Lori, my wife, walked in the house the other day after dropping the kids off at school and handling a few errands. By the look on her face, I can see she was obviously annoyed about something.
“How’s your day going?” I asked.
“Good! But I have to tell you I just don’t understand how some of these businesses can operate the way they do and still stay in business,” she responded. My wife has a great business mind and is super insightful so I knew this was worth exploring.
“What happened?” I inquired.
“I went into one of the local retail clothing stores down the block, looking to by a shirt. I happened to have a coupon for 25% that could be applied off your next purchase. I quickly found what I wanted and proceeded to the cashier. When I went to pay, I was looking forward to enjoying the savings. However, the cashier quickly informed me that she couldn’t honor this coupon. Once I inquired as to why she couldn’t, she told me that, pointing to the small print on the back of the coupon, this coupon couldn’t be used today but could only be used during the days it blocked out on the back of the coupon. And those three days that I would be able to use the coupon are three days next week. Not today.”
“Well, I’m here now. Do you think you can honor this coupon?” Lori kindly inquired.
“No,” stated the cashier. “You can use it next week, though.” (Oh how encouraging! Yippee. I’ll take more time out of my already busy schedule to come back to re-visit with you, around your terms, when it works for and is convenient for you, rather than visit with the other dozens of stores I can walk in.”)
“Thanks, but that doesn’t really help me out today.”
Not even an, “I am so sorry for the inconvenience,” or a “Wait, let me check with my boss. Maybe we can do something for you.” Nope; none of that stuff which would have been the smart business practice that might make a customer feel just a tad more important rather than the message my wife heard which sounded like, “Well, we really just don’t care about our customers, making them happy or whether or not you buy from us. These are our rules and it just doesn’t work for us to honor this coupon today. So feel free to shop elsewhere.”
So, Lori left and I’m proud to report she did not buy from that store. Instead she left, with unused coupon and all, and went to another store that she walked right over to. She didn’t even need to get back into her car to drive there.
Now, Lori did not have a coupon from this store that she could apply on her next purchase. She did, however find what she was looking for. But then, something strange, something peculiar, something extraordinary happened next. When she picked the shirt she wanted and went to check out, the cashier happily informed her, “Wait, we have a 15% coupon out in the mail this week. Did you happen to have it?”