Last weekend, I took my teenage daughter into Lowe’s with me to pick up a new hedge trimmer. A handsome twenty-something clerk offered to assist and was very helpful in making the right selection. But as I was picking up the trimmer he said something odd, “You know, you could just do your job and return the trimmer later. All you have to do is tell us that it didn’t work correctly and we will take it back.”
I have to say that I was more than a bit surprised. That thought had never entered my head. At first I was thinking, either I am really naïve and people do this all the time, or this guy is somehow trying to impress my daughter! Sensing a teaching moment, I said, “Well, I won’t be doing that, because that would be stealing.”
Further, I said, “You know, years ago when I was much younger, I bought my first new car, and when I received my new license plate in the mail I took a razor blade to the inside rear windshield to take the temporary tag off. The tag had been glued to the windshield, and at the time, I couldn’t come up with a better way to take it off. Well, I scraped right through the rear window defrost mechanism, ruining it in the process.”
“Upset with myself, and not knowing what else to do, I took it to the dealer and told them what had happened. After the guys had a good laugh at my expense, they said they would check with the company to see what they could do. They noted that nobody had ever come in with that kind of honest story before. Well, the car company replaced my rear windshield. The only reason they did this, according to the dealer, was because I had told the truth.”
We always have a choice to make. Whether selling a solution to a potential customer, or dealing with a clerk in a store, or returning something for whatever reason, be completely honest. In the long run, things always work out better that way. And, others are always watching and learning from you and learning about you!