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Answers For The Workplace E-Memo

Customer Service and Common Sense

According to the publication Business 2.0, the following situation actually occurred:

While purchasing a newspaper from a news rack outside a Wal-Mart in Illinois, a 73-year old woman got her coat caught when the news rack door slammed shut before her coat was clear. Unable to wiggle out of her coat, the woman asked a bystander to go in the store and ask for help. A few moments later, a Wal-Mart employee came out, observed the situation, and explained that she could not assist: The store had a policy against tampering with the news rack.

The employee left and then returned a few moments later to say she had called the newspaper for help. The trapped woman asked that someone simply drop two quarters in the machine, but the employee refused, saying the store would not pay her back for putting money into the news rack. Eventually the employee dropped in two quarters and the woman was freed.

It should be noted that a Wal-Mart spokesman later apologized for the incident. My point in sharing this story is that companies should make sure that entry-level workers understand the need for applying common sense when interpreting company policies.
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