posted Sat, 21 May 2005
At the frozen yogurt store, after I had sampled several of the real ice creams, I decided I was not going to undo all those PE classes just for the fleeting pleasure of ice cream, so reverted to the original plan of yogurt, which I know is not much better, but hey, every little bit helps and I will neutralize it with diet Coke anyhow.
I asked the teenaged clerk the difference between the 96% fat-free frozen yogurt and the sugar-free yogurt.
“The 96% fat-free is 96% fat free and the sugar free doesn’t have any sugar in it,” she explained.
Taking a deep breath and unclenching my teeth, I smiled and asked as politely as I could (which I’m afraid was not very), “What is the difference between the two that I cannot read for myself?”
At this point another clerk jumped in and said that although he didn’t know the difference in the ingredients – Splenda, perhaps? – it was taste that mattered and would I like a sample? Oh, and on that large? Oh, I only want a small? Sure about that? OK, well, on that small, would I like some nuts? How about some chocolate chips?
When I was putting together Jenny’s birthday package, I wanted to include a coupon for a pizza. (Said pizza to be put in the refrigerator, then consumed cold at 3:00 a.m.) I went to Papa John’s for a pizza card. The cards are available on the website, but you pay a $7 handling fee for a $20 card.
At the store, there were six employees behind the counter. I was the only customer. $20 in my hand. When I told the clerk what I wanted, she said it would be at least 15 minutes. I can’t wait that long, I told her, and walked out.
When I told the story to Jenny, she said, “That made you nuts, didn’t it? That she didn’t take an ownership attitude?”
“Exactly!” I answered. “Her attitude was that she was paid to stand there a certain number of hours and that was it. Whether a customer left satisfied or not didn’t matter. She’s not the owner. She doesn’t care if Papa John’s makes a profit or not.”
You can tell which of these kids are going to advance and which are not. I’ll bet Sam Walton would never have told me to wait 15 minutes for a pizza card.