Posted in personal, user experience, Vancouver

My metal-shard-in-chinese-bun experience: Why quality control is key

In hindsight, I could have gotten seriously injured in this experience.

Nevertheless, for the advancement of better user experiences, it illustrates my point succinctly.

I ate a char siu bau this weekend from Kam Do Bakery in Richmond – half way through my delectable appetizer I found, to my horror, a thin staple-sized piece of metal in the middle of my bun. (see the picture below, no dramatization here folks!!!)

Now, I’ve been to Kam Do countless times for their legendary “old wife cookies” (loh poh bang), as well as good Hong Kong style breakfast, but this has got to be the worst experience ever.

What Starbucks Does

This kind of thing should never happen – If it happened at a normal upper class restaurant, I’d probably get my meal free and future discounts as well as a talk from the manager apologizing profusely.

At Starbucks, Baristas are trained to not only redo drinks but give them a free drink coupon for their next visit if a drink was made wrong. Starbucks knows that they’re not selling just coffee, but rather an experience in which customer satisfaction plays a big role. They know that the cost they lose for giving you a free drink turns your annoyance into gratitude, and keeps you as a future customer.

In short, it’s well worth it.





Back to Kam Do Bakery

But I know what will happen when I go back and tell them. The first thing they’ll ask is “are you sure that was in our bun?!?”, then they will either deny it (at worst), or give me another bun (at best).

As a customer, I will most likely think twice before I ever buy a bun from them. To add to that, I’ll write posts like this and maybe even a bad review or two online. At worst, I’ll contact local newspapers or get the health board to look into their restaurant to make sure other people don’t get hurt swallowing thin metal shards in the future.

But, in an interesting and ironic contrast, I will most likely still go back for their “loh poh bangs” – even though this happened and they’re $1.25 a piece. Why?

Because, quite simply, they make one of the best darn “loh poh bangs” in town and they are known for that.

A Successful Company

I guess that illustrates the two ways you can be a successful company:

  1. make something so good that people talk about it, and then charge higher prices for it
  2. ensure that your customer’s have the best experience and service there

I’m sure you can guess which route Kam Do’s going. Which route would you like to go down?

On a side note – any comments or suggestions with what I should do about this?


Jon Chui (pronounced "chew") has been building iOS/Android apps for the last 7 years, the last 3 working on Google Maps, Inbox by Gmail and Google's Search App. Though he grew up in a Christian family and to parents who would end up giving up their 25 years of hard-earned comforts/affluence in Canada to go back to China as missionaries when he was 14, being a Christian was always in his head, and he would constantly struggle with trying to unify the sacred and the secular - until last year. However, through a radical transformation[] @ work last year (which he can't take ANY credit for), he & his wife & 2 young boys have decided to leave Google, sell/donate everything they have so to serve the poor & marginalized with Jesus’ love as missionaries with's Family DTS in Kona, hawaii then to the Philippines. Read more about their family journey @, and reach out to him @ If you're a recruiter with freelance jobs or have tech projects for jon feel free to reach out to him -

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