No Sale!

Tonight I went with my wife shopping to replace some appliances.  It is the first time I’d been shopping since last Christmas.  We had done our homework on the items we have to replace by using Consumers Reports and talking with others who are using the products we are considering.

The sales personnel  were friendly, helpful and well informed.  I like that when we wanted to consider what they recommended and our list they did not pressure us but said, “Take your time, if you need us, we’re here.”

As always Becky has to look at all of them and we looked up a couple of other machines on CR.  After informing our salesman of our decision, he was sincerely disappointed to have to say it was the incorrect price.  There wasn’t an expiration date on the tag and it was a large sign describing the machines prominently affixed at eye level.

Our salesman would have to get the store manager’s approval.  I thought no problem.  I’ve worked in retail and knew that the manager would have to sign off on it.  Imagine my surprise when the manager refused to honor the price.  He was polite but said, “I can’t do it.”  Perhaps he doesn’t have the authority, it was plain that he was uncomfortable.  He looked me in the eye when I was speaking but looked away when he explained the store’s policy of not honoring the sales tag.

Needless to say, we’re disappointed but we are also glad that there are other merchants in the area.  I wasn’t angry but it didn’t seem right to have spent an hour in the store, looking the product up and discussing it, only to be told it would cost us more.

The salesman afterwards said, “Sir, I thought you handled that very well.”  We talked a bit more about the times we are living in.  I asked him about the source of his strength.  He told me it was his faith and his family.  I’m glad, I didn’t spew out my disappointment.  That’s good for relationships.  But it doesn’t change the bad store experience.

I wonder if that amount of good will is worth the little it would have cost them.  Good will, good reputation and future business relationships are extremely valuable.  Machines wear out and have to be replaced.  Memories of good business relationships and bad ones last a long time.

Now, I’m curious, I came up and wrote a polite email to the company with my side of the story.  I expressed appreciation for the business we have done in the past with them and look forward if this is resolved to doing business in the future.  By the way, I don’t ever threaten to damage a business’ reputation.  Neither do I tell them, I’ll never do business with them again.

We went to the next store and the salesperson told us if you can wait until tomorrow we will be offering a sale price on the same product.  He was just eager as helpful and wanted to make a sale.  I appreciated him saying, “Wait until tomorrow you’ll save money.”

Your word matters. Even if it costs you a bit, honor it, bite the bullet, learn from your mistake and move on.

Would you have purchased the machine?

If you were the store would you change your policy?

Would you have handled this differently?

If you have some tips, I’m listening?

Grace, Peace and Joy!


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