Last Saturday I was at Costco running some errands on my own, which is quite a feat while on crutches but it makes me feel a little normal and independent. Of course the weekends are a TERRIBLE time to go to almost any big box store but even more so when it’s raining, just before lunch time, and there are big football games in the afternoon! I prepared myself for a challenging experience full of slow and people in it for the samples and only concerned with themselves.
Like always, I went with my list and aggressive plan to get in and out of there and get back to the weekend. I didn’t wait too long for a handicap parking spot and then hopped into the store and BOOM – there were no scooters available. There was one man there already waiting for one so I took a deep breath and just decided to relax and knew that I would get one soon and leaned against the photo counter to help me balance.
I start chatting with the other guy waiting and his story is completely terrifying and I’m only half in the mood to deal with being chatty to be totally honest but we’re both there alone waiting on scooters so I engage tentatively. After 5 minutes this nice woman, who was loading up some photos for printing from her phone, spots a scooter exiting and then walks over to let an employee at the door know so that they can bring it back since we’re both waiting. This of course pretty instantly changes my mood and reminds me how nice complete strangers can be.
Employee returns, he gets on the scooter, and off he goes for his shopping. (Ahh some silence and really entertaining people watching.) Next an older gentleman approaches me and asks if I had a knee replacement and shows me his scar. “I only wish!” is my response, we chat for a few and he wishes me well in my recovery and I thank him and tell him that I hope my scars look as good as his one day.
At this point I’ve been waiting 10-15 minutes and my good leg is starting to get tired. I ask Anna at the front door if she has a chair that I can sit in while I wait since I’ve had to do this before. She gets one for me and I take a seat.
Not too long after I get a chair she goes on break and then Cynthia comes to check on me. Now I’ve seen her keeping an eye on me for a little while and checking with the two employees working the exit and scanning for a scooter without addressing me directly, so I am already assuming she’s a good employee and cares about people. However, when she comes over and talks to me the way she speaks to me, her level of compassion, and her concern and respect for my time absolutely floors me! At one point I jokingly tell her that maybe one of the guys should just push me around the store on a flat cart to get my shit and get out of there, she laughs and then asks me what all I need from the store.
I show her my shopping list in Nozbe, because I’m a total productivity nerd, and she’s says, “I could do that, you want to go?” Again, completely floored! I tell her how much I appreciate it and say that I’m no rush and that I’ll hang tight for a little bit longer before I take her up on it.
She continues to check in on me, asks me a little about myself, and shares some about herself. We learn that we get along because we’re both Taurus’ and difficult as hell typically. Anna also returns from her break and checks on me because she can’t believe I’m still there. She also shares that she has reached out to the store manager to make sure he’s aware that 5 of the 7 scooters are broken so there are only 2.
Cynthia has tracked one of them down and says they’re in the food court area and should be leaving soon. When they do leave, she walks the elderly woman out to her car, helps her load up, and then delivers the scooter to me. She then asks if I want her to help me shop since I’ve waited so long, I decline and thank her so much for everything.
I waited almost 45 minutes in total, trapped at the front of the store, and it could have been a terrible experience. I could have left. I could have yelled. I could have pouted or bitched. But I didn’t want to, I remained calm and this one employee, Cynthia, went out of her way to make me feel valued as a customer and establish a connection with me. She didn’t have to – it certainly isn’t part of the job of checking membership cards and “stickering” returns at the front door – but she did and it has changed my entire perception of the store and the people that work there.
What a great reminder that customer service does still exist and example of how one person has the ability to create either an amazing or a terrible experience for customers.
Thank you Cynthia and Anna for putting a smile on my face and going above and beyond, more people should follow your example!