NOTICE: Complaint Department Is 300 Miles Away

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.52.35 PMI saw the sign.

On the door of a company that resides in the same office building as my office.

While this sign is meant to be funny…and of course, I giggled, I also saw it as sad. Tears were not shed but it was a close call.

Here’s why:

Who really likes to hear complaints? In fact, how much easier would it be if we passed the buck to someone else 300 miles away? Let’s sit at our desks and watch the unicorns fly across our screens as we check off tasks from our Asana lists. WEEEEEE!

Think about it: the last time you had an issue with a business, whose fault was it:

The manufacturer? A different representative that helped you some other time? The guy stocking the shelves? Management? Corporate? Your CEO’s mother?

Sure, dealing with complaints sucks. But, sorry to break the news to you:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.04.23 PM

And, while we can giggle at a sign saying that complaints are handled elsewhere, we can also free really crappy about this because it’s almost the truth.

I recently went to the grocery store to purchase a bottle of wine. I found one with a label that intrigued me (yes, I’m tempted by labels, so judge me!), in my price range ($10–that’s how classy I am) and a style that I knew I enjoyed (Old Vine Zin, come on now).

The cashier rang up the bottle at a higher price than what was listed. Hmmm, I was certain that this bottle cost a different amount. With more than one bottle of this wine stocked on this shelf with this price tag, how could I be wrong? The cashier said that I can go check, but to avoid holding up the line, I had her void my entire transaction. I packed my food and wine back into my basket and I left the line to go look.

I noticed that the shelf was indeed stocked with this brand and style of wine with a $10 price tag. With a closer investigation, the brand name didn’t match what was stocked on the shelf above.

I found a store clerk walking by and asked them to verify, as my eyes were foggy from a long day at work.

“Looks like our wine guy didn’t stock the shelf right! Sorry.” 

And with that scoff, they walked away.

I found a different wine and went back to the checkout counter.

Sure, the “wine guy” didn’t stock the shelf. And no doubt, I could have read what was listed in the tiny print on the tag (lesson learned and I read these closely now). But, who was taking ownership here?

Why didn’t anyone say they would make sure this was looked into? My guess: it’s not a big deal because it happens so often. While it’s not the end of the world to mark a price wrong, if it happens more than once, your store is eventually going to be referred to as Aisles of Confusion!

Moral of the story:

Taking ownership of your BRAND and YOUR TEAM, even when it’s not your fault, is key.

It’s not easy to do this, especially if one of your teammates slacks off all the time. How this store clerk could have responded:

“I’m so sorry about the confusion with that. We definitely made a mistake and I’ll make sure this is shared with management. I can help you find another bottle of wine that you’ll love in your price range if you’d like.”

Please note:

  • I’m not getting anything free or discounted out of this.
  • I’m not getting anyone in trouble.
  • I may have a new style of wine to enjoy.

So, take ownership, love it and make delicious wine out of sour grapes.


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