Yesterday, I received a phone call from my sister. She couldn’t find any of the Christmas presents that we gifted her family during the holidays. Apparently, they were all stuffed in a white plastic trash bag that literally got taken to the trash. The handmade Batman monogrammed towel for my nephew, the Thomas the Train puzzle for my other nephew, the winter baby clothes for my niece. Plus, many other holiday toys and goodies. They were all gone somewhere in a trash compactor.
All night, my family members blamed ourselves. My sister made the mistake of putting the gifts in a trash bag. My father made the mistake of leaving the bag outside with similar bags while packing the car. I made the mistake of actually throwing out the bag. We were all to blame.
Obviously, we recognized that throwing out Christmas gifts was not the worst thing in the world. Clearly, my nephews and niece didn’t need the toys. And perhaps this was a holiday lesson about abundance that would make us simply be thankful for having each other at the holidays.
Still, it was crummy that the little white bunny suit for my six month old niece (a nod to A Christmas Story movie) was somewhere in a dump, never worn.
So, last night, I decided to contact the company where I bought the bunny suit to ask them if they still had it in stock. I told them I wanted to reorder since I wasn’t sure we would be successful with a town dumpster dive. Then something magical happened.
The customer service rep told me that they would send the onesie directly to my niece, free of charge. They would also send the other red baby dress I had ordered as well.
I was in shock. Generous customer service seemed to be a thing of this past. There was no reason they had to send these items. They were just sympathetic to our situation during the holidays.
The rep asked me not to disclose the name of the company publicly. (They don’t want others to take advantage of this sort of thing.) However, I told them that I would sing their praises to anyone I know who is shopping for children’s clothing. (If I see you in person, I will tell you where to shop!) Plus, I told them that they now have a life-long customer.
Sometimes, I think of the Miracle on 34th Street movie, which included the competition between Macy’s and Gimbels departments stores. In the movie, both department stores realize that it is in the holiday tradition to advertise the other store’s better prices. Practicing this sort of holiday honesty and generosity was good for the customers and it was good for the store.
In this case, the customer service rep at this particular children’s store did more than just ship us a few pieces of baby clothing. She made us want to pay it forward.
May she be granted a little extra goodwill in 2015.