‘’exercise her brain’’?

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