[This continues from Part 1, here.]
After a few minutes’ ride on their brooms (they were turbo charged) The Soup Witches & the wizard arrived at their destination. There was no signboard on the simple hut with its pretty garden front, but the wizard recognized it immediately. It was the original tea + cake hut in the kingdom. Many tea + cake huts were fashioned after this original place (he found inspiration for his own cakes here too) Almost everyone there recognized the Soup Witches. Warm hellos greeted them as they walked in.
After the Soup Witches introduced the wizard to Alma, the witch who owned the hut, they all sat down at a corner table together. An assistant brought over some cakes & a large pot of tea. The wizard was awed by the thought of sharing the table with the original tea + cake hut owner, but he wasted no time to ask the witch if she had been upset when her first copycat competitors showed up.
“Of course I was angry!” She replied. Then her face softened, “But what good would staying angry do me? It was more important to ask myself what was I going to do about it. So I started looking more closely at my cakes & how I served them. I listened to my friends.” She smiled at the Soup Witches. “First thing I did was register my best cake designs & recipes. Then I made sure I let my friends & customers know that I did. Whenever they spot a copycat, some of them even went so far as to tell them to be careful because they’ve made a copycat of a registered design.” She sighed. “Sometimes I think my friends have too much fun at playing investigators.” She chuckled as she poured the wizard more tea.
Looking around him, the wizard saw many colorful goodies. What struck him more was how relaxed the customers were, chatting with each other & with Alma’s assistant about recipes & recommendations on how else to enjoy the lovely cakes. “Surely you’d have no problems with recipes & design,” he said. “You’ve got so many!”
Alma put her cup down. “Of course I do. What good would it do me if I hadn’t explored new designs, created more recipes & improved my cakes? If I just stayed with what I had, the copycats will one day catch up & may actually come up with something better.” She looked at the wizard, “I can’t have that, can I?”
“N-no, of course not,” he replied, after hesitating. “But I have so many people complaining to me about my designs & how my cakes don’t taste as good as they did before,” he continued. Alma nodded. “So what are you doing about that?” She asked him. “Pardon me?” The wizard sputtered, “What am I doing about what?” The old witch smiled & asked, a little differently this time-“What do you say to the people who come to you with comments?” The wizard put his fork down firmly next to his cake, “I tell them to take their comments home with them. I don’t have time for those things. My true customers like my cakes & will keep on buying from me.”
“Really?” Said the witch, “Then how will you know how well your cakes are doing compared to the copycats? How will your customers know that you care about their suggestions? Have you considered who they will talk to about their experience at your hut? You’ve just got rid of a great way to spread good news about your tea & cakes AND a great source of learning from the people who matter – those who buy your stuff. Aren’t they be the ones you’d want to continue to buy from you & recommend your goods to their friends?” She asked. He looked at her, unsmiling & silent. She went on, “Now they’ll just tell the people they know that they didn’t have fun at your hut, & you don’t care about their advice when all they want to do is help you improve. That’s such a waste, isn’t it?” Alma asked, before taking a sip of her tea. The wizard’s face got redder & redder as she spoke.
The wizard dropped his cup to its saucer with a clang. “I’m leaving.” He got up & went out of the door, his robes whirling after him.
The witches looked at each other. “Oh dear,” said one of the Soup Witches. “That didn’t work well, did it?” Their old friend smiled. “Give the young lad some time to cool down. He’ll be all right.”