Service PT 2, or maybe 1.5, oh and Japanese Pizza

Lately I have been reading a few places (including the wonderfully well-written Little Red Boat) about service and various reactions to it or lack there of, and I ranted a bit incoherently about it once or twice awhile back (must be something in the air? Is bad service airborne?), and then today I had something that again has shown me that some companies (or least some of their employees/franchise owners) aren’t complete and total bastards.

We ordered a pizza the other day (or rather I should say, I ordered a pizza the other day as my wife doesn’t really like it, she had a lasagna). As I have mentioned plenty of times before on this site, I live in Tokyo, Japan, so ordering a pizza isn’t quite as easy or enjoyable as it should be.

For starters it has to be done in Japanese, which means that I have to purposefully mis-pronounce words (have fun saying “lasagna” in a pseudo-Japanese accent!) and as soon as the person on the other end of the phone cops to the fact that I am not Japanese myself (usually about when I tell them my name) they go into a “oh my god I can’t speak English” panic (despite the fact I have already been conversing in Japanese for several minutes with no problem, wouldn’t be panic if it was logical right!).

On top of that is the fact that a “large” pizza here costs US$30 and is about the size of a medium back home.

Anyway, so I ordered the pizza from Pizza Hut. Where I live there is Pizzahut, Domino’s or some local place. I hate Domino’s, and while the local place makes some other decent food, their pizza sucks ass, so although being from Philadelphia with our millions of lovely Italian-run pizzerias I would never, ever (no, seriously) buy a Pizza Hut Pizza back home, here it’s the best of what we have. And as with other U.S.-born restaurant chains here (McDonald’s) the food is actually quite a bit better here.

I not very good at staying on topic am I? Sue me, it’s 3:45a.m. 3 days before Christmas and I have 40 pages of horribly boring material to translate by Sunday Evening (it now being Friday morning).

So anyway, other than my normal revulsion at some of the menu items:

Tuna, corn and mayonnaise pizza anyone?

How about some shrimp, crab, corn and mayonnaise pizza then?

I said, how about some SHRIMP, CRAB, CORN and MAYONNAISE PIZZA then?

Big chunks of potato and, yep, you guessed it! Mayonnaise and corn…

Demi-glace sauce, mayonnaise and big chunks of beef on a pizza…

No? How about some squid-ink pizza then? Oh… also with mayonnaise.

I said SQUID INK PIZZA

Still no? Some squid ink risotto/gratin then?

Yes, real squid’s ink. Turns your mouth black as a bubonic plague victim.


And of course the the normal revulsion at the price, there were no problems with the delivery, payment, items, meal etc. It even got here a lot quicker then usual.

Then, today, I get a little postcard in my post-box apologizing to “customers” for problems caused on the day I ordered the pizza with a coupon for ¥700 (about US$6-7) off my next purchase, hand addressed and signed by the manager.

There were no problems, so I wasn’t sure what this for. Did someone spit in my food and they found out at the restaurant and offered me a discount? I wasn’t sure, so I called up and asked.

It turns out there was a mix up with 1 customer’s order that day, where the customer got the wrong food. Japanese being the generally polite and non-confrontational people they are, there was a chance that there were other mistakes that MAY, just possibly have gone unreported.

So upon finding this out, what does the manager do? Handwrites and sends out these ¥700 coupons to every person who had ordered anything at all on that day, just in case.

This is the sort of service I am generally used to here in Japan (with notable exceptions, construction people!) and why I tend to go a little berserk when I come home for my annual visits.

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