Give This Customer A Cupcake

, , , , , , | Right | January 21, 2019

(A young woman walks into our vet’s office with a German Shepherd.)

Me: “Good afternoon, ma’am. Do you have an appointment?”

Lady: “Yes, my name is [Lady] and this is Cupcake.”

Me: “I see he is here for his rabies and distemper shots.”

Lady: “That’s correct.”

Me: “I don’t want to sound condescending, but the distemper shot won’t make him nicer.”

Lady: “Oh, I know that… Do people actually believe that?”

(I’m a little shocked by this.)

Me: “Unfortunately, you’re one of the few people I’ve met that hasn’t said, ‘When will it make my pet nicer?’”

Lady: “I’m sorry you guys have to deal with knuckleheads like that.”

Me: “It’s okay. Every job has its risks.”

(I wish I could’ve given her a discount. I found out later that she is a service dog trainer. My niece is blind, and Cupcake became her service dog after she learned how to use a cane.)

No Point Crying Over Cold Milk

, , , | Right | January 15, 2019

(I’m a cashier at a superstore, and it kills me when people hand me cold or frozen items they don’t want. I cannot leave, nor can I call anyone, so that food is definitely going to spoil. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to ask the customers to return the items, either. This is why it always brings a smile when people run the items back themselves. It may hold up the line for a little, but that is worth not wasting food. The following happens to be a very unusual instance of customer consideration:)

Customer: “Oh! Just hang on a sec while I grab a soda!”

Me: “Sure!” *the powered cooler is a few feet away*

Customer: *starts laughing*

Me: “Ma’am?”

Customer: “It looks like someone didn’t want their milk.”

Me: *leaves the register for a moment to look* “Oh, my!”

(A container of milk was sitting amongst the sodas. After a bit of a laugh, the customer and I returned to my station and I finished checking them out. Thanks for preserving the milk, random customer!)

Driving Home The Kindness, Part 15

, , , , | Hopeless | January 9, 2019

A few years ago I was working at a dealership for a manufacturer that produces notoriously terrible cars. Our service department was open on Christmas Eve, though with shorter hours than normal. I was hoping to get out a bit extra-early — which I did! — we booked light, but of course, we kept hoping that unexpected cars wouldn’t show up. Around noon, a car without an appointment pulled into the driveway, and when I saw who was getting out I thought, “Crap! Why is she here?”

She was a customer I knew well: an older Russian lady who was perfectly nice, but paranoid and oversensitive about her car. We’d had quite a few occurrences of her coming for “symptoms” that were not, in fact, actual issues but just the normal operation of a crappy sort of car. Helping her also tended to be rather time-consuming as English was not her first language. I was dreading finding out why she had pulled in.

She came to bring me a box of chocolates and thank me for being so helpful to her over the past year, taking the time to explain her car’s idiosyncrasies and make her feel safe driving it. She said she knew she could be difficult, but that she really appreciated knowing that I was there to help her out and keep her mind at ease.

The gesture had a big impact: I’d been getting jaded, but she really helped me remember why I love my job, and how even the frustrating moments can be part of a rosier big picture. I continued to work with her, but dreaded seeing her far less as I was able to remember how our visits could be rewarding for both her and me. A year and a half later, when her lease ended and she turned the car in, she brought me her favorite snack from her home country, gave me a big tearful hug, and told me if the car wasn’t so terrible she would’ve bought out the lease so she could keep coming to see me for service. I don’t know what she’s driving now, but I hope it’s taking good care of her!

Related:
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 14
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 13
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 12

Gushing With Kindness

, , , , | Hopeless | January 7, 2019

(I’m a minor working the closing shift at a grocery store. Around 30 minutes before closing, a customer comes through my line with a box of Gushers candy. I’m tired, but I still try to be nice and make small talk.)

Me: “Wow, I haven’t had Gushers in a long time. I still love them, though!”

Customer: “Do you want some?”

Me: “A-are you sure?”

(He has already started to open the box.)

Customer: “Yeah, why not?”

Me: “Oh, no, it’s fine! You don’t have to.”

(He proceeds to put two bags of Gushers on the counter.)

Customer: “There’s one, and there’s two.”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

(He quickly left the store. Later, my friend from customer service came over and I gave one of the Gusher bags to her. That guy really made my night! If you’re reading this, thank you!)

Good Customer Service Doesn’t Grow On Trees

, , , , | Hopeless Right | December 26, 2018

(I work in a garden centre. Due to being the on-site horticulturist and having a very even temper, I end up getting the complaints and difficult customers, even though on paper I am not officially responsible for complaints or refunds. It is close to Christmas, and we are working flat out, hauling real Christmas trees about when my radio phone rings.)

Coworker: “[My Name], sorry about this, but I’ve got a really angry customer who wants to speak to someone about a tree. She’s shouting really loudly. Can I put them through?”

Me: “Go ahead; I’ll do my best.”

(Click.)

Me: “Hello. This is the plant department. I’ve been told you’ve got a problem with a tree?”

Customer: “IT’S FULL OF BEETLES!”

(I realise from her tone of voice that she isn’t angry; she’s really, really upset.)

Me: “Oh, dear! What kind of tree is it, please?”

Customer: “I bought a Christmas tree from you, and I brought it inside, into my living room. A few hours later, all these beetles crawled out of it, and now my house is now full of them!”

Me: “Wow. That sounds… absolutely horrible. I’m so sorry! We definitely need to sort this out for you.”

Customer: *much calmer now* “Yes, so I was wondering… do you have any artificial trees? I’d like to buy one. Could you reserve one for me?”

(I pause to process what she just asked. Yes, she doesn’t want a refund. She isn’t threatening to get us fired. She wants to buy a replacement. Buy.)

Me: “Madam, I can assure you that you are well-deserving of a refund in a situation like this. This absolutely should not have happened at all, and I’m horrified that it did. We need to get that tree back here to examine it, and also a sample of the beetles. If you can’t bear to touch it, I’ll arrange to have our delivery driver pick it up for you, free of charge.”

Customer: “So… you’ll give me an artificial tree in exchange? I’ll have to get a smaller one, since they’re much more expensive.”

Me: “Well, this is an exceptional situation, so I’m going to stretch a point and say that as long as we get your tree back, we will do a straight swap: the same size artificial tree for the real one.”

Customer: “You’d do that? That would be great! I’ll get my husband to bring the tree back.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll make sure a similar artificial tree is put on one side for you. Could I take some details, please?”

(I take the details, and put a nice artificial tree on one side. It’s twice the price of the real tree she bought. I also plant up a small pot of primroses as a complimentary gift for her, and quickly wrap a red bow around it. The husband brings the tree in, and it is infested with Cinara piceae, a kind of big, ugly aphid. The warmth in her home had no doubt made them wake up and become active. I’ve never seen this happen before in Christmas trees, but her story all checks out. I give the go-ahead for her to get her refund and replacement tree. Unfortunately, I am with another customer when she comes in, but apparently, she bursts into tears when she is handed the complimentary pot of flowers. Slight overreaction, I think, but okay. Some people are just made that way. Fast forward to a little after Christmas. We have a visit from one of the directors. She is known for being strict but fair, and also a stickler for rules.)

Director: “[My Name], I had a letter about you from a customer. I wanted to discuss it with you.”

Me: “Really? What was it about?”

Director: “A lady said she had a tree full of beetles…”

Me: “Oh, the beetle tree! Yes, I remember all about it. I realise I went against refund policy by giving her goods worth twice the amount of the diseased tree, but I felt it was a very unusual situation and could have become a complete PR disaster.”

Director: “So… Do you think you made the right decision?”

(Okay, I’m in trouble. “What the heck?” I decide. “I might as well stand up for myself.”)

Me: “Yes, I do.”

(The director suddenly smiles and hands over an envelope.)

Director: “She sent you a Christmas card. There was a letter in it that told me about the tree. Her son had a bad motorbike accident earlier this year and is spending his first Christmas in a wheelchair at [Customer]’s house. They wanted to give him the best Christmas he could have. She said that you saved the day.”

(I can feel my eyes tearing up.)

Me: “Oh, right.”

Director: “So, well done. You did the right thing and saved us from a seriously embarrassing situation!”

(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got promoted: by breaking the rules! I’m very happy to add that I have handled tens of thousands more Christmas trees since then, and have never seen a “beetle tree” again.)

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