Every morning before dropping
my 10-year-old daughter off at school, we drop by the local convenience
store and pick up a donut and something to drink.
The sun may be shining, birds chirping,
the scent of a fresh, wonderful day in the air. We bring our morning treat
up to the cash register, happy to be alive, and run smack into Grizelda, the
surliest cashier to ever walk the earth.
"Good morning!" I sing,
thrilled at the prospects of the coming day.
No answer. She silently rings up the few
measly items and announces the total. I hand her the money and she
mechanically counts back the change.
"Thank you!" I gush, knowing
the donut was now all mine and I would be devouring it momentarily.
No answer. Grizeldaís eyes move to the
next in line. She quickly rings up their purchase, announces the amount and
sticks out her chubby little hand.
My daughter and I walk out of the store, the
day slightly less bright than it was before we entered.
Customer service. Grizelda, an employee
in her early 20ís, has no clue what it means. And that means neither does
its owners and management.
Consider this: I spend about $3 every
school day in the convenience store where Grizelda works. Thatís $15 per
week, approximately $600 per school year. If I continue doing it for all my
kids over the years, I could easily buy $10,000 worth of coffee, doughnuts
and juice in that den of depression.
I could also weigh 372 pounds, but thatís
As a customer, I have a lifetime value
that few businesses appreciate. If I can be worth $10,000 to a convenience
store, think of my value to a grocery store, or better yet, a fast food
Office of Consumer Affairs statistics
reveal 68 percent of all customers who do not return to a particular
business do so because they perceive an attitude of indifference or
They must have met Grizelda in other
forms. So far, I have continued to return to the convenience store where she
works for one reason and one reason only Ė itís convenient.
If there was an option, Iíd take it in
a second. Since my lifetime value as measured in morning donuts has many
years and dollars and pounds yet to go, I would certainly shop around for a
place that appreciates my business.
But with nowhere else to go, at least for
the moment, Iím forced to deal with Grizelda. Thatís why my daughter and
I embarked on a quest last week to see if she was human.
"Good Morning!" I chirped as
she rang up our coffee and donuts last Monday.
"$2.93," replied Grizelda,
On Wednesday, we brought Barney the
Dinosaur with us and my daughter and I sang the Barney theme song: "I
love you, you love me, weíre a happy family."
"$2.93," replied Grizelda, hand
Thursday we went all out. My daughter
dressed up in her gorilla costume and I came in a dress and high heels, full
make up and a lampshade on my head.
"Good Morning!" I sang in my
highest octave as my daughter growled and jumped up and down.
"$2.93," replied Grizelda, hand
We walked out, thoroughly beaten. The
woman had the personality of a slug, the mannerisms of a robot. Nothing
could warm her, nothing could make her crack a smile.
By Friday we had given up. We entered in
a somber mood, got our donuts and drinks and shuffled to the counter for our
daily beating from Grizelda.
"Hi." she said.
We were stunned. We both said
"Hi" back but immediately worried whether she heard us.
"$2.93," she said hand
She had said "Hi" to us. She
was our friend. I had to please her. The only thing I could think of was to
hand her exactly $2.93, which I did, saving her from making change.
"Thank you," she said, a tiny
smile (although weíre still debating) forming on the right side of her
"Thank you!!!" my daughter and
I cried in unison as we skipped out of the store. "And see you on