Chippy beaten by 1-star review from customer who didn’t even eat there fights back
A one-star online review of a fish and chip shop caused consternation in the family business, especially since the reviewer didn’t even eat there. The customer wrote on Facebook that the staff were too busy talking to acknowledge her arrival and so went out with her son to have lunch elsewhere.
It led to a furious exchange on Facebook as the family-run St Mary’s Fish Bar hit back at complaints, saying the woman had only been in the takeaway for 30 seconds on Wednesday lunchtime (June 15) and no the five minutes that the client had claimed, StokeonTrentLive Reports.
Fodoulla Nicolaou, 36, the daughter of Nick and Helen Nicolaou, owners of St Mary’s in Blurton, has strongly defended takeaways. She holds the chippy with her brother while her parents are in Cyprus.
The 36-year-old said: “We had a staff member up front completing an Uber order, my brother doing the prep in the back and I was arranging orders for the store from deliveries. I just walked in and said in Greek to a member of staff: “This lady has been waiting for a long time?” She said she had just walked in.
“As I was going to serve her, she said ‘is there another chippy around here?’ I thought maybe she didn’t like the prices, because everything had gone up, and she walked out. That was my first thought.
“Then that night we saw there was a one star review. She didn’t comment on the food, it was completely unfair, she didn’t give us the opportunity to review it. talk. She was in the store for 30 seconds. I don’t understand why you would leave a one star review for something like that. She tells everyone she was in the store for five minutes.
“I think that’s ridiculous and petty. Maybe we should have said ‘we’ll be with you in a second’ but I was about to go serve her. There was no other customer in the shop, she knew she was next.”
Fodoulla was then further upset when others on Facebook supported the woman after she shared her opinion in community groups. She added: “We work really hard and we were really upset that other people were rushing around trying to say horrible things about our business.”
Fodoulla was thrilled to be able to tell her side of the story when the woman’s husband came to talk to them in person. She added: “We had a really good chat for 10 minutes and I explained my side, he explained his wife’s side. But he didn’t know that she had shared the criticism in two Blurton Facebook groups that have over 1,000 members.
“I thought it was lovely that he came to talk to me, he was really nice. His wife says she wants an apology, but I don’t apologize for standing up for our business.
“If she hadn’t shared it everywhere I probably would have spoken to the lady and said ‘ok we could have handled this a little better’. But she posted it in both groups and it caused me so much grief.”
Fodoulla has been working in fries since he was a teenager, first in Stafford where his parents opened their first chip shop, then in Blurton for the past seven years. She added: “We will be deleting our business Facebook page because it’s really disappointing to think we work so hard, but anyone can just leave a nasty comment for no reason.”
Fodoulla added that some of the regulars had come to sympathize with the situation. She said: “They had seen the comments on Facebook and one said they couldn’t believe how pathetic some people were. They said we didn’t need to worry about that. .
“We get some really lovely people here, we usually have a nice smooth sailing day.”
The Facebook exchange between St Mary’s and the customer
Under the heading “I do not recommend this place”, the irate customer wrote: “Terrible service. The people working there were too busy having a conversation with each other to even recognize us. So instead of waiting for them to actually say ‘hi, be with you in a bit’, we walked out and went to The Fish Net in Longton. Much better chip shop to spend almost £20 ordering and they were cheaper.
Fodoulla Nicolaou replied, “Strangely, none of us have even seen you before or actually want your kind of custom. My brother was cooking, my staff was doing an Uber order and I had just walked in and heard you say ‘Let’s go to another chippy’ after walking in a moment earlier. Did you talk to us and we ignore you? No. so have the audacity to go online and leave a stupid review. No one cares about your £20 in FishNet. Honestly, so petty and ridiculous, you were in the store for a whole 30 seconds. Grow and get a grip.
The customer replied, “You clearly need some customer service training. Again, your attitude here says more about you than it does about me. Us and I mean, us, like my husband would come into the store, been going there for years. You are the ones who need to grow up, obviously too immature to run a business.”
Fodoulla then fired back, “My customer service skills are good, thank you, I’ve been running businesses since I was a teenager, but when there are people who clearly have nothing better to do than leave shitty reviews , you think I should just tolerate it and not defend myself.” Absolutely not. You were in the store for 30 seconds because we all noticed and heard your bad attitude on your way out. Glad you enjoyed FishNet, have a nice day. Go moan somewhere else thank you. “