Our thanks this month to guest blogger, Kathy Blumenstock. Kathy currently writes Animal Planet’s “The Mole” blog http://blogs.discovery.com/the_mole. A career journalist, she has been a reporter and writer for The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, NBC News and Entertainment Tonight. Kathy also contributes feature stories to Knitchmagazine.com and Knit ‘N Style magazine.
The Rolling Stones told us you can’t always get what you want. But I beg to differ with Mick and the guys. Sometimes you CAN—you just have to shop in the right place.
A weekend sale plus a discount coupon should add up to savings and satisfaction, right? I was poised to make the score, pick up that brand new printer-scanner combo and head for the cash register, and victory at the Big Box Store.
Except the shelves, filled with many other printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines, did NOT have one single box with the model I wanted, the one on sale, the one compatible with my new computer. Not ONE, and not even a form for a rain check. “When are you getting more of them in?” I asked the salesclerk. “No idea,” he said. “Maybe next week, maybe never. And the price may go up.” At least he was honest.
I asked another clerk to please check in the back, just in case a lone printer was hiding there. She was cheerful, if unable to help. “None,” she said, then glanced around before whispering, “Why don’t you go to to OtherMart? THEY carry it. And you can use the coupon.” Her voice dropped even lower. “My daughter got the same one there yesterday. Five dollars cheaper than here.” I felt like the shopper in “Miracle on 34th Street,” when the Macy’s salesman sends her to Gimbel’s to find the toy she’s seeking. Sending a customer to the competition?
Isn’t that the truest definition of Customer Service? The salesclerk wanted to help a frustrated shopper find what she sought, even if it was in another store. She served her customer, not the seller—oops, her employer. (And yes, I did get the printer. In the Other Mart. )
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