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