This week, I ordered some food from one of Austin's crop of prepared food delivery services so I could feel what it's like to be a Soupie. The little bit of mystery, anticipation, and ultimately the tasting experience. I understand as well as anyone the complexities and challenges inherent in sharing handmade, lovingly-prepared food with a distributed audience. But I wanted to see if I could just get a sense of what it's like to be you... making a leap of faith and trading some hard-earned money for a service.
I was very pleased with several of the items, but there was one that didn't quite do it for me. I just didn't care for it. It seemed very nicely and attentively prepared and packaged. I didn't feel cheated. I didn't feel like it would stop me from supporting them in the future (if I wasn't already swimming in our food). But I just wasn't jazzed about it... the main problem is that I wouldn't really go running to my friends to share the news of this great service. I put the offending article in the fridge so that it could slowly get pushed to the back of the shelf and several weeks from now be dumped down the drain, and I pictured my own Soupies doing the same thing, and it made me sad.
Every week, you make that same leap of faith... you trust that its going to be good. You can't taste it ahead of time. The waiter can't gauge your disappointed expression and ask if everything's okay. Our part is to do the best we can and your part is to let us know how we did. It should be like a conversation, not a monologue. We don't need a blow-by-blow account of your evening's enjoyment and wouldn't burden you with any such unnecessary obligation, but we do want to hear from you if you ever suffer the disappointment that I described above. We understand that 'no news is good news', except when it's not.
What we offer is the closest thing we can to a satisfaction guarantee... since we're not a restaurant, we can't have the chef come out to fall on his or her sword and offer you dessert, but we can credit your account for any such disappointments. And we're glad to do so. You needn't feel embarrassed, just let us know. Easy. I used to be one of those folks who never sends food back, but now I understand that it's important to do that sometimes. The proprietors would much rather know, so they can make an effort to preserve a positive relationship. They honestly don't think any less of you for it, believe me.
So, you're probably wondering, 'Did he let them know about the dish he didn't like?'
Well, no, I didn't. But I hold you to a higher standard than I do myself, in accordance with the time-tested parental maxim, which you are allowed to use up to three times on Father's Day: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.