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The Shamrock Shake Incident And A Good Deal Gone Bad

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I have some business lessons to share from two recent events that occurred in my life.  Perhaps you will find some value from my misadventure.  The two events are unrelated but occurred within 10 days of each other and have stuck in my craw.

On March 17th and 18th I went to 4 different McDonalds restaurants for a Shamrock shake and was unable to get one for various reasons ranging from a broken milk shake machine(this at a store less than 3 months old) , ran out of mix and never were a participant in the seasonal offering.  Needless to say I was frustrated by the situation.  I think we need to take note of this failure and learn from it.

First and foremost we need to be able to adequately stock our shelves so we have product to sell.  I can’t imagine how a company like McDonalds could allow this type of inventory ordering gaffe to occur.  Let me point out that I did not buy anything from McDonalds on those days that they were out of Shamrock shakes.  Most people have already formed an opinion of McDonalds and if this happened sporadically throughout the country it probably will not hurt their image or future earnings potential.  If this happens on a recurring basis it might signal a problem to people so the free pass does not exist forever – even for the Golden Arches.  How much goodwill do you have built up?  Do you have more than McDonalds?  Do you get a free pass from your customers when you fail?  My advice is to do everything in your power to not have to depend on your goodwill.  Stated another way; don’t make this mistake in the first place.  This failure is shocking because it is at the core of their business.  

The second bad customer experience I had was with a technology/electronics company with 23 locations in 16 states.  They had an offer for a coupon for $15 off any item in the store and it could be $15 off a $15 item.  This sounded really good so I decided to take the trip a little out of my way and get 2 flash drives for about $16 after using the coupon I would only pay $1 and life would be good.  I was a little leery of the promotion so before I started my purchase I asked an associate and he said that I did understand the coupon correctly.  WRONG!  I went up to the counter to pay for my 2 flash drives and was told that the item had to be $15 individually not more than 1 item adding to $15 or more.  That was very inconvenient and I was in a bit of a hurry so now I had to decide what I was going to purchase that cost over $15.  Of course I actually had to want or need the product for the transaction to make any sense.  As I rushed around I could not believe that a store with thousands of products could have so few that I wanted that fit the constraints of the coupon. I finally ended up buying a battery charger that came with 4 AA batteries that cost 14.99 plus tax.  I left the store somewhat satisfied but after I got home and had time to think about it,  I really did not want or need the batteries and I did not get what I really wanted – the flash drives.  The lesson to be learned in this instance is never turn a good thing into a bad thing.  So many times a company will try to do something nice for its employees or customers and it backfires.  This is one of the worst things that you can do because an expectation is created and then is not met.  Not only is it not met but you feel worse about the company than you would have if it did nothing at all.  It is a lot like a pass into the end zone being intercepted by the other team and returned 100 yards for a touchdown – very deflating.   Many people call that a game changer.  Watch what I am talking about here.

Yes, I finally did get my Shamrock shake but I had to go out of state to get it.  Have a great week and beware of the Shamrock Shake Incident and other game changers.

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Written by pacelinebiz

April 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

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