A Warm Ice-Cream

Once a 10-year-old boy walked up to the counter of an ice-cream parlor and climbed onto a stool. He caught the eye of the waitress and asked, “How much is an ice cream sundae?” “One Dollar,” the waitress replied. The boy reached into his pockets, pulled out a handful of change, and began counting. The waitress frowned impatiently. After all, she had other customers to wait on.  The boy squinted up at the waitress. “How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he asked. The waitress sighed and rolled her eyes. “Seventy-five cents,” she said with a note of irritation. “I’ll have the plain ice cream, please.” He put seventy-five cents on the counter. The waitress took the coins, brought the ice cream, and walked away.

About ten minutes later, she returned and found the ice cream dish empty. The boy was gone. But there on the counter, were twenty-five cents. The boy did have enough for a sundae, but he had ordered plain ice cream so he could leave her a tip.  The waitress had moist eyes and the biggest smile of her life on the face.  After a few days, when the boy went back to the same ice cream parlor, the waitress gave him a royal treatment with a free ice-cream!

A heart-warming story indeed.  Yet, hidden between the lines is an important corporate lesson.  The waitress in the story could very well have been a metaphorical representation of our customer:  In the short-run, our customers will smile if we commit our 100 (per)cent, and are bound to make faces when we promise them mere 75 per(cent).  However, in the long-run, they will have a lot wider grins if only we under-commit and over-deliver!

Adapted, Commit, Customer, Style


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A Warm Ice-Cream - Arun Nathani Blog