Anti-Stiff Field Test #2


Delivery to a credit card customer totaling $20.

Before leaving the store, I routed the destination into Waze. I used the store’s phone and called the customer (one trick to make fat tips). She sounded pleased, and thanked me. I grabbed the order, bagged it, and walked over to my car.

I pulled up to the address. Three vehicles in the driveway. One late-model Mercedes Benz, one pickup truck, one nondescript sedan. The Benz and the pickup truck both had vinyl signs on them, advertising (presumably) the owner’s business.

An African-American male opened the door. He was clad in blue, plaid boxers and a worn white shirt. Chains and a big watch on his wrist. I handed him the order, the receipt on top of the stack, and offered my pen.

He signed for the order. I examined the receipt. He’d filled the tip section with:

and wrote in the order total.

Enter Anti-Stiff.

“I noticed that you didn’t leave a tip. It’s my goal to provide exceptional customer service. Were you satisfied with the service that you received tonight?”

He told me that last time, they (the store? the delivery driver?) had forgotten something.

My response with terse, bordering on curt.

“This time?” I inquired.

“This time,” he let out a chuckle as he mumbled my words to himself, retreating behind the door. “Hold on, let me get you something.”

I heard the sounds of coins jingling in the background. Pictured him bringing back a fistful of pennies and throwing them in my face.

He returned. His hand was balled up, and into my upturned palm he placed eight quarters. $2 tip. Modest, by most estimations, but better than nothing.

During his absence, I’d reflected on the exchange. Time to smooth things over with the customer.

“Thank you for your generosity,” I said, “I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with our store in the past. I can promise that if I’m delivering to you, I’ll make sure that everything is right with your order.”

He thanked me, and I returned to the store to take care of my next customer.

Anti-Stiff works. I’ve played with the script in my mind, running through interactions enough times to feel confident deploying it on a whim. My only regret is that I didn’t issue my apology to the customer earlier, instead of falling back on my wits. Not quite smooth yet, but getting there.

No matter – another opportunity to deploy Anti-Stiff will present itself.