I went to Pavilions / Vons tonight to get balloons for my boy’s birthday morning. 10pm entry. Sign on the door says they’re open until midnight.
Very few patrons in the place – two in line, maybe. This is the Newport Beach Pavilions by Bonita Canyon. 7+ workers, one on the cash register, one bagging groceries. Several others about.
Knowing that I’m going to buy a few other things, I go straight to the cashier and box boy to get some balloons filled up while I shop (btw – I worked in a market as a jr high kid and hs freshman, so I know how cruddy retail can be).
The cashier and box boy tell me to go pound sand in no uncertain terms.
I start to leave and then ask them for their manager (I’m on the hook for birthday wake-up morning, remember). They make the call for Terii or Terrii. Lots of extra letters.
Terrii doesn’t show up, but someone else does. She’s very helpful and see’s that I’m ticked. This balloon thing is one of our traditions, so I’ve done this quite a bit over the years. I’ve seen 6am produce people fill em up.. cashiers, mangers, the whole crew. They usually make it work. Especially when there’s no one in the store.
I offered to do the balloons myself tonight. The box boy, btw, said he didn’t know how to do it. I scoffed, probably shouldn’t have.
The manager woman who eventually filled up the balloons was a true hero / heroine. That has to be said. She was great. Shoulda got her name.
Anyway – I get the balloons, thank said manager profusely, and head to check-out with my other items.
By this time, Terrii is the one at the cashier. She’s checking me out. As I’m sliding my card through the reader, the manager woman walks by. I’ve got balloons over my head, btw. What does Terrii say to the manager as she passes by?. . . “I can’t believe you filled up these balloons for this guy.”
I was stunned. I freak stared the supervisor Terrii and left the place in a bewildered haze.
As I was shopping, I kept thinking that maybe I’m the NB a-hole. Preventing these people from a clean getaway when their shifts change. But I was there 2 hrs before closing. And I was thinking about how it was one of those critical retail moments that create customers/fans for life – a father getting balloons for his son’s birthday wake-up moment.
There was a moment there when they could have been superheroes, recovering from the initial blow off and coming full force with super service. Instead I’m writing this.
I don’t really expect extraordinary things from average retail . . but with all this word of mouth (WOM) social media stuff, I thought the world might be shrinking a little and retailers changing.