In September, management at Woodinville Costco selected me for an exercise in futility: build a new Photo Center team, and lead them through the fast approaching holiday season. Once again, I stepped into a role knowing full well that this will all in tears, and mostly mine. One person remained of the original team of 5, as everyone either transferred or quit, thereby taking that experience and information with them. Fast-forward to today; last day of the holiday. One employee remains, Shinta, and yours truly. Both of us are known to be #CalmCoolCollected even in the face of adversity … like tonight. A Costco Member calls into the Photo Center directly. Shinta answers the phone, after an extended conversation and her typing on the computer, she asks, “Hey boss, can you please take this escalated call?” It’s what I’m paid to do so I agree to switch positions – she covers the counter, I answer the phone. I pick up the receiver, and the call. “This is Carlos, how can I help further than Shinta?” I hold my breath. To protect the member’s name, I’m gonna call him Yandu. He claims that his photo book order was not fulfilled and only partially completed. His expectation was to pick up the remaining missing photo books by tomorrow, Christmas Eve. Our fulfillment center is in California i.e. not in-house so this request (more like demand) is unreasonable, let alone physically impossible to complete. I call our support line, we have a conversation to recreate the order and expedite shipping to the warehouse. Yandu had bailed on the hold situation, so I called back.
I informed him of the solution, that in 3 business days it will completed, and in my experience arrive in my warehouse, Monday. Considering he already made a selfish, impossible demand … he losing his shit. Berates on the phone, saying that this frustrating and demands to speak to my Assistant General Manager, Mike B. I thought, how the Hell does he know him. I calmly explain that while I could get Brooks on the phone he would defer to me for assistance. Yandu fires off, “Well then I want the 3 additional photo books at no charge, and a refund on the one I bought.”I reply coolly, “Ok. I accept. We can refund your money upon your next visit to the warehouse, whether that’s tomorrow, or upon pick up of the new order.”He was aching for a fight over $40, but didn’t get it from me. In fact, I didn’t reciprocate his negative energy, anger, and boiling over frustration. I believe that angered him more. He demanded to speak to me, and Brooks once this was completed. Again … “sounds like a plan. But let’s focus on getting this tied off then we can discuss. In the meantime, I’ll see you either Friday or Monday.”[FAST FORWARD 40 MINUTES]Yandu DROVE TO THE WAREHOUSE. Not even kidding. Shinta approaches the counter, he introduces himself as Yandu, and demands to speak to me even though I’m assisting another member – gotta remember folks today is OFF THE CHAIN BUSY. Shinta spies the packaging within the box, “Sir, you didn’t open it yet.” She grabs at it, and proceeds to open it as I walk up. “Hello I’m Carlos,” I smile. Shinta then shows Yandu he DOES HAVE ALL 4 PHOTO BOOKS. And … he had them all the whole effing time. I look down, “Oh, good. You really do have all 4 books so you can send them to Ethiopia. Now all we have to do is receive the other 3.” Yandu is verbally back peddling now that he’s thoroughly embarrassed by his own arrogance. “Oh, I … um,” his words trailing. “Yandu, to be completely transparent, I reviewed your shopping history with us. I appreciate the amount of business you have brought us over the years (it is near the thousands) so I’ll compensate you the 3 books, and still refund those 4 books you have in your hands for the inconvenience this incident has caused.”“No, no. I can get these shipped right away to Ethiopia, and the other 3 are in the USA as we can worry about that later. And I don’t feel right about that solution, I am paying for the additional 3.”I have him on the ropes, and now, several nearby members are watching and listening in. “We value your membership, Yandu, perhaps a refund on those photo books?”“No, no. I paid for what I received. I’ll suppose I’ll see you on Monday,” he proposes. “We will look up the UPS tracking number for an exact delivery date and time. Once we know, you’ll know as I’ll call you personally,” I advise. “Ok, Carlos. I must say, I apologize for behavior. I’ll go home now, and I’ll wait for your phone call.” He sheepishly takes his receipt, his items and what’s left of his pride and leaves. If that isn’t vindication for being calm, cool, and collected … then I don’t know what is! BOOM, BITCH, I WIN!!!