The World According to Renee

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Fifteen Cents

Yesterday a customer bought two doughnuts and was 15c short of the total. I said that was OK, no one was going to shoot me over fifteen cents. He laughed and replied, “You obviously don’t own the company!”

This morning I bought a bottle of water and was 15c short (the cost had increased since the last time I bought it from there). The cashier laughed and said it was OK (I’m a regular customer there) but I wandered back a few minutes later with the remaining fifteen cents.

Why did I do that? I don’t like being in debt, I know their company is a lot more strict on cash variances than mine, I’m honest and didn’t want to have a measly fifteen cents on my conscience, knowing the coins were in my purse.

Why didn’t I care about the 15c missing from my own till? I knew no one was going to question me over that fifteen cents. That’s about it, really. But it got me thinking- when did we get so focused on money that we forget the simple kindness of letting someone have something they couldn’t quite afford?

That customer’s comment has stuck with me for the last couple of days: “You obviously don’t own the company.” Well, no, I do not. Maybe Mr Doughnut does mind. I remember my deli supervisor saying to me once that every piece of ham I throw away is money out of the owner’s pocket. Maybe I should take better care of the stock to make the Big Wigs richer while I earn the same money no matter how much I sell. Maybe I should care about money; what if I were the Big Wig and my staff were giving away the stock for an unauthorised discount?

Pondering those questions, I have to say that I would rather have a happy customer return to my store than turn away an unhappy customer because they were a few cents short. I read a study a few years ago which concluded that 75% of people will tell their friends about a bad shopping experience, but only 10% of people will tell their friends about a positive experience. My happy customer may not tell his friends that he got away with discounted doughnuts, but he will return.


October 10, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. My cousin has been going to the same petrol station, a couple of blocks from her house, for 5yrs, and buys about $85 worth of petrol a fortnight. She recently filled her car then when she went in to pay she realised her husband had her only bank debit card.

    She offered the cashier her wallet, with licence and other ID inside whilst she went home to get the card – the cashier told her bluntly that filling her car without the money to pay was stealing and if she left the premises they would call the cops!!! She had her 5yo son and 3yo daughter with her and was absolutely mortified! She called her husband (who’d just gone to sleep after a 12hr nightshift at a mine!) and he walked to the petrol station with her card. She says it was one of the most uncomfortable 15min of her life.

    Beth wrote a very eloquent but strongly worded e-mail to the regional manager of the petrol company (a large multinational) demanding a written apology. She received a form letter saying it was their company policy, no apology.

    So she rallied her local friends and family and church members (in the thousands!) and they sent a group letter to the company, cc’d to the local paper, stating that none of them would ever purchase products from this petrol company again! It caused quite a ruckus locally, and she eventually did get her written apology, from the national CEO of said company!! But too late.

    Moral of the story – try to be nice to the customers! (And never piss off someone who goes to one of those big happy-clappy churches!)


    p.s I would have gone back with the 15c too.

    Comment by Megan Campbell | October 11, 2010 | Reply

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