On today’s News Of The Day segment, we have an influencer who was told off for the particularly heinous crime of not ordering more than one scoop of ice cream.
Yeah I know; preposterous, isn’t it? How could someone order just a single scoop of ice-cream? Seriously, humans these days…
Anyway, it seems that such an incident indeed transpired, the influencer in question, Chelsea Teng was so offended that she took it to social media.
Ready for the deets? Let’s go.
What exactly happened?
On 8 May 2018, lifestyle and travel blogger Cheowster (a.k.a. Chelsea Teng) embarked on a cafe-hopping endeavour with her friend as part of her birthday celebrations. As it turns out, one of these stops include Luxe Singapore (and in case you haven’t guessed it’s the star of the story).
After placing an order for an ice-cream, Teng claims to have been questioned by the cafe owner: “Are you just gonna have ice cream?”
What transpired after that was documented on her Insta stories, which were subsequently uploaded onto her Facebook feed.
If you can’t read it, here you go:
Owner: Hey, can I get u sth? Maybe a drink?
Chelsea: Oh, no worries, we are good, thank you.
Owner: Are you sure? How about a coffee?
Chelsea: I think we are going to go cafe hopping, so it’s alright.
Owner: C’mon, are you just going to have ice cream? You’ve already taken pictures here, used our space – get a drink! Coffee?
Chelsea: We are going around to other cafes so…
Owner: OKAY. *stomps away*
And that wasn’t even the end. Chelsea then proceeded to pay the bill when she realised that there was something off:
Her bill was twice the amount stated in the original receipt.
Here’s what is written (why are people writing things on IG stories instead of on Facebook arh?!):
Owner: Guys, just a piece of advice. We owners have rent to pay, so if you’re gonna take up space in the restaurant, you should at least get more than just a scoop of ice cream.
Chelsea: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that?
Owner: No, it’s wrong. You can’t just do that when we have rents to pay. Etc etc.
Chelsea: You know, I have never come across a cafe rep like you. Don’t worry, I won’t be coming back again to save you the trouble.
Owner: Please, I don’t want you here too. Don’t just go to a cafe buying a f***ing ice cream. Do us a favour, thank you.
Though she clarified that it wasn’t clear whether it was a genuine mistake or pure manipulation on the cafe owner’s part, she ended up getting so affected that she “started tearing”.
In the next paragraph, Chelsea expressed that the cafe should have implemented a minimum order policy and that she would have been glad to comply had it been in place.
Second and last time
The next day, Chelsea left a review on the cafe’s Facebook page. And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t the most pleasant.
Second and last time at Luxe. Went there as 2 dining customers for a quick rest, and ordered ice cream. 20 mins later, the manager approached “politely”, asking us to purchase something. We said we’re good. He proceeded to say, “C’mon, you’ve already taken pics here, used our space, get a drink!” Before we finished our sentence saying we’re going cafe-hopping and we’re good, he exclaimed “OKAY” and stomped off.
We proceeded to foot the bill. The waiter boy was very friendly, though. While waiting for the receipt because it initially charged double (an error?), the manager came up to us, saying, “Guys, a piece of advice. We owners have rent to pay, so if you’re gonna take up space in the restaurant, you should at least get more than just a scoop of ice cream.” After conversing, I told him not to worry as we won’t be coming back again. And he proceeded with, “Please, I don’t want you here too. Don’t just go to a cafe buying a fucking ice cream. Do us a favour, thank you.”
I don’t think it was very nice to have used vulgarities and getting upset over 2 paying customers who only came for a rest at your half-empty cafe, for 30 minutes. Of course, we understand the fact that cafes have rental issues to deal with, so why didn’t you indicate that there was a minimum order needed to be met? Please understand that this isn’t a personal attack with any ill intentions, but purely a genuine review of our experience faced in the cafe.
I’ve never come across such horrible customer service, and sure it’s a shame that we didn’t get to enjoy the experience at your cafe. Funny thing though, we noticed that the other customers, Caucasians in business suits and using their laptops, only had coffee on their tables. Perhaps Asians weren’t welcomed. Just my two cents.
The review evidently left an impact, as several Netizens expressed their intention to boycott the cafe from then on.
One, however, noticed some loopholes in the review, which Chelsea then proceeded to mend.
Thereafter, a user who claimed to be the owner of Luxe messaged Chelsea, apologising for his outburst and proffering a free brunch for her and a guest.
Hi Chelsea, I must apologise for my outburst at you yesterday; you bore the brunt of my reaction to customers using our space as nothing more than a place to do work/ take photographs. When we spend too much time on making a beautiful space, and have to pay such exorbitant rental, it’s more than frustrating when customers buy no more than “a fucking ice-cream” to share between two people (as I hope you can appreciate). In any case, I am sorry for the outburst and any upset that it caused you. As a gesture of goodwill I’d like to offer you and a guest a free brunch at Luxe as a way of saying sorry. Do let me know if you’d like to take up my offer. Yours sincerely
And it seems that the influencer’s willing to let bygones by begones.
Update: Luxe Singapore has apologised in our private conversation and I’m glad to hear that they’ve reflected from the mistake and would treat their customers professionally in future. Thank you.
Speaking as a fellow professional
Luxe Singapore later commented on the incident, stating that it stands by the apology and that incident did not truly reflect the “service and professionalism” of the establishment. They also clarified that Chelsea was spoken to not as a customer, but a fellow professional, and hoped that she could empathise with them from a “restaurant owner’s perspective”.
I completely stand by my apology to Chelsea, as this behaviour is not a true reflection of my character – as anyone who knows me will testify. As a veteran of the F&B industry, I am proud of my customer service & professionalism.
I would like to, however, clarify one point which seems to have gone unmentioned. I was speaking to Chelsea not as a customer, but as a fellow professional, given it was very clear she was using our restaurant and its decor as a backdrop for her own photographic work and another product endorsement.
Whilst I support freelance work and creativity, and as flattered as I am that people still choose Luxe as a backdrop to their photographic work, I feel it is important to respect and understand the restaurant owner’s perspective.
Moral of the day
With Luxe apologising for its rep’s mistake, and Chelsea accepting the apology (though we don’t yet know whether she accepted the brunch offer), I would say it’s a saga well done and dusted. But you can’t help but wonder about this whole professional ethic thing:
Isn’t it better to buy a single scoop of ice-cream, than not buying anything at all? Isn’t it better for a customer to enter and buy something, than her not coming in at all? Yeah, the owner has “exorbitant” rent to pay and all, but the customer (even if it’s someone dabbing in the public image field like Chelsea) doesn’t really owe that to him, does she?
But hey, I’m not a professional, so what do I know?
Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!