Friday, October 26, 2012

Tales from the Customer Service Crypt

Starbucks' Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Foodies love to think about what they're going to eat and drink way before the actual moment of ingestion. Could be because they love to think about their favorite hobby, and if you only think about what you're eating and drinking while eating and drinking it, the whole pleasurable event is over way too soon. In my opinion, that's why all roads leading to the tasting moment also contribute to a foodie's bliss.

In an episode of “Top Chef” this year, host/producer Tom Colicchio said, "People come to a restaurant for food, but they come back for service." How true! Customer service is a huge and often taken for granted part of any buying experience, whether the buyer is a foodie or not. When there are bumps in the road to acquiring what a person can't wait to taste, that leaves a lingering malaise and can result in a customer lost.

It's only a few days until Halloween. What better time, then, to share a few scary tales from the customer service crypt. The scary-meter below refers to when I, as customer, realized a particular business was scaring me with its cluelessness and/or lack of sanity with regard to basic customer service.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Calamari Please Hold the Ketchup

In the last few weeks I’ve been hit with an overwhelming craving to eat calamari, aka “fried calamari in the typical fashion." To me that translates to breaded rings and tiny tentacles of squid that are deep-fried and served hot and crispy. When I refer to calamari I am never referring to grilled calamari on top of greens or that newish fad of calamari sticks—a stack of breaded calamari planks that when picked up flounce up and down like a rubber pencil. Nope, those latter types of calamari are just not for me.

Calamari is one of those proteins in which I suspend my disbelief about 80% regarding what I’m actually eating. What can I say, I could barely look into the famous and breathtakingly gorgeous jellyfish tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and while I know that jellyfish are not quite the same as squid, still, this type of creature is not what I like to imagine ingesting with full cognitive awareness. Calamari is squid after all, and personally I do not find squid attractive to look at or think about chewing. That said, the tiny tentacles pieces on a typical fried calamari plate is pretty much the squid sticking its tongue out at me proclaiming, "See, how could you NOT know you're eating me, the squid." Alas, how true, and that is likely why 20% of my brain always gets that eating delicious fried calamari equals eating pieces of a once squiggly, icky squid.