Rules, and the advantages of bending them

Dec 22, 2009

When I was a young boy, my parents taught me to be a good boy, to stand up for what I believe in, and to play by the rules. Those rules applied to anyone that wanted to be just a good boy as I was, and ultimately to those that “wanted to go to heaven”. These rules slowly transposed to everyday situations, and quickly enough I understood instructions in public transport, at cinemas or other public places to be important and to be followed. The example I want to focus on today is restaurants.

You are taught to sit up straight, not to play with your phone, generally: to follow standards that were in some case created hundreds of years ago. You are also asked to order from a menu as this is what the chef decided to be the best – the chef’s rules so to speak.

Now it seems that the older you get, the more you start appreciating them rules not being applied for you (or is that just me?). When I go to a restaurant, and I fancy a particular dish, but with a different side or prepared in a different way, and the waiter/chef agrees to this without any issues, I feel valued in my desires as a customer. The same goes for me going to a restaurant in a very casual attire, and not being looked at funny, as this confirms to me that my personality is more likeable than my clothing style is dis-likeable.

It has come to my attention that asian (in particular chinese) restaurants apply this to new as well as to existing customers. If there is a particular dish you fancy that is not on the menu, and if they for instance bought this type of dish for their family, they will still prepare it for you. If you go to a chinese restaurant at 4 in the afternoon, for as long as there is someone there that knows how to start the oven, they will prepare a delicious meal for you. I am under the impression that only Adriano&Co in Luxembourg has the same positive approach as a non-asian restaurant.

The question remains whether this makes me feel:

  • valued as a customer as they build their model around me
  • or important enough for the others to break their rules to please me

What do you think, and do you believe other service providers should bend their rules more often? Should the rules be adapted so as to reflect the needs of a changing society? No more menus or fixed serving times –> flexibility for workers that need to work ever more flexible hours?



As I was ill this weekend, I couldn't go to London, which leaves all the more time for me to look forward to next week where I will return to Innsbruck! Yay 🙂 Can't wait to leave for another road-trip, with Chris, and I'm sure it'll be lots of fun! In the mean time,...

The moon – small sample of pictures

The moon – small sample of pictures

This is a small sample of pictures I've taken over the past 2 years with my EOS 30D. For a beginner like me, it took ages to find ways to take pictures I was happy with, they all required a tripod, a lot of tries, and a nag to not just yet go home, even when it's...

Skatepark Hollerich

The first project I was able to actively influence, more than 10 years ago! 🙂

Marketing presentation at a local cinema, 3/5 stars

The other night, I had been invited to a short notice presentation of a rather new cinema as a channel for our marketing messages. As this coincided with a larger project I am working on, I registered my colleague and myself for the presentation and was already...

Wallstreet Journal has great customer care – 5/5 stars

As some of you might remember, I have in the past already praised the customer service team of the Wallstreet Journal, but they continue to positively surprise me! Since my change of address, the delivery didn't reach me twice (this would be a negative point, I know...

Permission marketing & Facebook

As many of you out there, I have also given in to the magic of Facebook,where you can meet old friends and make new ones, all the while filling your mind with sometimes useless bits of information that allow you to better grasp the thoughts, issues and ideas of people...