Customer Service? Sushi? Anyone?

Did you ever notice the Customer Service counter in many large stores, but most especially in grocery stores? I always thought they were for returns, complaints and other negative things, like people sounding off because the price of sugar changed, or they want last week’s price on ground beef because they missed it last week. Who would want to work in the Customer Service department, right? Fielding complaints all day must be so stressful!

Well that’s what I always thought until recently. I was in Antigonish, NS on the weekend to visit my son Aaron. He is the master sushi maker! We were planning a little Labor Day Sushi supper at his apartment with his roommates and their parents, making us a party of eight. The idea was to get all the ingredients at Sobeys early in the afternoon, and then the boys would spend a few hours preparing our gourmet meal.

Making sushi is quite involved. The sticky rice has to be prepared, omelet made, vegetables julienned, raw fish sliced, and then it is all rolled up in square seaweed sheets called nori. Afterwards the rolls are sliced into 1” pieces. Then it is eaten with soy sauce mixed with a little wasabi (if you’re really brave) and a couple of other sauces.



sushi2A sushi party is a most delicious and fun meal!

Antigonish is a small university town in the heart of Nova Scotia, and you can’t buy just anything there like you could in a city. So off we went to Sobeys, Aaron and I, hoping to get the ingredients for the sushi party on Saturday afternoon. We filled the cart with avocado, cucumber, carrots, eggs, shrimp, salmon, crab, tuna, sticky rice, soy sauce, rice vinegar and wasabi. All that was missing were nori sheets to roll it all up in.

We searched in the Asian section and the International section but there were none. I asked a cashier where the nori sheets might be and she told me to check out the deli section where they make their own sushi to sell. The girl behind the deli counter told me they were all out.

We were getting a little panicked because there was nowhere else in Antigonish to buy this specialty item; we couldn’t even beg from a sushi restaurant because there is none. If we didn’t find some nori we would have been forced to change the menu completely and maybe have chicken or spaghetti or something mundane. Everyone would have been very disappointed.

In desperation I flagged down a man in a white shirt with a name tag identifying him as Kevin.

“Are you a store manager?” I asked him.

“Yes I am. What can I help you with?”

“Well, as you can see, we have all the makings here in the cart for a sushi party, but we’re missing the nori.”

He asked us how much we would need and we told him, about 20 sheets.

“I’ll go check at the deli”, he said.

But we knew there was no nori for sale at the deli. So I just told him we would follow him there. Once he got to the deli section, I saw him rooting around. No one behind the counter would argue with a manager!

A minute or two later he came out from behind the counter with a plastic bag chock filled with the coveted nori sheets!

“This is on us”, he said with a smile as he handed Aaron the bag. “I wouldn’t want your sushi party to be spoiled.”

We shook Kevin’s hand and thanked him profusely. The sushi party was saved and a lovely party it was! (Thanks to Kevin)



That was probably the best customer service I had ever received in a grocery store! This man could have just told us he was sorry but there was no nori for sale in the store and we would have thanked him for looking, but Kevin went the extra mile and made our day!

So today I am here to tell you that customer service is important, so important that you can rest assured I will return to Sobeys in Antigonish anytime with a smile because one man went beyond the call of duty to help out this mom and her son last Saturday. We were very grateful.

How about you? Have you experienced good customer service lately?