How to be better at ANYTHING

The story goes that the fussiest customer EVER was an elderly man who lived in a small town south of Dubai. He was cranky, unfriendly, hard to satisfy, and a bad tipper. Service workers in the area would bend over backwards to make him happy, but nothing worked. Soon, everyone stopped trying. After all, what was the point? Nothing was good enough for this guy. Their efforts were met with nothing but contempt, sneers and disapproving comments.

But a youngster at a fruit & vegetable shop simply wouldn’t give up. The fussy customer was a regular there. Every day he would pick up two apples and a bottle of grape juice. Determined to satisfy this man’s need for perfect customer service, the youngster ran to him every morning.

“Good morning, sir. “ How can I help you today?

The question made the man more disgruntled. “Pffft. If you don’t know that by now, you shouldn’t be working here!” he snapped.

And with that, he grabbed two apples and a bottle of grape juice—but not before shooting the look of death back at the youngster.

Unaffected by the customer’s brash attitude, the youngster made a mental note of the man’s grocery choice and readied himself for the next day.

The following morning saw the fussy customer making his way to the fruit stall. As usual, all the staff ignored the man, knowing that he was too much for them to handle. But to their surprise, the youngster ran towards the customer—two apples in one hand, and a bottle of grape juice in the other.

“Here you go sir.” He said, half out of breath. “Your usual.”

But his smile was received with a sneer and an irritable sigh. “You damn kid! LOOK! This apple is bruised and the grape juice isn’t cold anymore. Useless!”

The youngster hardly had a chance to apologise while the grumpy old man walked off to do it himself.

The days went by and each time the man found something wrong with the youngster’s efforts. Either the goods were faulty. Or the boy did something to annoy him. No matter how hard he tried, the customer never reached satisfaction.

Then one day (I think it was a Wednesday), the young man walked up to his grumpy customer. In one hand he confidently held two apples, and in the other a cold bottle of grape juice.

“Sir,” he said as the old man looked up. “Here’s your usual. Two apples that have been cleaned, shined and checked for bruises. And your bottle of grape juice was just brought in this morning and is still cold.”

The staff at the fruit and vegetable shop snickered at the young man’s attempt. ‘Was this guy a sucker for punishment or WHAT?’ They must have thought. They watched with interest at what the old man would retort next.

But instead of saying a word, the fussy customer looked at the young man with a slight grin. Taking the goods slowly, he walked over to the owner of the shop who was counting stock near the back. No one heard what was said between the two, the fussy customer pointed towards the frozen youngster at the front of the shop. The owner shook his head, the old man raised his voice, and the owner finally nodded in agreement.

The fussy customer left shortly afterwards—two apples and bottle of grape juice in his shopping bag. The owner walked over to the youngster and put his hands on his shoulder. “Young man, you are the only person in this store who was able to give that man EXACTLY what he wanted. Your days as a cleaner are over. How would you feel about managing my staff—starting today?”

And with those words the young man emptied out his dirty bucket of water, put away his mop, and accepted his promotion with a smile.


Be better than what you think you can be. It’s NOT about how many times you mess up. It’s about how many times you stand up and try again. Obstacles are nothing more than heavy weights you lift to get stronger. If you want it badly enough, it WILL be yours!

Copley Sutton