A few weeks ago I had decided to buy a new paella pan, thirteen inches of gleaming stainless steel. I had seen what I wanted at national kitchen stores like Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma in other cities, but since those stores don’t have outlets here in Sioux Falls I sought to find it locally.
My first stop was a downtown kitchen specialty store that sells the All-Clad brand I was looking for. They didn’t have it stock. No worries, if I can’t get it there, several national chains with stores here in town carry the brand, so I’ll try there. Alas, I struck out at Macy’s, Yonkers and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
So I went back to that small local retailer and asked if they could order it for me. I explained that I knew I could get it online but if I could support a local small business I would. They were my first choice. The woman at the counter took all of my contact information and carefully wrote down what I wanted and promised to pass it on to the store owner.
Two weeks passed and I hadn’t heard anything, so I stopped in the store again. The woman working knew who I was and she had heard them talking about my order but didn’t know the details. She again wrote down my contact info and promised to call me when the store owner arrived, which should only be a few minutes. About 4 hours later she called to tell me that they could order the pan, but it would take at least 3 to 6 weeks to arrive and they couldn’t really promise if I would get it even then. No thanks. I’ll get it somewhere else. So much for trying to shop local.
That afternoon I logged into the Zappo’s app on my iPad, typed a few words and a 13 inch All-Clad Stainless Steel Paella Pan was on its way to me. That was on a Saturday afternoon. The product arrived at my office Monday afternoon. No charge for the shipping and I actually saved about 10% off the retail price.
So here’s my question, if you were that small retailer and you knew a good customer wanted something, and they preferred to buy it from you, why wouldn’t you do everything you could to get it for them? I think if I owned that little shop, I would have ordered it from Zappo’s, marked it up 10% (back to the regular retail price) and sold it the customer. But that’s just me. Trying to keep the customer satisfied.
If she had done that, this post would have been about how great her service was and I would have named her and her store. As it is, I’ll give the glory to Zappo’s.