People are touchy about their produce. People are touchy about lots of things and it’s not surprising that they get upset when things go wrong. But it is surprising when someone apologizes for losing their temper about it.
It’s easy for things to go wrong with selling produce online. Well, “wrong” may not be quite the right term. It’s more like expectations don’t match reality. With fruits and veggies and online ordering, expectations are often very different from reality.
Many complaints I’ve heard begin with, “Can you believe….”
Stop there. Yes, I can. I can believe it. Whatever you’re about to say, I’ll be able to believe it.
- Mushy strawberries in 2 days? Yep. There was a lot of rain, so they are waterlogged.
- Bugs in the organic broccoli? Yep. It’s pesticide-free, not pest-free, ya’ know?
- Your watermelon is mealy on the inside? I didn’t cut it open to check. Should I have?
- You “placed an order”, but never got a confirmation email and now you’re upset we don’t have an order for you? Is it possible that you didn’t complete the checkout process? No? Well, please pick up an order anyway and we’ll work it out. But please do pay for it before you leave. Yes, we’ll check through all of our systems to show that we truly do not have a payment from you already.
I still remember the lady who came into the store with a few small children and quickly got so upset that she began berating me in front of everyone. I don’t remember why she was upset, but I do remember that everyone in the warehouse was listening. When she left, everyone stood there for a few minutes staring at me in stunned silence. It took a few minutes for us to regroup and move on.
A short time later, she re-emerged in the doorway and walked over to me.
What happened next surprised me. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I should not have acted like that. There was no need for that kind of behavior and I apologize. I try to teach my children to behave better than I just did. Please forgive me.”
My expectations were definitely very different than reality at that moment.
I accepted her apology and we had a little laugh about it. We all have bad days. I didn’t think less of her for it. On the contrary, I admired her courage to apologize and to continue the relationship. She became a loyal customer, happily coming back every week for years.
In fact, her good example has stuck with me and given me the courage to apologize and move beyond my bad days too.