On Valentine’s Day I Mourned The End Of My 12 Year Relationship ?

It hurts me to say this but it’s true. I’m actually pretty devastated but felt the need to share this with you.

There’ll be no more cosy brunches or shared smiles over amazing carrot cake ?.

I’m not sure I have the heart to explain to my little ones why it has to be like this.

And all over £1.50.

As I walked past my old love on the high street, I barely glanced up. I carried on walking to be where I knew I was wanted, where I was appreciated, where I felt loved???.

As I took my seat by the window and set up my laptop, the owner walked over and offered my now regular soya hot chocolate. I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted so I asked for a menu. I felt sad. After 12 years, how could it get to the point where I couldn’t even bare to look at my love.

I ordered a veggie brunch, asked them to exchange the hash browns for chips, hold the butter, eggs scrambled instead of fried – it was that kind of day. “Soya Hot Chocolate?” he asked.

I told him I left my purse at home, “No problem!” he said. I ordered the hot chocolate – extra hot.

I thought back to how the break-up played out…

We stopped off for tea and a babyccino for my son. They didn’t have my favourite orange tea – again, almost two weeks after they told me they ran out. I was annoyed. I decided to plump for water.

His breakfast tea turned up about 2/3rd full even with the milk. I decided against the carrot cake. It wasn’t the same without orange tea?.

The babyccino turned up – usually in a teacup, today it arrived in a wendy-house sized cup. ‘Oh,’ I thought, how kind of them to give this as a freebie.

I told him I had been unhappy for some time, that I’d expressed my feelings several times but never really felt listened to.

The telltale signs were there. First, it was the hard boiled egg that turned up with runny egg white inside, then the chip rations decreased, then they stopped offering the lovely fresh bread with my lentil soup.

I think the cracks really started to appear were there when my carrot cake went from being thick enough to hold a door open to so thin half of it would fall off before it made it to my side plate.

I tried not to take it personally but even after 12 years together I was made to feel worth no more than the hipster hussies that turned up on the odd occasion for a good time.

I mean we even held my son’s 3rd birthday party there. Did that not count for anything?!

He went to go and pay for the tea.

He returned a minute later face solemn.

They wanted an extra £1.50.

For what?

Surely not for the thimble of soya milk. Surely not.

I walked over to the counter.

First came the betrayal.

“You have to pay for the babyccino”, she said.

“But it was so much smaller than the last one I paid for – I thought it was for free!” I said. “How can you charge me the same price for something less than half the size?”

Then came the lies.

“They’ve always been that size”. It was said without blinking. We both knew that wasn’t true.

“No they haven’t, I ordered one two weeks ago”

How had it got to this? ?

The owner kept her head down, pretending she couldn’t hear the tiff taking place inches away from her. The noise in the cafe reduced to a murmur. I felt hot and embarrassed.

“Liane*?” I said. “I think your staff are mistaken. Why are they being like this? Of course it hasn’t always been this size. Tell them”.

Liane and I went way back. 12 years of patronage, through thick and thin. She would resolve this. They didn’t know me like she did. She knew I liked scrambled rather than fried eggs, we had babies of similar ages, Joshy attended her son’s party there. She had my back.

“It’s always been this size.” she said.

I repeated what I said to her henchmen.

She replied “Customers complained they were too big”

Ah ha! So they weren’t always that size. I was beginning to wonder if the whole relationship was a dream???.

I asked how she could justify this. She looked me dead in the eye, ready to twist the knife in my already broken heart?.

“I’m sorry, that will be £1.50.” she said resolutely and went back to making the latte she had in her hand. Just like that, I had been dismissed. 12 years, down the drain.

I was crushed.

I paid the money and left without looking back. I’ve not been back since.

Yesterday, I couldn’t look at the window as I walked past my old love. I carried on walking to where I felt truly wanted. The difference is astounding. He can’t do enough to serve me. Yesterday, I learned the history of Valentine’s day.

For the sake of £1.50, I ended a relationship where I wasn’t appreciated. They have lost my support and that of my family and friends because bad publicity travels.

No number of accolades or stars on Google will convince me to go back.

The issue wasn’t the money.

My experience and the treatment of me as a long standing customer was appalling.

PR is about managing your reputation. It doesn’t matter how many awards you’ve won or how many column inches you’ve bagged, what truly matters if the authenticity of the relationship you have with your public. The key is recognising that every interaction with your audience is PR.

Can you relate to this story?

Do you remember to romance your customers or do you take them for granted?

Have you ever had your heart broken in this way? Xx

First published on Linkedin.

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