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Never, Ever Mess with a Safeway School Graduate!

Last night I needed to pick up a few groceries and at the last minute, before leaving the house, I remembered something that I would usually forget.

I needed to return two items to the store for credit.

These were bottles of the same wine which I had bought on sale. One was corked and about 90% full, and the other was unopened.

When I bought them they were priced at $9.88, discounted deeply from $24.99. So, I figured they had to be good, right?

Wrong. The contents were inferior to Charles Shaw's wine, also known as "Two Buck Chuck," a very popular Cabernet Sauvignon sold by Trader Joes at $1.99 a bottle.

I walked into the grocery store and plunked down the offending bottles along with my receipt and said, "I'm going to need a credit on these, and I'll be back after I've shopped."

The clerk snapped back, "Well, I don't know if WE CAN offer a refund on wine!"

"Yes you can!" I jovially countered, not missing a step on my way to the ice-cream bars.

Of course, her seat-of-the-pants concern that the store might offend me by not refunding my money, bothered me as I scooted down the aisles in pursuit of a handful of items I needed to prepare dinner.

"Wouldn't that be a screwball customer service policy?" I mused. And then it hit me:

THIS STORE IS IN THE SAFEWAY FAMILY-THEY'RE COMMITTED TO A GUARANTEE OF SATISFACTION ON EVERY ITEM!

How did I know this?

I worked for Safeway! It was one of my jobs during the first year of college, and to qualify as an employee, I had to attend Safeway School, which lasted a week or two.

At the end was an exam and the SATISFACTION GUARANTEE was on it.

Suddenly buoyed by this memory and feeling a surge of credibility in being a Safeway alumnus, I completed my shopping in a particularly zippy, self-righteous mood, ready to verbally duke it out with that clerk that had alarmed me.

No need, as it turned out. Her manager gave me credit, simply insisting that I trade the value for two different bottles of wine.

No problem.

But there is a moral to this story for anyone who deals with customers.

Well, maybe two morals:

(1) You never know what the background is of your customer. He may have worked for your company, and could know more about its policies than you do; and (2) Don't needlessly alarm a customer before you know all the facts. The clerk shouldn't have expressed her doubts to me regarding the possibility of getting a credit for sour wine. Instead she should have called over her supervisor as I shopped, and asked her if it could be done.

Oh, and moral number (3) is this one: Never, ever mess with a Safeway School graduate!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top trainer, conference and convention speaker, sales, customer service, and negotiation consultant, and attorney. A frequent expert commentator on radio and TV, he is also the best-selling author of 12 books, more than 1,000 articles and several popular audio and video programs. His seminars are sponsored internationally and he teaches at more than 40 university extension programs, including UC Berkeley and UCLA. Gary's sales, management and consulting experience is combined with impressive academic credentials: A Ph.D. from USC, an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management, and a J.D. degree from Loyola Law School, his clients include several Fortune 1000 companies.

His web site is: http://www.customersatisfaction.com and he can be reached at: gary@customersatisfaction.com His blogs include: YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS! and ALWAYS COLD CALL! at: http://www.alwayscoldcall.blogspot.com

Source: www.articlecity.com