Derry’s Rice Bowl tricks customers with fake ‘queuing customer’ poster when takeaway is shut

A Chinese Takeaway in Derry has been making headlines and going ‘viral’ online after it pranked customers into thinking it was open for business, when the doors were very firmly shut.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 9:00 am
The fake shop front poster that confused customers at the Rice Bowl.

Fans of The Rice Bowl are no strangers to the ingenious ideas and social media musings of its owner - ‘Mr Chang.’

Just before Christmas, the Shantallow takeaway closed for a month as Mr Chang was reportedly ‘getting married.’

Rather than just close the doors, the proprietor decided to erect a large shop front poster which feature the inside of the takeaway and a queuing customer.

It was so realistic, it fooled many customers, who attempted to open the door and gain entry. It also resulted in much confusion.

Mr Chang posted CCTV footage of their efforts to get a takeaway on the Rice Bowl Facebook page and it has been shared numerous times.

It has also caught the attention of news outlets as far away as Scotland.

While all the publicity is good for business and the story has been putting smiles on many faces, the sentiment behind the stunt was one of kindness and looking out for a fellow business person.

Mr Chang told the Journal how it all began back in October last year, when he had to close his business for a few days due to illness.

On his return, the owner of the business next door went to greet him and said she had been worried about him. She also told him she had been frightened, ‘because of the lack of people coming and going as I was closed and she didn’t like to be on her own. And, it was darker outside when I was closed’.

Mr Chang continued: “She then said: “I was going to give it two more days and I would have closed my flower shop also’.”

This left him with a dilemma as he knew he was closing up for one month in December in order to get married.

He ‘didn’t have the heart’ to tell the lady, so instead told her: “ If I ever close again, I will leave all the lights on outside, so that you are not afraid. I will put up a big sticker on my shutter so that it looks like my Chinese take away is always open and people are standing about, that way you won’t be lonely or frightened.”

Mr Chang told how ‘Josie’, a ‘lovely elderly lady’ was brushing up outside at the time ‘and she just laughed at me and replied: ‘Don’t be so silly, now go back to work before I hit you with my brush!’

“That’s when I thought, I really have to do something or else Josie will close the flower shop when I go to get married.”

When the time came for Mr Chang to leave, he ‘did not have the heart’ to say he was going, but he was true to his word about ensuring Josie would not be frightened.

“So I just put the sign on the shutter, kept the lights on and left for the airport to get married.

“On my return last week I was happy to see that the flower shop was still open and Josie laughed and said: “Thank you for leaving the lights on for a month for me, I did not think that you were serious about making your shop look like it was open and you didn’t tell anyone that you were getting married, now where is your wife?’”

On his return, Mr Chang also took to social media to address the reasons behind the idea and on viewing CCTV, saw how it has led to a lot of confusion and hilarity.

He said the reactions seemed to ‘vary’ from the public, with the majority ‘in stitches laughing,’ while others seem ‘very confused about the whole idea.’

Mr Chang also took to social media to ensure his shop front is now very real and he is again open for business.

‘I swear to God, I really am open. I’ll wave to you all,” he posted. You can see all the interaction on the Rice Bowl Facebook page.