Show Me the Money

September 17th, 2007 by Bob Bly

Walked into the CVS in back of my office to pick up today’s paper, as I often do.

But when I tried to walk out after plunking my two quarters next to the register, the sales clerk told me: “Stop!”

“Why?” I asked.

“I have to scan the paper,” she told me, explaining that it was corporate policy.

I looked at the long line in front of the only register with a cashier.

“Can’t I just leave the money and you can scan another paper later?”

“Nope,” she told me. “You have to wait.”

The point?

The CVS violates one of the Sacred Laws of Business.

Namely: when someone wants to give you money, don’t make it difficult for them to do so.

Even if they just want to buy the paper.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 2:02 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 responses about “Show Me the Money”

  1. Michael said:

    Should have just looked the clerk straight in the eye and said, “Nope, sorry. I don’t have time,” and then left. What could he have done? Chased after you? It isn’t like you stole it; you left the money on the counter. Worse that could have happened is that next time you came in, the clerk would give you a sour look.

    And, wow…a newspaper that costs 50 cents?! What happened to a quarter!? (I admit, it has been a couple of decades since I’ve actually shelled out money for a newspaper. Next, someone’s going to tell me it isn’t a dime to use a payphone anymore)

  2. Jill said:

    I’ve been in that situation.

    I worked the night shift for a Wawa store and in the early morning hours we’d get a long line. A couple different guys would walk in, pick up a paper, and drop money. When some regular coffee drinkers saw this happening, they tried to do it too. I complied for a while until one day too many did it and the money left by them didn’t divide evenly among the papers and coffee cups.

    After that, my manager made me tell every one of them to stand in line like everyone else and say something along the lines of: “Just because you’re buying a paper or a single cup of coffee doesn’t mean you’re privilaged”.

    I think once you start making exceptions everyone want’s to be on that train and some people are less than honest.

  3. Damian said:

    Even thought that type of experience is really annoying, it’s probably done for their inventory control software application, so that the can keep track of all sales patterns and inventory levels.

    Also, do to a poor manager, the cashier is more motivated to avoid a confrontation with the boss, than to give Bob a great customer service experience!

  4. Sheri Cyprus said:

    Jill: I’m shocked! Your manager actually told you to communicate something like “Just because you’re buying a paper or a single cup of coffee doesn’t mean you’re privileged?”

    I know it may sound unrealistic, but I’m from the school that firmly believes that the whole point of selling is to make every customer feel like they’re privileged and that it’s up to management to solve problems to make things run smoothly for the customer with money in his or her pocket! But admittedly, I’m also one who has participated in corporate customer training sessions enthusiastically wearing a giant “Yes We Can!” button. :)

  5. Jill said:

    Sheri:

    I almost lost my job because the money piling on the counter didn’t equal up. I tried keeping a list, but it’s hard in a fast paced environment.

    Not to mention, I had bad comments from other customers who were waiting in line only to have some person squeeze in front to drop some coins and then leave. Sometimes they were so fast I didn’t know what paper or coffee they took and had to guess.

    It got really out of hand. But this was Wawa, not CVS. I don’t think there are as many coffee/newspaper/cigerette rushes in the morning at CVS.

  6. Bob Bly said:

    Damian: the CVS clerk actually told me it was precisely for the reason you note: to capture the bar code for the inventory control system. But then they are putting systems before the customers they are designed to service. In direct mail, we don’t refuse a telephone order because the customer can’t give us a catalog key code! When tracking becomes more important than customer service, you are in trouble.

  7. Brian said:

    As a POS system programmer one of the biggest demands on my time is continually reworking things to protect businesses from their employees and their customers.

    For every crazy “store policy that inconveniences a customer” story you can come up with, I can come up with a “crazy ways an employee has defrauded their employer” story, or “crazy ways a customer has stolen from a business” story. Odds are the clerk doesn’t even know the full reason for why they do that.

    It’s sad, but the days when we could just give each other the benefit of the doubt are gone.

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