Chip store counters customer’s criticism who didn’t even eat

Fodoulla Nicolaou defended the family business and says the customer only stayed in the store for 30 seconds before making his judgment.

The family-friendly fish and chips shop
The family-friendly fish and chips shop

A fish and chips store responded to a one-star review from a customer who hadn’t even ordered food.

The owners of St Mary’s Fish Bar say they were dismayed when a woman posted a negative post about the family business in Stoke on Trent on her Facebook page.

She claimed the workers “were too busy talking to each other” to acknowledge her arrival, so she decided to leave with her son and order lunch elsewhere.

A furious Facebook exchange ensued, reports Stoke on Trent Live.

Now, Fodoulla Nicolaou – daughter of St Mary’s owners Nick and Helen Nicolaou – has vehemently defended the takeaway and insisted the duo had arrived just 30 seconds before deciding to leave on Wednesday lunchtime (June 15).

She is taking care of Chippy with her brother while her parents are in Cyprus.

Customer used Facebook to share their complaint


Stoke Sentinel / BPM Media)

The 36-year-old said: “We had a staff member at the front who was completing an Uber order, my brother was preparing the back and I was organizing the store orders into deliveries.

“I just walked in and I said in Greek to a member of staff, ‘is this lady waiting a long time?’ She said she had just walked in.

“When I went to see her, she said, ‘Is there another chippy around here?’ and she left.

“I thought maybe she didn’t like the prices since everything went up, and she left. That was my initial thought.

“Then that night we saw that there was a one-star review.

“She didn’t comment on the food, it was completely unfair, she didn’t give us a chance to talk to her. She stayed in the store for 30 seconds.

“I don’t understand why you’d leave a one-star review for something like this. She’s been telling everyone she’s been in the store for five minutes.

“I think it’s ridiculous and petty. Maybe we should have said ‘we’ll be with you in a second’, but I was about to go serve you.

“There was no other customer in the store, she knew she would be next.”

Fodoulla was even more upset when others on Facebook supported the woman after she shared her opinion in community groups.

She added: “We worked really hard and were very upset that other people tried to say horrible things about our business.

“There were people commenting saying that we are disgusting, vile people and that we don’t deserve to have our own business.

“You know when you post something like that in a group, you get responses.

“Can’t we defend our store? If I were to leave a review, I would expect a response from the company.

“But we’re not allowed to do that because we’re demonized for defending ourselves. I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

Fodoulla was pleased to be able to air her side of the story when the woman’s husband came to speak to them in person.

She added: “We had a really good conversation for 10 minutes and I explained my side, he explained his wife’s side.

“But he didn’t know she had shared the review on two local Facebook groups that have over 1,000 members.

“I thought it was great that he came to talk to me, he was really nice. His wife says she wants an apology, but I’m not apologizing for defending 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 in both groups and it caused me a lot of grief.”

Fodoulla has been working on chippies since he was a teenager, first in Stafford, where his parents opened their first chip shop, and then in Blurton for the past seven years.

She added: “My parents are in Cyprus. My grandmother is very sick and my mother and father are by her side.

“They were also very upset about it. They know how much damage it can do. My brother and I are here six days a week, doing 12-hour shifts with no break.

“People have enough on their plates. They don’t know what’s going on with our grandmother and we don’t want the sympathy card, but people don’t understand that we’re normal people, we have things going on in our lives.

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“When I go somewhere and I feel like I didn’t have a good experience, I don’t have to leave a review on Facebook.

“I just think they might be having a bad day. We weren’t having a bad day, nor did we have a chance to speak properly with this lady.

“We’re going to delete our Facebook business page because it’s really disappointing to think that we work so hard, but anyone can leave a nasty comment for no reason.”

Under the headline “I don’t recommend this place”, the irate customer wrote: “Horrible service. People who worked there were too busy talking to each other to recognize us. be with you in a moment’ we left and went to The Fish Net in Longton. Much better chip shop to spend almost £20 on ordering and they were cheaper.”

Fodoulla Nicolaou replied, “Interestingly, none of us have even seen him before or really want his kind of costume. My brother was cooking, my team was placing an Uber order and I had just walked in and I heard you say ‘let’s go another chippy’ after logging in a moment before. Did you talk to us and we ignored you? No. Sorry if we are busy and we have other jobs too so you don’t get the attention you need to buy food and then have the audacity to go online and leave a review stupid. Nobody cares about your 20 pounds on FishNet. Honestly, so petty and ridiculous, you were in the store for a whole 30 seconds. Grow and control yourself.”

The customer replied, “You clearly need customer service training. Again, your attitude here says more about you than it does about me. the ones who need to grow up, obviously too immature to run a business.”

Fodoulla then retaliated, “My customer service skills are good, thanks, I’ve been running businesses since I was a teenager, but when there are some people who clearly have nothing better to do than leave bad reviews, do you think I should just tolerate it and not defend me? Absolutely not. You were in the store for 30 seconds when we all noticed and heard your bad attitude comment as you left. Glad you liked FishNet, have a nice day. Go moan elsewhere, thanks.”

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