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Sat, March 23

Friendly employee makes $1200 difference

I went shopping one day in Prescott Valley.

I had the happy problem of 135 use-them-or-lose-them paid time off hours at work, so I took a week to lounge around the house and play in the garden. On my list of leisurely things to do was visit a few establishments I'd seen as I raced by on the highway, but never had time to stop.

At the first rather large place of business I entered, I was the only one in the store. It was a relatively new business to our town, and offered some items I was sure I wanted for my home. Unfortunately, no one greeted me when I walked in the door. In fact, I didn't see anyone. When I did spot someone, they were talking with another person behind the counter. I made a nice comment about the contents of the store, and one of them gave me a brush-off look and returned to her conversation. Immediately turned off, I walked out. On my way out, the counter person deigned to say, "Thanks for coming in" in that kind of accusatory voice that said, "I knew you wouldn't buy anything." Right the first time.

I tell this story because I'm going to make a big contrast here for business owners and employees. I had money that day. The next place I visited, and I'll name the store here, because they deserve it, was the Mattress Factory. The minute I walked into the warehouse-sized store, Linda Cook greeted me with a friendly hello, and several other people looked up and smiled. Now, granted, I know Linda from my years in PV. But she could have been tired that day. Seeing someone she knew, she could have relaxed and chatted and sent me on my way with what I came for, one queen-sized bed frame. But she didn't. She asked me if I'd seen the new kind of beds, invited me to try out the chairs, answered all my questions and then checked with her manager to see if they could work me a deal if I bought two items. I walked out of the Mattress Factory with the first brand new furniture I've ever purchased in my life, and not one but two bed frames, which I needed to furnish the guest room!

The bed was on sale, it's the best I've ever had, and I've slept more comfortably than I can remember in a long time. And the first place my guests migrate to in my living room is the new chair.

Wanna know what the difference was between my first experience and the Mattress Factory? About $1200 worth.

There are always two sides to every story, however, and therein lies another of my pet peeves. The other evening I stopped at the Texaco station on Highway 69. The clerk was having trouble with the money order machine, and desperately trying to maintain her cool as the line got longer and the machine more recalcitrant. A man came in, gave her $20, and asked her to turn on the pump so he could pump his gasoline. Right in the middle of her money machine problems and the lengthening line, this man came back in and rudely demanded to know if she was ever going to turn on the pump. She politely replied, "I'm very sorry sir, I haven't had a second to do it yet." He demanded his money back, which she graciously gave him with another apology. He huffed out, yelling that her apology wasn't enough and he was going to contact her manager. Probably would have killed him to wait five minutes to fill his car. I wanted to follow him out of the store and kick his tires. Or something else.

But I digress. Did a friendly greeting and someone who knew their product make a difference in my shopping experience that day in Prescott Valley? You bet it did.

Try smiling at your customers today. They might stay and spend some money.


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