Say It With Humor

By: Luana Emmons

When you own a business, you may find yourself in situations that may be a little tricky to handle. Dealing with customers who steal is one of them.

A few years back we were faced with the problem of how to handle our free water cups. It seems some of our customers were filling them with the fountain drinks instead of water. This was, of course, was theft - pure and simple, but we felt confronting the guilty customers would create a bad atmosphere in our restaurant and we wanted to change their behavior and keep them loyal.

As we were mulling over how to handle this, one of the young men on our staff decided to take things into his own hands.

While he was making his rounds, checking the dining area, he came across one of our chronic offenders. He walked over to his table and looked at his drink in the free water cup and said, "There is something wrong with your water, it’s a mess!" He then picked up the water cup and said with a smile, "Let me get you some fresh water."

Well, the chronic offender knew we were on to him, along with some of the other onlookers and that problem was no more. We all had a good laugh and it made a lasting impression on me.

Recently, we were visiting our daughter and her husband in Maryland and they took us to the "California Tortilla." We ordered our food and moved down the line and when we got to the beverage counter we noticed two pictures. One of the pictures was titled; "Good Bob" and it showed "Good Bob" holding a water cup and under the picture was the caption, "Good Bob only puts water in his water cup." The other picture was titled "Bad Bob" and it showed "Bad Bob" holding a water cup. Under the picture was the caption, "Bad Bob puts fountain drinks in his water cup." We thought this was a great and ingenious way to handle this problem and we noticed it brought chuckles and smiles to the other customers as well.

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