I had a wonderful customer service experience this week – and a great teachable moment for my children — which I just have to share with you guys.
Frankie and I have been shopping for mattresses for our guest room. We haven’t had a dedicated guest room in years, and we are really excited to have one in this house — especially since we’re hoping that friends and family from Kansas City will come visit often!
Our budget is pretty limited, since we’ve already spent a ton on moving and getting things fixed around our new house. In fact, I told Frankie that I didn’t want to spend more than $300.
As it turns out, that’s not very much at all when it comes to mattresses! Especially since we were looking to buy two twin mattress sets. We went to several different chain stores in the area, and couldn’t find anything for less than $200 per mattress set — and honestly, those were pretty thin (read: uncomfortable) mattresses. I was starting to feel really bummed about our choices and thinking that we might have to wait on buying something altogether until we could save up a bit more.
A friend suggested we look at Big Lots, so we headed over there on Sunday for their Labor Day sale*. They had two twin Serta mattress sets on sale: One for $109 ($99 for the mattress and $10 for the box spring) and one for $179 (again $169 for the mattress and $10 for the box sprint).
I couldn’t believe it – even with buying the frame ($38 each), we could come in at my target price if we bought the $109 mattress sets.
But then I sat on them. And laid on them.
Yeah. Those $109 mattresses were pretty thin. Not horrible, and for a child, they’d be fine, but I could definitely feel the springs when I moved around.
Even though it wasn’t in our budget, we tried out the more expensive set – and, predictably, it was much more comfortable. We’re not talking memory-foam-comfortable, but really nice — and certainly not the kind of bed that would make a guest think, “I never want to sleep here again!”
Frankie was lobbying hard for the $179 mattresses — “Think of it as an investment in hachnasat orchim,” he told me.
Even though the $179 set was less than anything else we’d seen, I still kept worrying about the money that we’d be over our budget — and mentally crossing things off our big “house list” that we wouldn’t be able to afford as a result.
In the end, though, I agreed with my husband – for just $135 more than we’d budgeted, it wasn’t worth it to get significantly lower quality mattresses, since this was a long-term purchase. (I did the whole “If we own these for 10 years, that’s just $13.50 per year amortized over the life of the mattresses” rationalization! Plus, I figured, we’d just delay getting an area rug. Or fixing the chandelier in our dining room. Or… )
While we were deliberating (and our kids were trying out every single piece of furniture in their show room), the store manager George was incredible. He never tried to up-sell us or pressure us into making a decision. Having shopped in half a dozen mattress stores already at this point, I really appreciate his lower-key approach. (What is it with mattress salesmen, anyway?!)
Once we made our decision, George brought the mattresses out to our car and loaded them in (we have a minivan, so we were able to get both mattresses and box springs in by taking out a row of seats).
Another employee came up to the cash register to help enter in the codes from the mattresses. My five year had lost all patience at this point and was bouncing off the walls. (Why must there always be candy in those check-out lines? Precisely for five years who have lost all patience!) When the cashier gave me the total it sounded low – I asked her to double check the codes, but honestly, I was more focused on my daughter not inhaling a Reese’s than what was happening with our bill.
When we got home, the total was still nagging at me, so I looked more closely at the receipt. Aha! They had charged us for the $109 mattresses, not the $179 ones we bought!
I told my husband what had happened — and that I was going to call the store. My boys overheard this, and one of them asked why I had to call if “it was their mistake. Just think of it as a bonus, ima.”
“I’d love to, but it’s not a bonus we earned. This is a big difference,” I explained. “We’re talking about over $100. Even though it wasn’t intentional on our part, not making it right would be like stealing.”
I called the store and asked to speak to George. I explained what had happened and he very graciously thanked me for my call and asked if I could come back in the next day to straighten out the receipt. “To show my gratitude for your honesty, I’ll give you 20% off everything you bought.”
Wow – I couldn’t believe it! Just for doing the right thing, I’d be saving almost the entire difference between the two sets! My sons had heard the whole conversation and were very impressed. “Looks like it pays to do the right thing, Ima!”
Of course I reminded them that even when it doesn’t “pay”, you should always do the right thing… but yeah, it was nice to have that lesson so immediately reinforced for them.
The next day when I went back to Big Lots, George was so kind — “Most people wouldn’t have called and even fewer would actually come back in,” he told me. “To show my appreciation, let’s just leave the receipt the way it is. I’m sure you’ve had expenses galore” – I nodded! – “so you just go and enjoy your mattresses! Just do me a favor, and shop here again.”
Well you’d better believe I shopped there that very day, picking up snack foods for my kids’ lunches! And I’ll definitely be back in the future.
What a nice man! What a relief to have been able to get two really comfortable mattresses for my $300 budget! And what a great opportunity to teach my kids about the importance of “doing the right thing”!
P.S. If there are any Clevelanders reading this, go check out the Big Lots on Chagrin Blvd. by the Giant Eagle. And tell George I sent you.
*I just checked online and it looks like their mattress sale is still going on. If you need a great deal on a mattress, go check it out.