The first day in your September School holiday- About reputation

Dear Ian,

We ordered some drinks when we settle down at Tekka Centre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tekka_Centre) for lunch and learned a couple of things about cheating and reputation.

Your mum and you came back and she was angry that the Chicken Rice stall lady tried to cheat her. Your mum ordered a plate of chicken rice, without telling the hawker how much. You see, if the chicken rice price is displayed at $3.50, the logical price would be; $3.50. But when your mum gave a $50 and got back only $46, she asked the lady hawker, whom said, “Oh I thought you wanted $4!” she took back the plate and ceremoniously removed some fillings to make it “$3.50”.

You were totally oblivious to this, but I took the opportunity to explain to you, when you said that the sugar cane ‘waiter’ was very nice and friendly. That was when I explained to you why he need to be ‘proactive’ because if he doesn’t come up to our table and ask us if we wanted to order drinks from him, he would have lost the sale of 3 cups, to someone else. If he is not friendly and cheery, you would not have remembered him, and now that you do, you will potentially order from him again, the next time around, and maybe even tell people about this friendly sugar cane ‘waiter’.

Taking this in contrast with the Chicken Rice lady, she tried to cheat your mother of an additional 50 cents, and now she is branded as dishonest, will you buy from her again? Obviously not. So sometimes, opening a stall to sell food and ‘good products’ (Your words, not mine) isn’t as simple as it seems, reputation is very closely tied to the stall. And reputation is something you build over time and destroy in a matter of heart beat. Now you will remember the Chicken Rice stall lady’s dishonest deeds and tell people about it, and that is the reputation she has earned for herself, and it will be a long time before this family patronize from her again!

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