Dining out is one of the little pleasures enjoyed by the city folks. After having enjoyed a sumptuous dinner in a fine dining restaurant with your family the bill arrives. You proudly give your card. The waiter takes the card along with the bill. After some time he arrives. You assume he returns to help you punch in the pin for your card. But to your horror he returns stating he could not swipe the card. You then give him another card and the story continues. Finally he states there is some problem with the machine and only cash can be accepted. First time since ages you open your wallet to check for cash. You find that you are short of cash to pay the bill. (You wonder why we ordered that dessert- it was anyways not worth the price, and then I could have paid the bill). You ask the waiter if there is an ATM nearby. In the meantime you feel very embarrassed in the restaurant as you wonder if the people around would wonder if you really could not afford the meal you just had. Your family wonders if they would have to stay back if the bill was not paid. With all sorts of thoughts you rush to the nearest ATM. Luckily for you the ATM works and has cash! You draw sufficient cash, Infact much more than the restaurant bill with the fear that you may have to face a similar situation again. You pay the bill. Give your feedback to the restaurant manager stating you felt embarrassed for no fault of yours. He apologizes for the situation. And then you move on.
Sounds familiar???Yes for many of us. We have faced such situations several times and each time we take an oath that we will carry enough to avoid such situations but end up in this situation often. Why??? For the sheer convenience factor. The cash is generally spent in buying the smaller stuff and to which we are accustomed to e.g. buying fruits and vegetable, buying the top up items at the local kirana store etc. For the larger expenses we tend to use our card. But the question remains- will you ever visit the same restaurant again where the card did not work??? A vast majority will not. Dining is an experience and if any Moment Of Truth gives a bad experience even if at the last minute with the card not being accepted it leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth which one would avoid in the future..
Could the restaurant have handled this situation better?? Definitely yes. For in this situation the customer definitely had no intention of not paying the bill. It was just that the restaurant could not support his payment mode. The restaurant could have had multiple swiping machines with all the permutations and combinations so that it would have at least one machine working at any point in time. The restaurant could have checked at the time of opening if the swiping machine works. The customer could have been informed in advance before the food was ordered about the swiping machine not working. This would have save him of the embarrassment later. Infact a little step forward by the restaurant to help the customer in the situation than merely placing the obligation on the customer to pay by cash would have gone a long way in building a relationship with the customer. He would have been glad about the restaurant service in a situation beyond their control.
Finally to sum it up in the words of a friend. After he borrowed money from his wife, chauffeur etc he was still sort of cash to pay the bill. The Owner of the restaurant actually told him he could pay the balance during his next visit!! Now that’s a catch. Did my friend visit the restaurant again? Of course he did that too with his family for he not only had to pay the previous amount but also he because he felt the restaurant trusted him and he needs to reciprocate it. But this time he went with a lot of cash in his wallet.