When you run a business.

If you give them nothing more than what they asked for.

Don’t be surprised when they never use you again.

Because, arguably, that’s nothing more than you deserve.


So here you are.


You’ve got the list your partner gave you and there’s this thing on it you’ve never heard of.

Ketjap Manis.

You don’t know what the fuck it is.

What it’s for.

Or why they want it.


Ketjap Manis is what you need.

Ketjap Manis.

So there you stand.

Feet anchored.

Shopping list dangling at chest-height.

Head rotating right-then-left like a human lighthouse.

Mouth wide open.

Looking for the ‘Happy to Help’ bebadged, shelf-shuffler whose very purpose it is to save you from confusion.

And eventually, there they are.

Crouching and balanced on their haunches like a large, busy-handed frog.

Restocking and straightening the Head and Shoulders on a low, far-off shelf.

Aisle 6.

“Excuse me.”

You quietly say as you approach.

“Excuse me.

Ketjap Manis.

Do you have it please?

It’s on my list you see and…”

“Aisle 6.”

The large, busy-handed frog interrupts.


You reply.

And again, without looking up…

“Aisle 6.”

The still-crouching busy-handed frog repeats.

So off you go.

Your quest for one thing you don’t have a fucking clue what it is or looks like.

(Ketjap Manis).

Replaced with another.

(Aisle 6).

Me too.

Now, before we start the ‘me too’ mutterings about any supermarket’s large, lazy, busy-handed frogs.

And before we start the, ‘My business would never treat anyone like that,’ mutterings.

We should pause.

And take a good look at our own businesses.

Your Business.

If someone orders a jumper from your online store.

And all you do is send it to them when they expect it, in the condition they expect.

Then honestly, how is that any bloody different than a lazy “Aisle 6” response?

It’s entry level.

It’s boring.

And it’s lazy.

The Busy-Handed Frog.

I already know what you want ASDA’s large busy-handed frog to do.

I know you want the large busy-handed frog to spring up as you approach, smile, call you sir or madam, ask how they can help, then once they find out, walk purposefully to Aisle 6 alongside you, actually looking at you as they do, asking how your day is going as they do, then explaining how there are in fact two kinds of Ketjap Manis, but the one that’s 40p more expensive really is much better because it’s more concentrated.

So it lasts longer.

And tastes better, too.

But you didn’t ask for any of that did you?

You just wanted to know where the Ketjap Manis was.

And in scenario one… they told you.

So I’ll repeat.

If you are the e-commerce store owner that just sends me the jumper.

Or the coffee store owner that just plops the coffee down in front of me.

Or the plumber that mends my radiator and leaves.

Or the car MOT mechanic that says ‘it passed’.

Then you’re no better than the ‘Aisle 6’ frog.

Because you were asked for ordinary.

And that’s what you delivered.

Do Better. 

So here’s an idea.

Be the e-commerce store owner that sends me a Cashmere Comb with my jumper, and a hand-signed note that helps me understand that by combing my jumper every 3 months it’ll stay looking better for longer.

Be the coffee store owner that slips me a teeny, individually wrapped biscuit embossed with the words, ‘As Sweet as You’ – for me to munch or gift.

Be the plumber that calls me 7 days after the radiator repair to see if all is well.

Be the MOT mechanic that smiles and hands me a lemony fresh ‘Travel Safe (and see you next time)’ air freshener with my MOT certificate.

Because when you run a business.

If you give them nothing more than what they asked for.

Don’t be surprised when they never use you again.

Because, arguably, that’s nothing more than you deserve.

1 Comment

  1. Surprise and delight should be every company’s MVP.

    I am surprised and delighted to find that 50odd has some new musings. My morning is already better for it.

    Thanks Mychael,

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