Service of Good Fortune

February 8th, 2016

Categories: Automobiles, Customer Care, Customer Service, Retail

Exemplary service is around if you’re lucky. It’s no surprise that most of it happens repeatedly in all the same places.

Milking it

Stopping for milk at the Dover Plains, NY Cumberland gas station on a Friday night there was only regular milk in the fridge in quarts. I brought one to the cashier and asked if she’d noticed any cartons of skim in the back and she asked me to wait a minute and dashed to look. She returned full of apologies saying that there was no skim or 1%. I was taken with her energy and sense of service. She could have so easily said, “No. Next!”

Note: Cumberland began its life as a dairy and it has morphed into a chain of convenience stores and gas stations.


Barry LangIn “Service of an Expert Salesman,” I wrote about Barry Lang [photo at left] of Audia Motors in Millbrook, NY, in April, 2013. He hasn’t lost his touch. We’re leasing another Malibu and he makes it so easy: He takes care of all the paperwork with  the insurance company and the Department of Motor Vehicles and even more. I wanted to give the car a whirl before signing up for a new one. As we left the showroom–it was a week before we were to pick up the car–Barry told us he’d enrolled us to receive a $50 Visa Gift Card from General Motors, a promotion the corporation was offering to anyone who takes a test drive. Barry says he reads this blog on occasion. The fact he even remembered that I wrote one is over and beyond.

Snow-no, Joe yes

Trader Joe's 14th StreetA few days after New York’s January blizzard I went downtown to stock up at Trader Joe’s on 14th street. Shelves were empty because trucks were snowed in at New Jersey and Pennsylvania warehouses. My cashier suggested I call before coming next time and two days later I did. The man who picked up listened to me and immediately transferred me to another person who asked me what I was looking for. I reeled off my list from olive oil, chips and jam to popcorn–and he asked me to wait a moment. When he returned—he wasn’t long–he said, “I raced around the store and we’ve got what you want.” Wow. 

Love the glow

I recently placed an online order that I was to pick up at the Uniqlo 5th Avenue store in NYC [photo below]. I was charmed by the automatic response at the end of the procedure: “We hope you are as excited as we are about your order XYZ. You should receive an email receipt soon, with love from UNIQLO.” When I arrived on the day after the January blizzard, I’d forgotten my order number. No problem, “what’s your name?” asked the attendant who checked a printed list and out came the package in a snap.

Have you had the good fortune to land on a positive, helpful, enthusiastic employee or company lately?

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6 Responses to “Service of Good Fortune”

  1. hb Said:

    This may sound boring, but when I receive good service, and I have plenty of times, I go back for more. I stick to the same doctors, the same restaurants, the same bank, even the same small hardware store. But, when I receive bad service, I never go back, even if it means paying more, or going out of my way, or even doing without.

    My Uncle Jimmy tells a story about my grandfather who lived many years in Italy, “When he found a good wine, he stuck to it.” He recalls loving the drives he took in the 1920s with him in the country to the small vineyard in the hills in back of and above Naples, where he would share a glass with the artisan vintner and stock up every month or two.

    I take my cue from my grandfather.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I tend to react as you do–except I love trying new restaurants so that while I like to return to old favorites, I also like to experiment. It’s the same with wine, though I tend to buy the same ones as I know which ones I like, among the cheapest that fit my budget, and can easily be disappointed by an unfamiliar inexpensive bottle. As I’ve often written here, the Griffone brand at Trader Joe’s is terrific for the price.

    In NYC, there’s so much choice that a business does itself a disservice to be rude. There are others lined up and anxious to take its place. If you live in a smaller town, even if you have access to a car, you don’t always have a choice. You can buy online much of what you need if local vendors turn you off. Two of the four examples I wrote about represent upstate businesses. There’s only one dry cleaner that I know about where we live upstate and Anita, who tends the branch I use, is great fun and always cheerful. I’m lucky. I may pass six dry cleaners on the short walk to work–two on the block where my office is. This competition doesn’t guarantee good service though.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    I once wondered aloud over the swift cooperation received from a local merchant known for giving customers a hard time. Perhaps you haven’t noticed “the edge in your voice,” my audience of one explained.

    It’s been years since the last unpleasant episode, when a supermarket manager insulted me in public. An immediate complaint to the store resulted in his not being seen again.

    Edge or no, I find businesses usually go out of their way to accommodate, if for no better reason that rudeness in today’s economic climate, can prove costly. Is this dumb luck? Whatever happens, I like to think that said edge won’t to rust.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I credit businesses that keep watch over the staff–it’s difficult to impossible to do especially if a business grows and only has so many top dogs.

    When one of my favorite grocery stores–Adams, a family owned business–opened a new branch near my nephew’s home upstate, we dropped in. At the nearest branch to our home almost all cashiers [over 20 years] have been great [except one I never again saw].

    Back to the then new branch. We were shockingly treated by the cashier and I contacted one of the Adams’ I’d written before to send links to blog posts that celebrated what I loved about them. I didn’t want his new branch to suffer with such an insufferable employee. I received an immediate response. We’ve been to three of Adams’ four branches and all have been superlative. My bet is that the young man we wrote about was not long at his post and followed out the door the one sour apple we landed on in two decades at the Poughkeepsie store.

    I hope that the owners of the businesses with great employees recognize and appreciate their efforts. I also know that I’m a Pollyanna.

  5. Judith Trojan Said:

    Believe it or not, I can’t say enough positive things about Discover Card reps. First of all, there have been no long waits or chains of command when I call. You also know where they’re located as well: The U.S.A. So there are no language issues. And, best of all,the reps are always pleasant; and my business with them is quickly and efficiently completed and confirming e-mails are sent immediately. Bravo, Discover Card!

  6. jeanne byington Said:


    Kudos to Discover! Great to know and glad to hear this.

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