Japanese customer service pulls through to make up for a sweet tragedy.

In Japan, a traditional Christmas cake is a strawberry shortcake, with its red-and-white colours bringing a festive look to the holidays.

This year, however, Japanese convenience store chain Lawson decided to add a new type of cake to its Christmas lineup, eliminating the usual strawberry topping and going with a pure white look instead.

▼ The cake, called the “Simple Shortcake“, contains a cream layer with mango pieces inside, and is priced at 2,490 yen.

The new product caused a buzz with people online, who’d never seen such a plain-looking Christmas cake on the market before. While some praised the idea of being able to add your own toppings to create a customised Christmas cake, others criticised the absence of strawberries, which they believed to be an essential component.

Our reporter Mr Sato had no such criticisms of the cake, instead seeing it as an opportunity to try something new for Christmas. So he made a reservation at his nearest branch and settled on 19 December as the pickup date, with payment to be made when he received the product.

So he was all ready to collect the cake at the scheduled time of 2:00 p.m. on 19 December, but just after the clock struck two, Mr Sato received a call from an unknown number. His phone usually never rings, so he answered the call nervously, and it turned out to be a clerk from his local Lawson.

Clerk: “We are very sorry, but there’s been a problem with the cake.”

Mr Sato: “Huh? What happened?”

Clerk: “Um, it’s damaged. It’s difficult to sell it to you as it is…”

Mr Sato:Huh? Damaged? Does that mean someone dropped it?”

Clerk: “Well, that’s what it seems like. In any case, we’ll prepare a cake of the same price for you. And we won’t charge you for it.”

Mr Sato: “Uh, ah, yes. Okay. Should I pick it up now?”

Clerk: “When it’s ready, we’ll contact you again by phone. I think it’ll be around 5 p.m.”

Mr Sato: “That’s okay. I’ll wait for your call.”

So in the end, it seemed like Mr Sato would not be able to try the Simple Shortcake after all. However, this wasn’t a bad thing, because once he received the call and went to the store, this is what was waiting for him, and best of all, it was entirely free.

The cake didn’t look exactly the same as the Simple Shortcake, but the one they chose to replace it with was about as close as they could get to it, with only the simplest of toppings, and Mr Sato was more than happy to receive it.

The staff who served him were wonderfully apologetic, and Mr Sato felt humbled by their care and concern. While some customers might’ve been annoyed at not receiving the cake they wanted, Mr Sato could empathise with the way whoever might’ve dropped the cake would’ve felt, as he once worked in the catering industry and saw a colleague go ashen when he dropped the wedding cake at a restaurant reception.

That experience taught him the sense of tragedy that comes with dropping a cake, and nobody would want to do that just for fun, so he felt bad for whoever had dropped it. He also appreciated the concern and remorse shown by staff, who couldn’t have been nicer about it all.

His faith in humanity restored, Mr Sato decided to spread the good cheer with his colleagues, by taking the cake back to the office and sharing it with them.

▼ Merry Christmas!

Truth be told, our gang would probably have been happy eating cake off the floor, but thankfully the staff at Lawson don’t know us that well.

Having refined their palates through numerous cheap vs. luxury food challenges, the team agreed the cake was fit for royalty, and a good reminder of how good things can come from adversity.

So next time things don’t quite go to plan, Mr Sato will look back and remember the story of his dropped Christmas cake. There’s always a silver lining to every situation, and it’s easier to find when you receive god-like customer service!

Photos © SoraNews24
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