Two Contrasting Examples of Client Interaction

Over the last several weeks, I’ve enjoyed having family that now live out-of-state come to visit, and the holidays were enjoyable. Inevitably, the end of the year is a busy time for businesses and truths about how clients are viewed often come to light. Here are two contrasting examples:

Old Navy

We used to buy a lot of our kids clothes at Old Navy up until about five years ago when we noticed their prices were not as good as they once were. The prices increased but the quality did not. My wife decided to pick up some last minute gifts for our kids a couple weeks ago when things were fairly busy.

My wife was checking out with her purchases – a process that seems to take longer at Old Navy than at other retail establishments, for whatever reason. First, an item she thought was on sale rang up significantly higher than she was anticipating. The clerk, who was also in management, apologized and asked if she still wanted it. She decided against the purchase, so the clerk removed the item from the tally. But then, he removed several other items. She said she still wanted those other purchases, but he sort of smiled. He then put all the items in the bag, including the original item that rang up too high, before thanking her for her business. He then wished her a Merry Christmas.

She ended up with about $45 of “discounts” from the clerk. It made her night. We will definitely be returning to Old Navy – but not because we got free stuff. It is because the clerk/manager valued my wife’s business and satisfaction more than the few dollars of profit.


For several years, our neighborhood has been undergoing some infrastructure upgrades. The original utility poles first installed in the early 1950s were taken down after new utility lines were run underground. For me, this meant one thing – Fiber!

Not the fiber that improves digestive regularity… I mean Fiberoptic communication lines which allow for very high speed internet connections. AT&T representatives began selling their U-Verse service in our neighborhood a few months ago. Around Thanksgiving, a salesman visited our home. Here is what we were assured:

  • Faster internet – way faster than that “slow cable internet”
  • Better choices of TV programming for less money
  • No need to install receivers in our bedrooms for TV
  • Overall, a reduction of our bill by about $50

On New Years Eve, our AT&T installer arrived at the house at 9:00. The first thing I learn – without paying additional money for receivers, our bedroom TVs will not have access to basic programming. (Our Cox service has always allowed for this at no extra charge.) Second, the receiver installed in the Master Bedroom would not work with my wife’s old TV. So if we want to watch TV in bed, we would have to buy a new TV. Third, the internet gateway had a built-in wireless network which meant my carefully configured existing network was not going to work anymore.

Then came the deal-breaker. After the installer had finished up and we configured the internet connection, I ran some speed tests. (I use SpeedTest by SpeakEasy.) The download speed was about 30% less than our average download speeds through Cox. The upload speed – very important for video conferencing and uploading content – was 4X slower than our Cox service. The technician called the office and confirmed that our speeds were within the acceptable range.

After the technician left, I called AT&T to cancel the service. The customer service rep was very friendly and apologetic, but understood that they could not compete with the prices and quality of service offered by Cox. Because the sales person lied to us, AT&T will be waiving any and all costs associated with our short-lived account. Unfortunately, I had to figure out how to restore our connection to Cox. I spent the rest of the day tracing cables in and under the house before finally restoring service.


Cox isn’t the greatest service provider in the world. But they are better than AT&T. I am quite happy with my internet connection, but after this whole fiasco, I am over paying high prices for TV. We don’t even watch that much TV!

Our next move is going to be to Roku boxes. We will cancel our cable TV (saving about $110 per month) and use Netflix, Hulu, etc., for content.

Image via joeandlindsay