It all started with a bag of popcorn when I went to my favorite grocery store, that starts with a big P and has little green bags to help with land pollution. My husband’s favorite treat, besides chocolate, is popcorn. He munches while he watches his favorite teams and the last thing he wants is a bag that has some burned pieces.
This is not usually the case at big “P,” but since I spend hundreds of dollars each month to keep them in business, I thought “Why not ask if they will replace it?” Usually, any request is met with great enthusiasm for their employees will eagerly take you to find an item, replace anything not exactly right, make the best sandwiches to go…even when you ask for “low sodium ham” and they have to cut it special.
Not this day! The lady at the service desk had definitely failed “Customer Service 101.”
“My husband’s popcorn that I bought the other day was burned and he had to throw it out. Anything you can do?”
“Well, you should have called and told us!”
“Yes, and I thought while I am shopping that I will tell you now.”
“In the future, you need to call us…but I will do this for you this once!”
At this point, I could have told her that her response was not exactly the way most big “P” employees act to customers…or asked to see her manager…or do just what I did….let it go. “Sure, I’ll remember that,” I replied.
Walking away, I felt lectured to…put down…and certainly not in the happy frame of mind in which I arrived. This led me to thinking about writing this blog…Does it matter how we respond to people? The answer, of course, is YES!
Thinking back on other times over the years that I have shopped at the “P” market, I remember asking the butcher, who was busy putting freshly cut meats out in the case, “Can you tell me which roast is the most tender. The last one I bought was a little tough.” He immediately showed me and said, “I tell you what I can do. Pick out one…and I will wrap it for you…no cost. We want you to be happy with what you buy.” Wow! What a difference. He definitely passed the Customer Appreciation 101 with an A+. Such a difference within one store. This led me to look around.
There was an employee showing customers how to fill out a form for a Covid shot…or booster. She was helpful, jolly…even though they were about to get stabbed in the arm. Patience was also her gift as she carefully explained the procedure. What she said and how she said it mattered. Nobody was eager to go through with this, but how excellent that “P” was willing to make it easy for customers who wanted it.
Never…no never show up at the Deli from 11 am- 12 noon if you are in a hurry. The line will most likely be long and by the time you wait, you may wonder why you ever thought of having them make you a sandwich. All the workers had arrived and naturally wanted theirs as soon as possible. Lunch break was short for them. Every now and then you may hear someone complain, but not the ladies behind the counter slapping on this and that that each customer relished in their specially made sandwich….“Oh, no relish, please.” Gosh, those women must have the patience of Job. If you don’t know who Job is, he’s in the Bible and had alot more things to worry about than most of us do today!
On one occasion, the cashier finished up my order prematurely…and on realizing it, said, “Oh…were these things yours? I’m sorry. Could you pay me for these?” Digging back down in my purse, I found the money…paid her…and happily started out with the lovely, young girl who would put my groceries in the car. The cashier kept saying, “I’m so sorry!” She got the reward for the “most concerned for customers.”
Yes, what we say, how we say it…and even our facial expressions are important tools for making life happy or NOT for a person. There are too many pressures in this world to forget this. It is up to us, especially as Christians, to show God’s love, patience and even forgiveness… not only in the big things, but in those things we consider small. Having the right popcorn is no exception. “Of course, we can fix that for you. Thanks for letting us know. Have a blessed day!”