I had a

I had a Sand in the Gears moment at the local Giant grocery last night. My girlfriend asked me to pick up ice cream on the way home. A simple task that was about to become not so simple.

I picked up a package of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey (let’s leave their politics out of this — we’re talking about ice cream, chocolate, and banana here!). I walked to the front of the store and found three checkout lines open, each one with at least five customers ahead of me. I got in the express line designated for shoppers with ten items or less and found that it was being worked by the store manager. I advanced through that line… and I was next.

The store manager said, “I’m sorry, this line is closed.”

My reply, “You’ve done a wonderful job of identifying the problem statement.”

Store manager: “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

My reply, “Normally I would charge a consulting fee for offering workflow management advice, but in this case you might consider staying open or bringing in some extra help off the floor.”

The rest of the customers waiting in their three lines broke out in applause. The manager sold me my ice cream. I felt like I had won a minor victory. And that I needed to share it with you, my loyal readers.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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