Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to get things done, or the Costco follow-up...

I wrote recently about the ugly scene I unintentionally caused at Costco.  I was so upset about it that I kept finding myself sitting and stewing about it.  So I wrote a letter to my local Costco.

I tried not to complain (too much) about what had happened; I really just wanted to bring light to the fact that the seating situation was causing problems.  I'd struggled with it, and I'd seen others with strollers or wheelchairs having similar issues.

I mostly just wanted to get it off my chest and let it go.  Let's call it healing.

But then, a miraculous thing happened.  I got a phone call from the manager of the local warehouse.  He was truly sympathetic (has twins himself, and we swapped stories about how hard it is to get around in lots of stores with strollers and kid gear) and apologetic. 

I shared my few suggestions with him (wider aisles, move some of the trash cans from the ends of the aisles where people could sit with strollers), and he acknowledged them and thanked me. I figured that was the end of it: He'd done his duty to make me feel heard and hopefully smooth things over so I didn't abandon my bulk-buying ways.

Then, a couple days later, I went into the Costco.  And I was SHOCKED.  They had totally rearranged the food court.  They'd gotten rid of some tables to widen the aisles.  They'd moved trash cans.  They'd cleared out an area across from the tables for people to park their carts.  It made a huge difference.

I bought a slice of cheese pizza just to try it out.  And there was plenty of room.  Best of all, nobody yelled at me.

It turns out that the manager had been truly concerned with doing what he could to correct the situation.  He wasn't just aiming to please me; he actually wanted to make the store a better place. And you know what?  It felt good.

Usually I'm completely non-confrontational.  I'm a people-pleaser to the core.  I don't complain, and I don't write letters.  If this hadn't involved my son and my job as his mother, I don't think I would have had the guts to do it.  But I've never been happier to step outside of my comfort zone.  It may not be life-altering, and it's almost certainly not the answer for world peace, but I do feel - in some small way - that I've made the world a better place.

If this is the person motherhood is making me, I'll take it!


  1. Sometimes it is good to state your case. You have now made this store more user friendly for so many - well done to you.

  2. Kudos to you!
    1)for "speaking" out by writing the letter and
    2)for telling the manager your ideas

  3. I am visiting from the hop! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back! thanks so much!

  4. Thanks, Nina! And welcome!

    @Toqua: I am so happy it turned out this way. It managed to turn a really terrible situation into something positive.

    @Chef: Glad you stopped by! I will check out your blog, too!

  5. Yay! I've never contacted a company and actually got a response and "action" on anything I said. I've done it probably twice, ever, but it's nice to know sometimes stores do listen!

  6. great post.. yes being a momma brings such awareness.

  7. @MomNextDoor: That's too bad that you've never gotten an action on anything. It's good that you try at least, though.

    @Adriana: Thanks! And this is definitely a mommy trait that's an unexpected but pleasant surprise.