Throw in a Couple Extra Shrimp

ThrowinanextrashrimpMy Dad had a fish store when I was a teenager, in Union City, NJ. He had steady customers that would come from other states around the holidays just to buy his fish. Sometimes they waited an hour before he waited on them, but it didn’t matter to them. They knew he got up every day at 3:00AM just to go to the Fulton Fish Market in New York  to get first pickings on the best and freshest, and know that he would settle for nothing less. He was one of the hardest working men I ever knew.

He was also really smart.

His scales were on the counter in full sight. Every time someone ordered a pound a shrimp, he threw them on the scale and would pause a moment when the lever hit the pound mark. Then he’d look at them in the eye, flash them a huge grin, and then throw in a couple more.

I didn’t realize until recently that there is actually a word for “throwing in a little bit more.” It is called Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap.) It basically refers to a small gift or “add-on” given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as slipping in the 13th doughnut when buying a dozen)

This practice doesn’t just work for store owners. It’s great for all business people. When you sell at home parties, lagniappe can be a key factor attracting and retaining customers. You want them to love you!  Do you make sure everyone leaves with a token gift, prize or sampler? Are you generous with party game prizes, or tell them ‘”Don’t worry about the change” when they are looking for the cents in their purse to pay their order?

Lagniappe really works.
VincentLiguoriSo, throw in a couple extra shrimp, and give them a big smile. What you get back is an ocean of customers that are loyal to you!

P.S. On the right, Vincenzo, my dad. He owned “Four Seas Fish Market” in Union City, NJ,  from 1972 until he passed away in 1983. He really did have the best shrimp!

Rina Valan