You know how when you have money in your pocket, you can’t find anything to buy? Well, last week, I decided it was time to spend a $50 Sur La Table gift card that had been hanging around in our “stuff to keep” basket for, oh, about two years. I kept putting off the buying decision—because I didn’t really NEED anything. I wanted plenty, but in these challenging economic times, ‘tis better to purchase only what we need, right?
If you’re not familiar with the company, Sur La Table sells a multitude of yummy cooking tools and gadgets, in retail stores and online; I’m sure I use something from SLT every day in my kitchen. My favorite is a colander that adds a bright punch of red to my pot rack. (Although sadly, the red paint is chipping off to reveal its ugly underbelly.)
So although I didn’t need anything, I decided to spend the gift card before I lost it. This has happened before, you see. A generous boss gave me a $100 gift card to Restoration Hardware years ago. I had it; I lost it; I found it; I lost it again; we moved; I found it; I lost it again. End of story. I couldn’t bear to have it happen again.
I hopped on Sur La Table’s site and browsed. For days. I could not decide what to buy—should I get the ceramic baker in poppy or avocado? How about a nice new skillet to replace the one I warped years ago? Ooh—potholders! The choices.
As it turned out, we really needed a new pepper mill. Our old one served us well, but the masking tape holding the loading door on was falling off, so I took that as a sign. I chose a Puegeot (yes, that Puegeot) mill—they’ve been making them since 1842, so I felt confident. After all, this was a decision two years in the making. With the leftover cash, I chose a heavenly-smelling bergamot and verbena soap and lotion combo. Mission accomplished.
However intriguing this story may be, it is not the purpose of this post. This post is about what came in the package that the nice UPS man brought right to my door.
It was a thank-you note. It read:
“Thank you for your purchase. We understand times have changed and appreciate that where you shop is an important choice. Please know how much we value your continued support.”
Jack Schwefel, President & CEO
I was floored. Sure, lots of companies say thank you—usually at the bottom of the invoice. I expect that. This note? I put that in the “above and beyond” box. I responded to it so very favorably (as you can plainly see) because of the humble and sincere sentiment expressed. Mr. Schwefel recognized that this is a difficult time and people like me are thinking long and hard before we spend our money (or our gift cards). See paragraph 1.
But Jack went even further. He gave me a coupon for a free knife sharpening, too! All I have to do is bring my knife to a Sur La Table store (very clever, Jack!) and they’ll sharpen it for me. I scanned the coupon for retail trickery—and noticed an expiration date. A ha! It was for an entire year from now. Oh. Okay. That’s fair.
So today’s lesson is appreciation. Don’t assume your customers, clients and fans know you appreciate their business. Show them. Tell them. Send them a note. Say “thank you.” Say it simply. Say it sincerely. And watch them pass it on.