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Cafe charges rude customers more than double for their beverages: 'Say please'

Hussain shares that some customers pull a funny line on them by saying, 'Can I order one Hello, desi chai, please.'

Cafe charges rude customers more than double for their beverages: 'Say please'
Cover Image Source: Instagram/@chaiistop_

In Preston, England, one cafe will give you a discount if you behave nicely. The Chaii Stop's Usman Hussain has a special sliding scale for pricing his specialty desi chai, a South Asian black tea that is brewed in milk and "made to its finest," and it depends on how politely you ask for it. A cup of desi chai might cost you roughly $3, according to a sign in the cafe, provided you place your order with some politeness, such as a "hello" and "please." You will pay around $4.60 if you use just one of those words. However, if you order it straight, it can cost you close to $8.

When asked about the shop's policy, Hussain told CBC that to get the cheapest policy, customers have to "come in and just be friendly and polite when they order." When someone is rude, that is if they "come in, not make eye contact, just say 'desi chai' head down," they get the highest price, £5.



 

"Instead of saying '£5, please,' we say, 'Would you like to choose again?' and point at the board. And this is the first time that they've lifted their head up that morning, and they take a look. And funnily enough, they then begin to come out of their shell." Hussain shares that some customers pull a funny line on them by saying, "Can I order one Hello, desi chai, please." Hussain and his employees have a good laugh about it. 

Many would think that this would put customers off or hinder building a rapport, but Hussain shares that that has not been the case. "Since putting this sign up, we've never struggled building rapport with our customers…. It's literally like every single customer, you just have a connection with [them] and you just give them that bit more of a customer service," he said.

Hussain shares that until now, they've not really charged anyone with that amount, but it helps to get the message of politeness across. "So we've not actually charged anyone the £5. It's more of a polite reminder about manners and also the fun side to it, which is exactly the response we've got," he said.



 

 Hussain says he acknowledges that sometimes staff themselves behave rudely, with a blank face even at the kindest greetings, but his staff has been with them from the beginning of the store's opening, which is way before this sign went up. The standard of customer service, Hussain shares, is set quite high, and all his customers know that. "So it's not something we've had to go back over with any of the staff because they know to keep that level of customer service at its highest. And they know how much that means to me," he says.



 

 

When asked why he thinks that people have to be reminded to be kind, he shares that he doesn't have the exact answer for it yet, but "sometimes we're busy in day-to-day life" and "things are moving fast." Adding on, he shares, "Another reason [is] we may be going through a hard time. And, you know, we're forgetting who's around us or who we're interacting with." 

Hussain shared that the idea was actually inspired by a coffee shop in Virginia, U.S.A., and the owner of that establishment was inspired by a cafe in France. When asked why he thinks that the idea is resonating so much with people across continents, he shares it's because this "should be the foundation. It should be a principle everyone follows.... But yet we're not actually doing that."

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