The front door was open to the almost always gorgeous San Diego weather and her welcome was as sunny as the sky. The first thing she asked my sister when she picked up the perforated leather mule was “What size can I get you in those?” She brought back more than just that single pair, offering the sensible reason that these were similar…. just in case. She was masterful – she paid close attention and listened to our discussion of what to wear with these, she asked appropriate questions – interjecting only information about the shoes that was helpful. Jill selected 2 styles for herself, and the shoes I found were out of stock, but available in another store. I didn’t want to wait for them but I did request arch supports for my boots. Bessie brought 2 pair – beige and black and I took both. She straddled the space among the three of us and waited on our sister in law, finding shoes for her that were sexier than usual and more expensive than ever… and Connie said yes, with a caveat. One of the pair was slightly faded and could a perfect match be found? Yes, in another store. The challenge was that Connie was leaving for a trip up the coast the next day and her shoes would need to be shipped to her home across the country, a savings of state sales tax but a shipping fee of $12. Jill asked if that fee could be waived given that the error was the stores, and the response was the (un)expected ‘it’s our policy.’ The tipping point arrived and the sale teetered, briefly but palpably. Total – 3 pairs of savory shoes. Until now the experience was extraordinary – engaging, knowledgeable, adding more to the sale than requested. And now, at the culmination, for a slice of a second and less than 3% the total purchase, the seller stood firm. They got the $12 and the 3 pair sale, because of the generosity of the buyers and not because their way of managing the concern was skillful or as caring as their selling had been. And what might have ended on a sweet note had a vaguely sour finish…. leaving the experience of the experience not where it was magical, but where it ended.
Until next time!