If they ever write a text book on customer service, the front end staff at the new Hy-Vee on 52nd and O st. are as good a model as any I’ve experienced in a long time, or at least they were today.  (Full disclosure moment, I used to work for a Hy-Vee close to my home when I was in high school.)

I stopped by the store after work to pick up a few things I had run out and knew I would need in short order.  Then a variety of misjudgements on my part took place.  First, I misjudged how much I would actually be getting while I was there.  My tiny little basket filled quickly.  I thought about going back up to the front and exchanging for a cart but decided against it.

After loading up on frozen pizza, milk, detergent and chunky soup, I wanted to grab some raspberries and blueberries, two of each.  I made my way up to the front of the store to where the produce was, found what I was looking for and turned to put them in my basket but looked down to see it was full so I decided to just head to the checkout instead.  I stopped in front of the express lane and i had too much.  Move on.  I turned to face the rest of the checkstands.  Many were free, there were no lines anywhere.  Nice, I thought, I’ll be out of here in 10 minutes and having dinner in no time.

As I turned, took a side step to avoid the display of “Big Grabs”, and, whoa, ahh…up they go, down they go, crashing all over the floor infront of the express lanes and check stands 3, 4 and 5.  I heard at least 3 “oh, blueberries!”  I just stared at them.  A little stunned.  I just stood there.  What a dunce!  I put my overflowing basket out of the way and turned around to gather in the splendor of my splatter.

I began to approach the scattered berries when a swarm of cheery employees come to help out.  They get it all picked up even before I can even jump into help, not that they would have let me anyway.  They all individually asked me if I wanted a new box of blueberries.  I didn’t, really.  I just wanted to pay for my groceries and get the heck out.  I began unloading my basket when one of the employees came up with a pack of blueberries and said,”It’s not the same one, but my manager said to give you this and it’s free.”

I had no idea what to say.

I’m the one who dropped them.

You picked them up.

I was going to buy them in the first place and now you’re giving them to me for free?

That’s how you create customer loyalty.  I had my taste of humble (blueberry) pie today.