Earlier this week, those of us who watch early-morning news on television were riveted by a drama at a ski resort. A five-year-old girl slipped off the chair lift and was dangling perilously above the mountain, held aloft by a ski instructor seated next to her who’d grabbed the hood of her pink jacket. The ski patrol sprang into action, and caught the girl as she fell, unharmed, into a tarp they’d unfurled underneath the lift.
Her parents, though, weren’t exactly thankful for the heroism. Instead, they angrily complained in a television interview about “a lack of information” from the resort. Somewhere, I’m sure there’s a slavering pack of lawyers licking their lips at the money-making prospects in this incident.
I’m outraged. Seriously. This family was lucky. First, a capable ski instructor reacted instantly to catch a falling child. Then, well-trained rescue workers dashed to the scene. A tragedy was averted. Still, the family found reason to publicly criticize the resort. To me, that’s ingratitude.
Why does this incident sting me so much?
At FCG, we pride ourselves on superb customer service. From our salespeople to our delivery guys, everyone is expected to go the extra mile for our customers. Which they do frequently and without question. But from time to time, a customer will test the limits.
A couple of weeks ago, a woman bought a piece of art from one of our stores. She left angry because she hadn’t managed to wrangle an additional discount off the print, which was already an excellent value. When she got home, she hung the art improperly and it fell, smashing the frame. She raced back to the store in a rage and demanded we repair the art she’d broken.
What’s gone wrong in our society? Nearly a century ago, business visionaries adopted the motto “the customer is always right.” When did that concept get so distorted?
Even L.L. Bean, legendary for its customer service, has thrown in the towel. Earlier this year, the Maine retailer announced a change to its famously generous lifetime returns policy.
Turns out, people were abusing the company’s generosity, buying old products at yard sales or plucking them from the trash, then returning them for cash or new items. Bean said such fraud has doubled in the last five years. Bean’s CEO concluded: “The numbers are staggering. It’s not sustainable … not reasonable … not fair.”
At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we work hard to ensure your satisfaction. Yes, problems happen from time to time and we always try to take the high road. Like L.L. Bean, I’m making a stand for things reasonable and fair. We’re all at our best when both sides exhibit respect, patience and understanding.
And if someone saves your child from death or devastating injury, express your heartfelt gratitude, shed a few tears – and say no more.