Author: Adisha
•Monday, March 17, 2008
Last weekend, among shopping, bowling and tv, I had the pleasure of enjoying authenti chinese food. Being a spicy freak, I was suitably surprised to learn that I do enjoy this cuisine as well( thankfully, it was not completely bland ). I had always wanted to try out this kind of food, not just for a new experience but to see how they gave the take out in those cute rice cartons like we see on tv. And I was Not dissappointed in the least. The service was very friendly ( i believe the shop is run by a family) and I loved the ambience, which led me and my hubby to get to talking about how few of such "mom and pop stores" are left.

The big chains of restraunts have got the food service industry down to a science. They have helped the economy and the working lot and made sure we are all fed after the long bouts of shopping in the mall. Yet, I can't help but feel sorry about the slow loss of the charm of the small restraunts and shops, which make you feel practically at home and where the customer is king. To be treated with respect, courtesy and above all be glad to see a personal touch to everything, from the menu to the service.

I for one, am appalled at the lack of customer service there is in malls and chain stores. It is rare to find someone around to help you and if you do, you're lucky if you can find someone who Knows what you are talking about. Or for the matter, be aware of what they Should be talking bout. On the off chance, I find someone who does Any of the above, my heart glows in appreciation. Anyway, my point is not to complain about the big stores but rather to explain by contrast how important and comforting it is to go into a small shop or cafe or restraunt and be welcomed and be charmed and be educated about a product or a recipe. To be able to cringe and laugh over the price said of an item and later enjoy the haggling over the said price knowing you would be able to get it for less than half. And how I enjoy getting something thrown in free, or for much lesser price so that that sales person knows that he's earned yet another loyal custormer.

All in all, though the big chains are essential for the convenience they provide, I believe one should also begin to fully appreciate the charm and ambience that can only come for the shops that are down the street.
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2 Spin Offs:

On March 17, 2008 at 3:59 PM , Anonymous said...

There is an article which talks about the scalability and taste consistency issues faced by the mom and pop stores which primarily rely on their chefs and the personal touch they people give to the overall ambience.

Even if they decide to start a chain of such restaurants based on the success of the first restaurant, it is very difficult to achieve consistent taste and ambience in all the stores.

Although it is a technical blog, the "Big-Mac vs Naked Chef" analogy is explained in lucid style.

On April 3, 2008 at 9:18 AM , Scorp said...

I completely agree. I love to shop for myself from a small shop (and get a glass of coke or tea free!!!)rather than wasting 3 hours in a mall.

Small shop vendors are eager to sell and I find them having a soul of their own. Malls - have no soul.

If you've a very specific demand (like a green colored tarpaulin sheet)then definitely you'll find it in a specialist small shop somewhere in the old part of the city, in a very narrow street and on the second floor for which you'll have to climb steep, hollow, wooden stairs and without any light reaching in that area.