It is not every day that I walk out of a store almost in tears. Actually I am not sure that I have ever done that. Even a good sale does not make me cry. This evening was very different and I felt a deep sense of care from the manager at the Tigard, OR Target.
They were spread about six feet wide on the middle shelf, all sorts of colors, and I chose all the red ones. The sale tag spread and repeated six different time read $2.70. These were definitely going to fit into my budget. I had tried to find something just as cute, but each time the price was well over $10.00. Since I had found the stockings, I was going to take the time to fill them. Piggy backing on Black Friday, this later Monday evening.
When I got up to the counter they charged me a $1.00 more per stocking that what I expected. I kindly said that these were $2.70. She rang up the amount again, and it denied any price that I had mentioned. She called over the store manager who explained that they were a different price. The store manager than called in a price check from a store clerk who radioed back that they were $1.00 more that what I was stating as the price. I smiled and allowed them to ring me out, as there were others in line. I then said, I would rather be wrong and slightly embarrassed that lose out on $10.00. So I parked my cart and went to the back corner of the store to check. There I met the clerk who had radioed in the correct price.
I looked at the display and said, clearly these are marked $2.70. How did you not radio this to the manager. He smiled and said, “if you match up the item numbers you will see that they are just in the wrong place.
Okay now, so you are telling me that as a customer I am to find the fine print and line up item numbers when clearly these two rows all read the same price. I said I understand your point, but if it was one or two priced wrong I would smile and walk away, but you have a six feet wide display and two shelves with this price of $2.70 splashed across it. He smiled and radioed the manager that I had items from that shelf, like the other hundred or so items. He said he was going to change the display, so I took a picture of it before I walked back, all the way to the front of the store.
I then found the manager and showed her my picture. She challenged me. I sincerely, under my breath started to pray that I would just smile and be patient and kind. She walked at a faster clip that I could keep up with, back to the very back corner of the store. Just smile Elizabeth and be nice. She just came off of Black Friday weekend… these are my thoughts and truly I kept being happy and cheery.
When she saw that the clerk was in the middle of changing the display, she then explained that, “if you match up the item numbers you will see that this is the wrong price.” I said, “I understand the items numbers match up, but it’s not my job to match up item numbers, read that tiny print, and then discern it’s sale price. As you customer I see $2.70 splashed across these two rows more than ten times I am going to take my stockings and go.” I then said, “I am sorry to cause some grief over these, I realize and understand you have a job. I think I am more frustrated to have walked the entire depth of your store three times. I know it’s good for me.” She looked at me funny. Asked me to follow her to the front.
The store manager then said, “I am not sure what you call this, but your kindness has exposed my heart.” I have to admit I was a bit confused. She then went on to say, ” I have learned something with you, and I am so sorry to cause you all this trouble. I wanted to be right, because I am the manager, and that is wrong of me. I am so sorry.” She then asked me, “Why have you been so nice to me?” I thought, wow they must get some nasty people in this store, but she called me nice. My prayers of smiling and being patient did do some good, but what impressed me was her vulnerability. To speak her heart’s issue on this matter, that she said, does not make for a good manager, and I want to learn to be a better one, ” and I taught her through my kindness to be that. She deducted from bill the over payment on the stockings and gave me a free one.
How often do we extend grace and kindness when the cards are not in our favor? I really was not sure if I was wrong, but it was worth the $10.00 to find out. I truly did not want to make anyone’s job harder this evening, just the simple fact I had made purchase well over $130.00 dollars based on those little stockings. I ended up buying all the fun stuff to fill them. How often do we look into someone’s eyes and say, “I am so sorry, I did not do my job as a manager well, and I want to be a better manager.” That is what she told me. I wish I would have got her name. I would send her a stocking with a gift in it. Instead, I am writing hoping that one or two people who might read this will also want to be better. I know I do. In reading this it changes our hearts from the inside out, to be better people regardless of what side of the sales floor we are working on.
Thank you Target Manager from Tigard, OR for taking time to apologize and recognize that there is always room to grow and learn. You touched my heart and if you knew where these stockings were going you would know that they will bless the heart of others too. You amaze me.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays-Elizabeth Traub