A little customer service gratitude this holiday season

Yesterday was A. Day.

The kind where the drive home was a rumination of all the things I should’ve said, plus regret for the mediocre donut while wondering why students don’t read, and why people can’t drive efficiently, and why the emails never stop, and why I have to go to the dang grocery store on the way home.

Given my state of mind, I stopped home for some puppy mood elevators before setting out for Costco. I enjoyed a miraculously mellow shopping experience, in and out the door in less than 25 minutes, despite piling up a full cart. And when I got said full cart out to my car, a young man wrangling carts stopped to see if I needed help loading heavy items. We chatted for a few minutes, and I left having caught his bright smile.

As I drove away, I thought about how that young man’s positive attitude and assistance livened my day, so I called Costco. The conversation went like this…

Costco Person, cheerful: “Hi, this is Dottie (pseudonym), how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, can I please speak to a manager?”

Dottie, now noticeably cool: “I am the manager.”

Me: “I just left the store, and there was a young man in the parking lot wrangling carts, I think his name was Henry (pseudonym) but I’m not sure…” I went on to describe him as late teens/early 20s, black, about 5’10.

Dottie says nothing, but I can somehow hear her hunkering down over the phone.

Me: “I just wanted to say how wonderful Henry was.”

Dottie, letting out a big breath, sounds pleasantly surprised/relieved.

Me: “He stopped what he was doing to help me. He went out of his way and had such a cheerful attitude and bright smile. It made my day and I just wanted to let his manager know he was doing a great job.”

Dottie tells me how much they love Henry and how she’ll write a note of appreciation for his file and tell his boss, etc. etc.

I drove home wondering what Dottie was expecting me to say. My gut says she was anticipating a complaint with a side of racism, but who knows.

As I think about how many complaints versus compliments managers get this time of year, I’m resolving to increase my expressed appreciation.  It’s not much, but I think floating a little more gratitude might help temper the crazy that seems to have taken over lately. We’ll see.


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