When Promotion Backfired

Before I went to play my escape room adventure, I went to a mall in the City to meet a couple of my friends. Their customer was having a grand opening for one of the most famous cheesecake from Japan. One of them was the graphic designer and the other one was the MC for the day. It was April 8th. The mall opens at 10 A.M which was why I wanted to go there early and I was aiming to arrive around 9 A.M but I overshot it and I arrived at 10 because of the super friendly traffic. When I arrived I went to the floor which was told by my friend the shop were. As I walk toward the shop I can see a bunch of people queuing already not only in front of the shop but also on the side of another shop – which was on renovation. I was about to say hello to my friend but I can see they were busy with some customers so I backed out a little. I thought the queue was just that much, but hell, I WAS WRONG. The queue was very long and took up space around the parking lot of the basement mall. I followed my friend around and helped out with anything that I can, obviously I was mistaken as a customer a couple times because I was unofficially helping. When I had a chance to chat with one of my friend, she said they have been queuing since 6 A.M. unbelievable. Well they did promoted it on social media and it seems a lot of food blogger mentioned it so it was like thousands of people were queuing.

Uncle Tetsu Shop” cheesecake went viral on a lot of local media, especially, digital media. The original price was Rp. 80.000,- which is around US$6.15 and for that day only people can buy it for US$ 0.60!! Imagine the enthusiasm. It was rumoured that the shop will bake around 1200 cakes, hence the amount of queues. To be honest the owner and the promoter weren’t expecting such a big enthusiasm from the whole foodies. I mean they probably was expecting around 500 or so, but wasn’t that much. Or maybe they expected thousands throughout the day, not all in one at the same time. Perhaps because it is the first original branch in the country? Who knows. They handled it quite well, in my opinion, despite a lot of complains, which I will be discussing later on.

They handed queue numbers for people that are queuing and they had to close the queue when it reached certain number. The downside of these that people do not know is, these cheesecake that they want to buy for 90% discount is FRESHLY BAKED. So, The shop can only handled a couple hundred freshly baked cheesecake when a whole lot of people are queuing. They bake the cake in batch and by sequence, apparently it will take a while for them to get it done They tried their best to maintain their quality while trying hard to handle the overflowing quantity demand. First few hundred was not a problem, they were annoyed because they had to queue for a couple hours, but they immediately get the cake. On the other hand there are people who didn’t get a chance to queue and was being told that the queue was closed and will be opened later on in the late afternoon. It is a wise move because the shop has to finish baking the rest of the people that has been queuing since morning and they couldn’t handle more people at the time. With a lot of worker baking and giving their best effort, the amount of the equipment available could only handled so much.

The problem was not the patiently queuing customers or impatient but strong-willed teenagers or moms. The unfortunate event of all sales or shops or businesses are the impatient, not understanding, and stubborn customers. It was not just once or twice that my MC friend was attacked and asked over and over regarding when they are allowed to queue again or will they get the cheesecake. No matter how often or hard my friend informed them that it will be later in the late evening and they will be updating their social media for more update, not everyone gets it. It was unfortunate because she wasn’t actually the owner nor the worker of the shop but she got bashed and complained regarding this. One thing I remember and was actually quite confused and I frowned while I heard it. an elderly said “What is this? If this is really from Japan this wouldn’t happen! If this is in Japan it wouldn’t be like this! I have been to Japan and they had better customer service than this! Customers are the kings!”

Well, Customers are Kings, but customers are humans, and doesn’t mean customers always right. I accept that it was unexpected and a little bit messy, but we have to always see things from different perspective. I understand why this old lady was annoyed and sensitive and being angry. Perhaps she went there early but couldn’t get the queue to buy the cake. But, unfortunately it wasn’t early enough. The shop had to make choices and sometimes choices can hurt. What I don’t understand though, other people has been queuing for hours but it was seemed like she blurted out and complain to get special treatment. To be quite honest, I’ve never been to Japan, and if she ever been to Japan, I’m sure she have tasted the cake from the original place and probably better for her to grab the cheesecake at the original price instead of queuing and endangering her life into tiredness and dehydration. Because it is still on discount the next day until April 23rd! Well, this is just my opinion. Obviously I’m on neither side of the team, because, hell I haven’t even had a chance to try a bite of it, so I do not know how worth it the damn cheesecake is to queue for hours. Also, it’s just me though, but I’d rather have a freshly baked cake while I don’t have to queue and while the workers have their 100% into it.

Although I understand the curiosity and the rush of having a cake for just 60 cents. I’ll probably try to grab one of those eventually, but not now anyway. If you’re curious and you’re living in Indonesia, feel free to grab one of those.

The reason why I’m sort of reviewing this event is not because I get paid to review this or siding the shop or the customers but to once again emphasize on customer serviceIt is one of the biggest issue for buying and selling goods. As a shop owner myself, I understand the dilemma of wanting to give out the best for the customer vs. we did our best but never good enough. There are times we have to give in to the customer and give them what they want, but there will be times when we have to be firm with our decision to not be played by them as well. These things are still hard for me to cope as well, because I do feel bad for people sometimes and there are times I feel that it is okay, but people reminded me that we cannot always to that. We are doing business, so we have to be firm and understanding at the same time.

It reminds me on how when I get annoyed with a service and I called the call center and perhaps blurted out with a bad tone and there are times I feel bad after I put down the phone, but as a customer service we have to understand that sometimes, people just need to complain to let it out before they calm themselves down, although there are some people who wants to get advantage by complaining, to get privilege for their own. If any of you are doing customer service or in a call center or communicating with people, beware of this type of customers. Always try to make your customer comfortable no matter how annoying they are, it is the risk of your job. It may be tiring, but it will help you to understand more and more people eventually. Dealing with fellow colleagues and customers are totally different. Perhaps if I get any illustration or live events that I can share with, I will be discussing it in more details.

Anyhoo, Congratulations for Uncle Tetsu, I hope I will be reviewing your shop’s services and foods one day.

Have a great cheesecake day!

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