When I moved to my new place a few months ago, I was excited that there was a Vons (grocery store) less than a mile away. Even thought it’s just my son and I in our small apartment, I pick up groceries a few days a week. One of the things we replace often is milk. We have cereal in the morning and I sometimes put it in my coffee or use it when cooking certain things.
We buy soy milk because my son has eczema that flares up when he has too much cow’s milk. We’ve gotten used to picking up the red box of Silk Soy Milk that is not in the refrigerated section of the store.
Just this morning, I made my last trip to Vons. It was the third time, in the last two months, that I’ve had to speak to the manager about expired (as in over six months) boxes on the shelves. It was the third time that I heard a simple, “I’m so sorry about that,” as he walk edaway, leaving me to walk out of the store, disappointed.
The first time I picked up a box of Soy milk from their store, I didn’t bother looking at the expiration date. It had never been an issue in the past. We stopped at the store on our way home from school one afternoon and didn’t get a chance to open it until the next morning.
I was just about ready to pour a tiny bit into my coffee the next day when I realized that the milk was black (with mold) as I nearly lost my dinner from the night before as I looked inside the carton.
Without changing out of my pajamas, or even bothering to see what I looked like in the mirror, I explained rather quickly to my son why we needed to get in the car and bring back the milk. The manager saw me coming (as did everyone in line at the store). I handed him the expired, moldy milk and asked him why there were expired cartons on the shelf.
He quickly walked away, leaving me stand there with my son while he fished another box off the shelf. He politely apologized and explained that this one was going to be, “Free.” Gee, thanks.
Of course after that I began to look at the expiration date on just about everything I bought. Sure enough, on my next trip to the same store, I had to pull four expired Silk containers from the shelf before I found one that was fresh. I spoke to the manager again on this second trip.
Apparently, nothing had been done about it since I had the same experience just this morning. I bought a different brand (Almond milk, this time) and found the manager that I spoke with previously.
Simply noting my frustration, I reminded him of my first (and second) experience and mentioned how disappointed I was that there was still expired milk on the shelf. Without saying anything about what he would do to change it or how he would make it up to me, personally, he said, “I’m sorry about that,” and walked away, I assume toward the shelf in question.
Working with businesses and retailers online has caused me to have much higher expectations for the customer service I demand, or believe I deserve. Not once did this manager ask my name, take action (that I was able to see) or choose to follow up with me after my complaints. And yet, I don’t think that this would be considered a complaint. After all, we should all demand that only the freshest of products be provided in the stores we patronize, right?
Don’t we expect the best and most appropriate behavior from others (especially our kids) as well? In working with clients, I explain that asking children to say they’re sorry to someone (whether it’s another child or an adult) doesn’t really teach them anything. It’s our actions that truly convey whether or not we understand the better choice or the more appropriate thing to say or do in the future.
Young children especially don’t understand the concept of an apology but do comprehend when someone does something to make it up to them or action has taken to right the wrong.
Saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ just doesn’t cut it in many situations. How many of us have heard someone apologize only to see them continue to make the same choices? Actions do speak louder than words and inaction speaks volumes.
When I apologize to someone, I take action. I make a change, try to do better.
Is that too much to ask?
Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home