Fear of an “Unlike”

thumbs-down-signThe other day I received a call from a woman who had purchased a photo frame from our store. She took it home, placed it in an envelope, and mailed it to her mother three hours away. When the photo frame arrived in the mail to her mother, the glass was broken.

The issue for this woman was that she believed that it was our store’s responsibility to replace the frame in its entirety. Never-mind the fact that when she left the store, the frame was in perfect condition and the glass was not broken. She admitted that the damage was likely caused by the postal service and that the frame had no manufacture defect.

After discussing the fact that our return policy is intended for defects and change of hearts, she would not relent. She insisted that we should take responsibility and stand up for our customer. Her personal accountability was not in question. Since Hobby Lobby is a company that believes in Christian values, we should be responsible to take care of all requests.

In the end, I agreed to replace the frame at her convenience. I could have continued to point out that it was not our fault that the frame was damaged. It was not our responsibility to ensure the safe shipping of merchandise once it had left our premises. All my arguments would continue to fall on deaf ears. Even if I had flat out refused to replace the item, she would have likely contacted our corporate office and they would have either issued her a refund for the product or instructed me to replace it for her. The frame was a $10 item which would hardly impact the bottom line of the company. The goodwill is worth much more than the dollar.

I appreciate the fact that it was the right thing to do for the customer and the company. It was not a large inconvenience nor an impact on our balance sheet. I am just disappointed that this woman took no personal responsibility for this situation. She packaged the frame, either with or without padding. She placed it in an envelope, or a box, or some other means to ship it. She chose the method in which to ship the package, either via postal or courier. She chose whether to insure or not the package. All these decisions were made while the frame was in her possession and in good condition.

At what point had our society lost accountability? How about integrity? When did it become acceptable to make bad choices and then blame others? In this age of social media and instant communication, individuals hold a great deal of influence. A single post or tweet can impact a company in the blink of an eye. Viral videos and Facebook “likes” hold significant power. Companies are in constant states of fear. They are held hostage by the customer and the customer is not held to the same standard. They accommodate unreasonable requests for fear of a negative Yelp review or a Thumbs Down on a comment section.

Hopefully this woman is an exception. Hopefully she is just wanting to remedy a bad situation and could not think of another option. In the end, the woman got what she wanted. She is happy and the issue is resolved. No negative press was recorded and the company is well with her. All is well…?

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