Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blue Shirt and Khakis

One day, a few years ago, a co-worker and I stopped at Office Max to pick up some labels for a mailer. From the moment we walked in the door the staff was all over us trying to help. A woman greeted me from across the printer desk 500 feet away asking if she could point me to what I needed. Everywhere we walked someone was ready to help. I was handed flyers. I was offered shopping carts. A manager hovered in the background following us around the store. I found myself becoming annoyed.

I mentioned to my co-worker that they must have been expecting a secret shopper evaluation. As we waited to check out, I noticed a delegation of five corporate looking managers entering the store. My co-worker laughed because they were all dressed in the exact same outfit that I was wearing: a blue shirt and khakis. Now, no one seemed very interested in showing us the love.

This experience reminded me of the great reversal Jesus talks about at several points throughout Matthew and Mark in the Bible. Those that thought they were first became last but those who were last became first. Or else it teaches, for a customer service business, that there is a fine line between smothering love and abandonment.

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