I was recently perusing a local hospitality Facebook group, The Café Owner’s Forum, when I came across an entertaining saga that truly reflected the importance of having a greater Kiwi hospitality family.
A concerned owner came to the forum with screenshots of a conversation she had with a customer who wished to lay a complaint. It was quickly apparent that there was something up with this customer and their alleged issue. It started as a complaint about “something black” in an under $10 item that the customer had picked up on the go and so could not complain about on-site.
It soon veered into a very strange world complete with a cast of characters who could enact revenge on behalf of this wronged customer, these characters included family members who could cut off power to said café, other family members who could take the café’s licence away, and even poor John Campbell was dragged into the situation.
The under $10 takeaway item suddenly became an entire family who had eaten in-house – yet the complainant could not say when they had eaten at the establishment or how much they had paid, despite the incredibly kind and patient responses from the accused owner.
Luckily, The Café Owner’s Forum community was there to call this what it was: a scam!
Some forum members contacted the complainant to see if they could “help remedy” the situation and surprise surprise they didn’t get very far. As soon as the complainant was called out, they stopped replying. The same thing happened when another forum member said they would take the scam to the authorities.
Taking the advice of the community, the owner at the centre of the saga did file the complainant’s number with police. The complainant has not contacted her, or any of the other forum members since.
What this fairly innocuous online event reflected was the power of community, it proved that the idea of the greater Kiwi hospo family isn’t dead. The Café Owner’s Forum exists for this very reason: so that the greater hospitality community can connect, share stories, get tips, and let off some steam. It also makes for an entertaining break-time read.
What else did we learn from this interaction? Don’t mess with our hospo family, we’ve got each other’s backs.