When I was in high school and the first couple of years of college I sold dishwashers and other home improvement items at Sears. I will always remember the slogan that was above each outside door, “Customer Satisfaction or your Money Back!” Another way to say this is “the customer is always right.”
I was reminded of that this morning on day 17 of the Indiana State Fair. Yes it is almost over!
On this day there was a car with a handicapped tag parked in a reserve parking spot. The spots in this lot are individually numbered and each spot is sold for the duration of the Fair even the designated handicapped spots. If the “owner” arrives and another car is in their spot havoc is created. The owner doesn’t know where to park and in many cases asks for the offending car to be removed. They have every right to the space – they bought it!
The dog show had started the day before so I went over to the dog show pavilion and had an announcement made for the owner to move their car. About an hour later my partner, also a supervisor, said a lady had moved her car into another handicapped (but also a reserved) spot. She would not move it again and said he said he told her he was calling the tow truck. She supposedly said “go ahead.”
The problem is many individuals with handicapped tags are not used to giving up spaces. In a “normal” lot if a handicapped spot is open it is theirs for the taking. If/when you tell them they cannot park there they get frustrated, mad or in some cases irate.
The issue is in this reserved lot always seems to be about 50% full. When other lots are full the handicapped want to park in the reserve lot. I told a gentleman the week before that even the Governor could not park in the reserve area if he did not have a pass. The man replied, “The Governor is not handicapped!”
So anyway back to the difficulty at hand I went back to the dog show and had the owner of the car paged so I could ask her to move her car before the tow truck arrived. It turned out the owner is one of the leaders of 4-H and has worked at the dog show for the past 47 years! The Governor had given her the Distinguished Hoosier Award the evening before. We talked about how the dog show had evolved over the years. I listened and asked questions. This was an incredible lady. After a while we also talked about where she could park. I showed her the correct parking lot and gave her a ride back to the show in my golf cart.
Bottom line – We could have just towed the car. It was the last day of the Fair. We were in the right but that would have created another issue. In the end we got the car moved and I have a newfound appreciation for the Indiana 4-H dog show and a fantastic individual that has helped put it on.
The customer is always right. Listen and understand before acting. Try for a win/win solution. Great advice for navigating life’s issues.
Until next time – all the best!