Wednesday, July 13, 2016

AN OPEN LETTER TO FAMOUS AMOS COOKIES (that's only slightly serious)

Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers
I don't normally do this, but I'm working on my next book and I need a break. Besides, this really bothered me when it happened.

A few weeks ago my wife and I were traveling (conferences) and we had a quick flight change in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). It was a frustrating transfer because of the redundant checkpoints in the airport and, worse, it was about 2 am in the morning. Our flight was on Air Asia, which goes cheap on the amenities - they wanted to charge me $3.00 for a blanket, which I refused - so I was kind of looking for a snack when we were in the Kuala Lumpur airport.

This is where Famous Amos cookies comes in.

Before boarding for our next destination I saw a famous Amos store in the terminal and thought I would get some cookies. Simple enough.

I picked out my cookies (chocolate chip) and pulled out my credit card to pay. The person at the counter made it clear they didn't accept the card. I pulled out another card. That's when they made it clear they didn't accept ANY cards.

It's not like they had a machine for cards either. In spite of the language barrier it was made clear they don't accept credit cards, period. They didn't even have a modern cash register. As I watched other customers, everything was being done in cash.

I thought this was weird since we were in an international airport, and it's Famous Amos cookies. Anyways, I figured "when in Rome ..."

So I pulled out some currency I had left over from Singapore (a solid currency). Since Singapore is an economically dynamic city-state right next door to Malaysia I thought they would accept the Singaporean dollars. No deal.

So I pulled out American dollars. Still no deal.

I didn't have the correct change, so I thought "let's make this simple." I made it clear they could keep the change. All I wanted was the cookies. We had another 5 hours to go to our next destination, and I really didn't want to give Air Asia my money after they wanted to charge for a blanket. The people at the counter would have made a very good profit because I was effectively giving them $20 for a small bag of cookies. No deal.

OK, how about giving me $20 worth of cookies and we don't have to worry about the change? Again, no deal.

Frustrated, I left. With no cookies.

So, to the people who run Famous Amos cookies, I just want to say one thing: Someone needs to fix this.

And, no, I don't want any special cookie coupons. This is not what this post is about.

You are going to have frustrated customers if your franchises in an international airport don't accept credit cards, American dollars, or even the currency from a neighbor, with a strong currency no less.

This is the 21st century after all, right? The era of globalization ...

OK, back to work.

- Mark

Addendum: And, for the record, I didn't buy any snacks from Air Asia either. Good times ...

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