It was early, maybe too early to be at work. Still the staff was in a good mood and eager to please when the wife and I stepped up to the bakery window. My wife was a little excited. Doing things for her neighbors is a favorite and the treats in the bakery case looked to make for a special delivery.
“What’s your favorite?” she asked the woman at the counter. Her coworker chimed in, “All of it.” And so, we ordered. Not all of it, but plenty. The cinnamon roll, cherry turnover, sausage biscuits, croissants, cookies, donut holes. All of it, boxed.
Two boxes actually (my wife splurges on people). Everyone was happy.
“They’re going to love this. And I got some for you, too,” the wife smiled as she handed the boxes to me.
She’d re-box the goodies and put them on the neighbor’s porch. Hopefully, we get it there before their coffee was ready. “Oh, no!” she sighed. “They left out the sausage biscuits.” Down, but not out, she packed the best of the rest and carried it next door.
I was on the phone with the bakery when she walked back in.
“Hey guys, we picked up an order earlier, but some of it was missing. How do we fix it?” I asked. Basically, I was simply looking to refund the difference.
“Oh, this is the manager,” the fellow on the other end replied. “I wasn’t involved in the boxing of your order,” he added.
Man, it’s early, too early to pass the buck. It always is.
It was too early to be mad or blame anyone. So, I didn’t.
We were actually still feeling pretty good about the place. The product is great. The people were pleasant. The ambiance of the storefront is the stuff of Instagram legend. The neighbors didn’t miss the sausage biscuits, and had already sent a text with a picture of their kids enjoying the donut holes.
We managed the refund. I saved the lesson on leadership for this post not willing to waste it on a stranger.
You know what it is, right? You win together. You lose together.
Passing the blame to your staff is more than just a bad look. It leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.
Want to talk about the right way to handle this? At timcnicholson on twitter.