$5 or $5,000 does it matter?

I have been pondering this question the other day.  My manager made a point the other day and I for one feel she is right.  Whenever we have a customer in our store that doesn’t want to have to follow our company return policy.  In other words they want to return an item that they purchased months ago with the tags still on that is outside of our 30 day return policy and we apologize and state that we are unable to return the item because it is outside of the time frame; nine times out of ten the customer instantly jumps to the comment “but I spend insert amount (a lot, thousands, etc.) at this store.”  The thing is it doesn’t matter and I would like to suggest that you shouldn’t want it to and it is a good thing that it doesn’t.  Here’s the thing would you want to be treated poorly simply because you don’t spend a lot in the store?  Or would you want excellent customer service and a great shopping experience everytime you enter the store regardless of what you spend or if you buy nothing at all.

The reality of it is, the people that shop at our store frequently and do spend thousands know our return policy they even typically know the month we changed it over the summer.  Not only that but we have signs at all the registers, it is printed on the receipt that they are bringing in, and we frequently tell our customers.  Most of the time I would be willing to bet they know its outside the policy and come in ready for an argument wanting an exception to be made for them.  But beyond that is really the question about it mattering that you spend more than others in the store.

I caught myself in a tweet this weekend when I was leaving Buy Buy Baby upset about the lack of service I received and stated thatI had been going there to spend thousands.  Truth is it shouldn’t have mattered if I was going in there to purchase a $20 item or the $1000 bedroom furniture I was going to purchase.  The associate asked me if she could help me and I asked her for a price on the few pieces we were looking at adding to our 2 year old’s bedroom.   We already have part of the set and wanted to add more now that he is older and his new room is larger.  The woman walked away to check, after sitting there for 15-20 min and her not returning I got up to check and found her helping someone else.  She said “I was going to come back to you and tell you we were really busy but this couple came up and needed help”.  As if that wasn’t bad enough the other item we wanted was out of stock on the shelve and then the couple of little items we picked up we went and stood in line and then they started a second line forgot about the line I was in and all these people were cutting in front of us and when I said something the associate said I should go and join the back of the thoer line.  So I handed her my items and walked out of the store.  The worst part of this is I later found out they had a store meeting that very morning about customer service and how they needed to improve.

While I was making a small purchase at the register I had been prepared to make a large purchase and that was thwarted every step of the way.  We plan on buying a new Bob jogging stroller this morning and I have found that I can purchase it at a local Michigan based company called Moosejaw where I have always had excellent customer service and while I may pay a few dollars more for the item it will be worth it to support a company that does it right.  I am also going to be looking for another store to purchase my additional pieces of Mother Hubbard’s furniture.

So all customers regardless of what they are spending should be treated the same by all companies.  It is better for the consumer and for the business they need to recognize that you never know where that small purchase will lead.  Fierce loyalty by a consumer, where they will spend more just to shop with you if they need to, only comes from providing excellent experiences for your customers each and every time.  To summon my inner Julia Roberts, to not do this would be a “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”



Where did our manners go?

As I was pulling out of a drive through restaurant yesterday, after a brief exchange the older woman leaned out the window and warmly told me to stay warm out there with a smile.  A brief encounter but I felt this woman’s kindness and genuine caring coming though.  As I pulled out I began to ponder why had that struck me and why did it frequently happen to my husband and I?  You see we have restaurants we go to where the servers try to get our table, at retail locations I shop the associates come over as soon as I walk in to stop and say “hi” and ask how things are going (I may not have shop there a lot or have bought anything in months).  So why is that I wondered that I can have such a warm experience almost every time I go out.

I think part of it is that we always are polite to the associates we come in contact with.  Even when ordering though a speaker we are always there with our please’s and thank you’s so that by the time we get up to the window the associate is killed with kindness.  Even on the occasions when they are obviously flustered and maybe having a bad day we are still super polite.  I have noticed in awe that at times they seemed so shocked and surprised that someone is polite to them.  That made me wonder when we all stopped being so polite.    I say this because I have experienced the other side of this.

I recently in the last 6 months decided to take a retail position at one of my favorite stores.  A store by the way where I would frequent, even though I didn’t buy most times, but was friendly with the associates to the point that the manager offered me a job with them.  So I took the job, in the hard to get into store, so I would have a chance to get out of the house a couple of times a week and have fun with people.  One of my favorite things to do is shop and now I got to do just that and even more than get paid to do it I now got an amazing discount on my favorite clothing line for my family and I.  I tell you this because I do my job for fun and I look forward to going into work and yet even I can leave feeling frustrated when I get home.

I realized that as I was driving away from the fast food place that I may be one of the people that makes it nice to go into work because lets face it people can be mean.  My favorite customers that come into the store aren’t necessarily the ones that spend the most but the ones that are nice and polite.  I think sometimes people think that because that associate is being paid to help them that they should have to ask them with a polite “please” but rather tell them since in essence we work for them.  I frequently find a sense of entitlement amongst the people who come into the store.  No let me give you a bit of background.  It is my goal to give every customer a great experience and leave smiling.  Whether they buy anything or not.  I go to work for fun so I want the customer to have fun.  It’s shopping!  I go to frequent trainings and read lots of books in the area of improvement, primarily for my other industry, and one of my favorite is a book called The Collapse of Distinction by Scott McKain.  I picked this up after hearing him speak and I suggest that if you ever have the opportunity to hear him, go!  So while I do believe there are bad associates out there, I am not really sure anyone sets out to not take care of customers and to an extent I think we have a chicken and egg thing here.  I believe that if we are polite and friendly and use the associates name you will indeed end up having more positive experiences as a customer.

I know from my experience the days I come home feeling frustrated are on the days where I have one to many customers who are condescending and rude.  My favorite example of that is when one of the people I went to college with came in and I swear took pleasure in ordering me around and left her fitting room full of clothing wadded up on the floor.  Maybe that is how she always is but she did make a comment about what I was doing working here. I told her because enjoy it and it allows me to be home with one of my favorite people, my son.  But, it doesn’t matter if I chose to leave a career and work there or not.  Or that I took the job for fun and don’t need it for the money.  Would it make me any less worthy of politeness if that was the job I had to do?

I think thats the part that really struck me.  When we are dealing with people does it matter why that person works there or that they are any less of a person simply because the job pays less an hour than what you make?  Maybe it is also the area I live in that tends to be more affluent but I would be willing to bet this goes on across the country.  My good friend who is a psychologist and I were talking about it one the phone the other day and said “wow they must be really unhappy”.  I say that because if you’re the one working you have to know it isn’t about you, that customer does that because they feel it is the way they will feel better about themselves. In contrast if you are a customer who feels like customer service has just gotten horrible these days and everywhere you go the sales associates are terrible, I would humbly make a suggestion that you take a step back and see if you might be contributing to your experience.  Make an effort to be polite to everyone you come in contact with, if you need something ask politely for it, say thank you, and if possible use their name.  You might be surprised at what you find.


So I have a few confessions for you today.

#1 I have not unpacked a single box today.  I just don’t know what the deal is but I am so over moving.  I know there is still hope it is only 4 PM but still I feel a little like a slacker.  I just needed some down time, a little me time if you will.  We have been crazy busy and I am struggling with picking out the paint and carpet for my sons room.  My hubby kind of gives a shrug and no opinion so I am sort of on my own with it.  We are going with grey carpeting and yellow walls.  It is a large room so I think with the color combo I can probably get away with a darker shade of grey and hope that it will tone down the yellow.  There are just way to many shades of yellow and  grey and it all feels like such a commitment.  My husband wanted to do blue on the walls but I felt like a soft yellow would be more neutral.  Then if we choose to change the bedding as he grows from his crib (yes still in a crib he hasn’t tried to crib out and for now it works but we will probably transition it soon) or his toddler bed, to the full size bed.  And yellow just really sets off the cherry color of the wood.  He is also obsessed with Cars and so for now I have a feeling that will be the theme, that is until I can get him into something different but I will probably let him pick out something from Pottery Barn when we change it to the full size bed.  Any opinions form you guys?

#2  I am feeling like a horrible wife.  The hubby requested pot roast yesterday and with my mom in town for the night I opted for a Zucchini Lasagna that was a healthier and was delish although he said it needed meat.  Men.  I figured I would make pot roast for dinner tonight.  But with the snow and the little one I really didn’t even think about it until 3 and even though I have all of the ingredients there was no way it could cook for 4 1/2 hours and have it for dinner as we do normally eat before 8 pm.  So it will have to be tomorrow.  The reason I feel so bad about it is that he had this big job interview this morning for a new job that would be closer to home and would add to our income considerably and then he came and took our son off my hands for the afternoon and all he asked for was pot roast.  I have guilt here people and on top of that I now have no plan for dinner so it may very well be left overs.  See horrible wife.

#3 I have this little obsession.  Well it is more like a crush.  I am head over heals in love with James Blunt.  There I said it.  I listen to his music all the time and it never gets old.  I say this because his new album is on presale on iTunes when you order it you get one of the songs right away.   I did so today and have already listened to it 4, no wait it is playing now so that makes 5, times.  I have seen him in concert every time he has been in Michigan, I did miss one concert but it was him opening for Sheryl Crow and was outdoors and I was 9 months pregnant.  I don’t really think that counts.  I am anxiously awaiting the new tour and have told my husband that if he doesn’t come stateside we will be going to England to visit my friend Sarah and see him there.  The hubby is really a good sport about the whole thing and has gone to all these concerts with me.  Watching me turn to a blithering idiot and waiting outside in the cold to see him and have him sign a poster and my ticket.  I am planning on getting them all framed and putting them up in my office as artwork.  So what about you do you have a guilty pleasure or obsession?  If so please share below in the comments.

James Blunt

Well it is now after 4 and I have a dinner to think about.  I will try and let you how my evening turns out.  They say confession is good for the soul and I feel better already.  What about you folks, what is on your mind?  Do you have a deep dark secret you would like to share with the group? Come on you know we are dying to know. 😉

Giveaway! Taking Care of Yourself by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. (via Up Fit Creek)

I think this is a fantastic blog if you are interested in health and wellness and who doesn’t love a giveaway!!

Giveaway! Taking Care of Yourself by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape or form being compensated for this review by any party. I purchased this book with my own money. This is not a sponsored giveaway. My passions for healthy living and reading often cross paths. Most recently, this manifested itself in the form of an audiobook called Taking Care of Yourself by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.. In his work, Dr. Weil addresses everything from supplements to sleep, from exercise to macronutrient … Read More

via Up Fit Creek

Wow Time Flys!

Has it really been six months since my last post. I guess I am a little new to this whole blogging thing.

A lot has happened in the last six month.  Have had some self discovery and also moved to a new house.

I don’t know if you are like me but I feel the need to do all of this research before I begin a project and find myself getting held up in some sort of holding pattern feeling like I can’t possibly do anything unless I have all the information I could possibly need before I begin.  While this can be a good thing at times I feel it holds me back and then I find myself not getting into the most important step and part of life, which is ACTION!

I swear i have done all this blog research trying to figure out the best way of doing it and in the mean time not actually writing anything.  I presently have 3 blogs going, all the same, all the same content info etc. just done with three different methods.  So I guess the decision I have made is to just start writing and see where it goes.  If I find I have readers on a particular page I’ll focus on the that method but until then I just need to write.  Do you blog?  If so what do you use? WordPress, Blogger, iWeb something else?

I am a more or less recent Mac convert and I absolutely love it but didn’t like that if I use my mobile me it showed my full name.  I guess I am just not ready from a privacy standpoint to see how exposed I want to make myself.

So the new house is great but there is so much work to be done.  Boxes that need to be unpacked, furniture shuffled etc till it feels more like home.  My favorite part of the house so far is my new home office.  I just see this being my most used room.  My two year old would tell you it is the finished basement where he has his playroom set up.  Big area to play especially in the cold Michigan winters we have.  I am happy to say there is an elliptical machine down there that I plan to get to know very well.  I do wish I ha a treadmill though as just before I broke my foot this summer (totally another story) I had learned to love running.

I also got a Kindle for the holidays.  My new favorite item that my lovely husband actually gave me back in August because I found out about it and he couldn’t make me wait.  I tell you what since I got that I have read so many books.  I have to admit my first thing was to give in to my guilty pleasure and read every single one of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series.  Now I just need to crack down and read my self development and business books.  While not as steamy they will help me to get my head in the game and stay focused on what is important.  So what are you favorite books?  What is you favorite guilty pleasure book and what book has had the biggest impact on your business or self?  I will tell you some of my favorite authors in that category are definitely Scott McKain, John Maxwell and Jack Canfield.

Well, folks I promise it won’t be six months before you hear from me again one of my goals is to be sure and write at least 2-3 times a week or more so we will see.  hold me to it and send me a tweet if I am slacking!