When Aili Si popped out for a takeaway pizza from Pizza Hunt in Singapore, she was expecting a lovely evening of indulgent comfort food. What she got was a bit of a slap in the face: when she looked on her receipt, she discovered that the takeaway staff had identified her in a note on the bottom as the 'Pink Fat Lady'.
She posted a photograph of the receipt on the company's Facebook page, and commented "I don't think it is nice for your staff to describe me as such on my receipt," adding: "As a customer I definitely hope to be treated with basic respect deserved by any others. I hope to receive an apology from the staff and Pizza Hut."
The company responded on its Facebook page, saying it apologised unreservedly, and that: "This incident goes against our corporate values and we do not condone behaviour or actions that offend people. We are currently investigating this matter. We deeply regret that such an incident has occurred."
A few hours later it posted: "Pizza Hut Singapore has contacted Ms Aili Si and we have shared our findings with her. She expressed her understanding of the matter, which was a genuine error of judgment with no intent to offend, and has accepted our apology. We are grateful for her feedback and as a result, we are taking measures to improve our customer service standards."
This is far from the first time this has happened. It tends to have a number of causes, in some instances staff nickname customers in order to remember who they are, and are mortified when their nickname is revealed. In a number of instances it refers to their race or religion, as well as their physical appearance.
In some establishments, the tradition of nicknaming tables using offensive names is an 'in-joke' among staff. In October last year three women dining in Stockton California discovered the word 'fat girls' on their receipt, and when the story hit the headlines, insiders estimated that around one in three tables of overweight women will be called the same thing by staff.
And for some, it's a passive aggressive way of getting back at customers they find irritating. In June last year, a waitress at a St Louis sports bar was asked for a single chicken leg - which wasn't on the menu. The receipt came back with the identifier "F***in needy kids."
In what can often be a frustrating job, serving staff have taken to electronic receipts as an outlet for their anger, and increasingly these insults are making their way to customers.
But what do you think, is this an understandable result when staff are forced to be nice to people all day in the face of rudeness - or does this show unforgivable disrespect?
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