Misplaced Cat Video

If you were dealing with a hungry customer, would you send them a cat video?

Well, I recently learned that some people would!

Spoiler alert: I was the hungry customer. I had ordered food on a delivery app, because my employer gave vouchers to us participants of an online class, so we could fill our bellies and concentrate even better on the class. The class was, ironically, about customer experience.


Meal delivery has been a late bloomer over here: it only started properly during Covid, when people were forced into new habits. Before that, everyone used their own two legs to go get their lunch. Now, less than two years later, delivery men zigzag here and there, more often than not on electrical scooters while talking on their headphones and completely ignoring traffic.

I had pre-ordered my meal the day before. The order was confirmed by the restaurant and the app even sent me a notification just to say that “a human being has seen your order”. But my meal was a no-show. The app seemed frozen, too, and when only 10 min was left before class, I sent a chat message to ask what was going on.

The chat made me choose from a selection of topics, much like when you phone somewhere and a tape makes you answer endless questions. I chose “My food didn’t arrive” and then they asked which language. I decided to be tactical. Knowing that the restaurant business in my town has started using English more than the local language, I chose English, thinking there would be a larger choice of service reps who could answer. If I had to wait for the possibly only Finnish-speaker, it could take forever, and I was obviously fine with communicating in English. I just wanted it handled quickly.


The first irk moment happened when the rep answered in Finnish. They overrode my language choice, just like that! It was like they were thinking that someone with my name couldn’t possibly speak English well enough to order food. It’s funny to describe, but it was almost insulting. (Remember, you should never mess with a hungry person!) We were not off to a good start.

Once I’d chatted my problem to the rep, came the odd answers. The restaurant had canceled the food. The restaurant never even saw your order. I was digesting these when the buzzer rang.

A sliver of hope!

I waited for the delivery man to find my door (which took forever). Finally, he was there, handing me my food and explaining apologetically that my building had the wrong number, since the number on my address was actually located on another street. I didn’t bother arguing with his address logic. I just shrugged and accepted the delivery.

As he handed me my food, he said my name. But as soon as he’d left, I saw someone else’s name was written on the bag. Uh-oh, this isn’t looking good. I opened the door, but he had vanished. I was holding a Maria K.’s lunch bag.


The brown paper bag was a mystery. It offered no clue of which restaurant it came from or what Maria K.’s real address was. All I knew was that I had gotten someone else’s food and it wasn’t what I’d ordered. In fact, I couldn’t even tell what it was.

Somewhere out there, Maria K. was missing her lunch, too.

I re-entered the chat and typed that I had Maria K.’s meal, and that it was the wrong order. The rep responded quickly, but it sounded like a phrase she copy-pasted a bit too routinely: “Oh, that’s so sad! 😢” With the emotional depth of a computer, the rep then proceeded to tell me that they’d return my money and give me free delivery tokens. They added a blue heart.

And then they sent me a cat video!

“Have a nice day!”

The rep exited the chat, no doubt to respond to other urgent chats with hungry people who were done being patient. (What a business to be in! If you promise a hungry person food, you’d better deliver!)


Immediately after that, five emojis appeared on my screen, ranging from red-faced rage to LOL-happiness, and I was urged to express my feelings of the customer service event. While the rep had been quick (which was very much appreciated) and they had given me a refund plus two free deliveries for future use (also appreciated), I was left feeling annoyed.

I pressed the red-faced emoji, knowing that it would go on the rep’s file (assuming they really were a live human being to start with, which at some point I started doubting). It wasn’t personal, I was just hungry. I had been promised food but I was left empty-handed. And then there was that cat video!!!

It was just too soon for cats. Too soon! As the memes say, read the room! Had they given me an hour to get some other meal sorted, then I might have looked at the video and forgiven them. Maybe even laughed or awwed.

But while the crisis was still ongoing: uhhh, nope. It felt like the rep was missing some basic understanding of human emotions and of what response was appropriate. It was probably just company policy, but even that made me wonder if the company was run by androids.

I could just see them, youngsters in a meeting, doing whatever youngsters do when they meet. Maybe their business meeting involved stand-up paddling, or was held in an escape room, or maybe it was led from their couch like mine. But I can imagine the part of the conversation where they said,

“Hey, let’s make it company policy to send cat videos to people who are disappointed because they were left without the food they ordered! We’ll ask our staff to send a cat video whenever we get negative feedback! If the customer is super duper angry, we could add some emojis! Research shows, hungry people get angry. You know, like the hangry meme! And research also shows that cat videos reduce stress levels. So, who could possibly remain mad if we sent them a cat video?! Problem solved! Yay, high five!”


I’m not so stunned by the response in itself: I mean, on a scale of problems, this is a tiny one. Responding with a cat video makes sense, because it puts things in perspective and says, hey lighten up, it’s not the end of the world. In a way, it’s the right response.

But I guess what stunned me was mixing cats into business communication in the first place. It wasn’t long ago when we wore formal suits to job interviews and carried business cards, and now we are too lazy to write proper language and just add emojis and videos.


And more precisely, I noted the lack of work identity vs. private identity. When did it become ok to use emojis for professional correspondence with paying customers?

It made me feel like my generation is from another planet than the younger one just entering work life. And soon our version of things will be wrong, and theirs right. Ordering food made me feel old, all of a sudden.

49 responses to “Misplaced Cat Video

  1. Maybe send them a video back. Of a dog fight. 🙂 But yes, words, sentences, discourse – become old folk habits. However, then de youngsters may argue that they use a long proven ancient language, hieroglyphics, like the Egyptions did. Fact is, and that indeed is worrying, that in my country 20% of young people can hardly write and read. I said it is worrying, but if commnunication is mainly done by cat video’s and emoji’s – who cares?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve thought similar thoughts, wondering when kids will stop learning to write with a pencil and then at some point reading our current handwriting will become a mystery like the hieroglyphs, only understood by some with special interest in deciphering it.
      And at my workplace, there’s a girl who is trusted with the task of sending newsletters to a very large customer base, and she recently decided to renew the newsletter’s look. Meaning that she now uses emojis all throughout the newsletter. In my opinion, there is a slight problem: emails are now mainly read by people my age and up. Youngsters don’t even open emails, according to data we have. So she doesn’t really know her target group, she just assumes emojis are modern communication. I even read somewhere that kids these days can interpret a full stop as aggressive!!! Like, a full stop at the end of a sentence! Their track of mind is so different…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lordy. I haven’t order delivery for ages and do not regret missing this. I laugh at your vision of the folks brainstorming on this novel approach to customer support. How long will they stay in business, do you suppose? the last laugh will be on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is unsurprising that food orders do not arrive. Our neighbours frequently get food for the same number house in another street. They swear one day they will just eat it instead of redirecting it. Gps is to blame and a lack of local knowledge. Sometimes though not enough info is given by the person ordering. I always worry about things I order online. Only one has not arrived, at all, so far. Luckily it was a rug, not lunch! I could wait a little longer for a replacement.
    But the cat video is um…random.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think chat messages are generated by bots. I’ve been bogged down with them lately and it’s amusing – though not at the time – how irate I become while the chipper bot voice offers me options that have no bearing on what I’m trying to find out. I think the goal is to dissuade people from ever contacting customer service!
    Sounds like the food you got was bad, but how about the cat video? Did you watch it eventually!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. oh crikey i feel your pain. i am still waiting to hear back from a company about an issue i had with them, but i know darn well i will never hear back. i keep saying to my husband is that what they are taught in business school these days? to either completely ignore an issue or yes just send a cat video!!!?? Hope you got some lunch at last…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that in this case they maybe thought they were giving good customer service with the cat video. It was just so… out of context! And nope, no lunch that day, but I survived! At least I managed to get in touch with them, it’s frustrating when there is no way to contact a company.

      Like

  6. This was a food delivery like no other. What was Maria’s lunch? Did you have her food? I wonder if she also gave a red faced emoji. There must be so many similar stories across the world as food delivery increased. I’ve had food come to my door without ordering anything- the poor people waiting as their food makes a detour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure Maria gave a red-faced emoji, too. What they then do with those emojis, who knows! Perhaps they thought they had done enough. And no, I didn’t touch her food, it ended up in the bin. It wasn’t recognizable to me! Maybe the delivery guy had my food at gave me something he threw together himself?!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Earlier this year I bought a washing machine that was not delivered on the scheduled day. The customer service person on the chat with me told me a few times that “it’s all good.” I explained that I had paid in full, waited a month and my scheduled delivery never showed. Things were not all good. The response was laughing emojis. That is when I got really made and asked to speak to someone. The short story was that the lack of delivery was my fault because I booked it on line when I bought my washer and I was just supposed to know I had to call my local store to schedule delivery. The orange home supply chain store rep was not all good when I demanded my money back!

    Lack of customer service training hurts businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No cat video in this post?😉I would have probably eaten that other food if it was something I liked.She probably got your order. But a very novel thing of dealing with a complaning customer,sending a cat video. I am too old too

    Liked by 1 person

    • It also crossed my mind that the delivery guys could do anything with a person’s meal. Like spike it with drugs or drop it on the floor… or take it back from the wrong customer, who already tasted it, and re-deliver it to the original customer who just thinks it’s late for no reason!!!

      Like

  9. If I planned on getting food delivered and then didn’t get it, I would be pissed. Chances are that I would have other things readily available and wouldn’t have much time to prepare or go out to get some, which might effectively leave me starving until the next meal. Not cool.

    Cat video? I’d say somewhat inappropriate. And I agree with you that it’s weird to see the generational difference in business language.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was pretty annoying since I wasn’t counting on cooking and wouldn’t have had time for it at that point anyway!

      Regarding the generational language changes, I recently read an article entitled something like “Are emojis ruining language?” and the article’s answer to the question was no, they make it richer. The way they built up the response was interesting (but also forgettable since I don’t remember it anymore!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • You can argue anything but that doesn’t mean that you are right. So, I get how they can add depth to a conversation (since you don’t get to see someone’s body language) but that’s only when you use emojis in addition to text, not instead of it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree. The article was presented by a linguist, though, and made to sound like it was based on some research. But anyway, you can come to many conclusions regarding this. I use emojis in comments, messages to friends, etc. I.e. in private communication. But when I represent my employer, it would never even cross my mind and I’m shocked every time I see a colleague do it! But maybe that makes me seem rigid or humourless to the younger working generation? I still believe you can convey every kind of politeness and emotion with words perfectly fine!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Never mess with a hungry customer and no cat video can help with it. Lol. At least I presumed Maria K’s lunch was untouched by the delivery guy? There were cases I heard that the delivery guy ate some of the food before delivering it. Ughhh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that as a cat owner, you aren’t relaxed by cat videos! Maybe they remind you of chores?!? And yes, a cat video won’t remove my hunger! I actually never watch any videos at all, because my patience is limited to 10 seconds (I don’t know how this happened, but here we are.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. If you feel you’re from another planet, imagine “moi”. I was wondering what would have happened if I had sent Coca-Cola a cat video if a market research had gone wrong…
    (A British blogger just told me ‘there are some deeply strange people running the roost…)
    Tout va bien Lumi?

    Liked by 1 person

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