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Give and You Shall Receive

Just the other day a woman called the shop asking if we had foil, you know, the kind you use to wrap the bottom of a plant, in this case, a few poinsettias that she had. Believe it or not, we do use foil but not as often as you might think and so I told her that although I did not have a whole roll I could sell her, I'd be happy to have some sheets cut for her to pick up. When she asked me how much that would cost, I did my usual "I don't need any money, just remember us the next time time you need flowers". I've been doing that kind of thing for so many years, that I sometimes forget the response it gives people. I usually notice the affects when a new employee says, "You don't want me to charge for that"? They seem so surprised but I do this quite often, whenever a customer needs something that's just plain simple or small. I mean, if I have to charge for 12" of curling ribbon or a block of oasis when someone runs into the shop in a bind, well, I'm not much of a business person. I also say, "Hey, no charge, just remember us the next time you need flowers" and I truly believe that they do just that. I believe the next time they need to send a bouquet, they remember that we were there when they needed us and that we went that extra mile to be helpful.

Now this brings to mind the story of what happened to my husband this past fall. He was all the way over by the shore delivering a wedding for the shop when he noticed that one of the bridal bouquets had gotten it's ribbon stained. He was early and had hours before the bride would arrive at the club to collect her flowers and so he did the right thing and went out in search of just the right color ribbon to replace the damaged one. Anyway, 4 stores later he walked into a large chain card store and noticed the perfect color ribbon right behind the counter. He waited his turn in line and when he got to the front he asked the clerk if she could sell him 1 yard of that ribbon. "I can't do that", she said. "Why", he asked. She explained that it was company policy for her to use that ribbon only when gift wrapping. My husband explained that he only needed a yard of that ribbon to wrap a bridal bouquet and that he would gladly pay for it if she could bend the rule just this once. Now, you can imagine the annoyance of everyone standing in line behind him. Long story short, she would not budge and sell him that ribbon. What's a poor florist husband to do? He went back to all the rolls of ribbon that were for sale, that were the wrong color, he patiently waited in line again for his turn and when he got to the front of the line he said "I'd like to buy this roll of ribbon and I would like it gift wrapped using that ribbon".

Smart guy, not so smart company. I hope I never get that big and that blind. Give and sometimes you shall receive - in this case a new customer.
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