It pays to be nice. Or, does it?

We welcome this week’s guest blogger, Stephanie Huffman with Epiphany Creative Services.  She shares a recent experience that left her scratching her head. Every customer experience creates expectations. Ensure you meet them.


It was time to make a plan. Perhaps get some work done, and grab a bite to eat. As I packed up and began thinking of the menu options down the corridor, I thought I’d do one last check at the ticket counter before leaving my gate.

It was the holidays and, like the other travelers in the airport, I, too, was not thrilled with the three-hour weather delay.

Our area of the terminal was rather empty, and it was a calm atmosphere. When I approached the young man at the counter, I told him that I was off to dinner but wanted to confirm that my plane was indeed still in Jersey. He assured me it was and jokingly said, “Hey, bring me some too.”  Since it was Christmas, and I was in the holiday spirit, I thought, why not?  I asked him what he’d like, and he said, “A burrito would be great.” And then he threw in, “I’ll pay you.” Sounded good to me.

After finishing up my nachos, I ordered his burrito To-Go. I had no idea that thing, a la carte, would end up costing $11. He did say he was hungry, and it might be worth it to him. At least I’d done my good deed.

When I returned proudly producing his sustenance, he informed me he couldn’t locate any money. He only had $4. Which he never offered up. He did, however, say he could give me a voucher. But it would only be for $7.

It was a weird moment, but I took it. I figured I’d use the thing on my flight home. I confirmed with him my return was New Year’s Eve day, and he said that would work.

Fast forward a week. I’m at the airport. I’m hungry. But I have that voucher. I know I have $7 to spend, and I am pleased. It will get me a breakfast sandwich and a coffee.

After ordering, I hand the gal my voucher. She looks it over and pushes it back at me. “This is expired.” I’m shocked.

Long story short: it was not acceptable. At that point, I was in disbelief. And frustrated.  Here were my thoughts:

  • Why did an employee take advantage of a customer in this way?
  • I don’t blame the company at all, but I had to wonder, I was trying to be in the spirit of the season, but, should I complain? And if so, how?
  • In addition, I had to ask, how does a personal purchase by an employee translate into a company voucher as payment? Maybe there’s some inner workings I’m not privy too. Who knows?

That said, in my line of work, I am no customer service expert. I don’t deal with organizations teaching them culture or how to streamline. All I know is, that one employee left a bad taste in my mouth. (I never got to eat on their dime. Just sayin’.)

So, what’s a gal like me supposed to do? For you gurus of the professional organizational world, I pose these questions to you:

  1. How would you want me to handle this situation if this were your organization?
  2. When, and if, you did hear from me, how would you deal with this employee?
  3. What level of compensation would you suggest I receive?

Just my thoughts on this wintery day. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go find myself some breakfast.


HuffmanStephanie Huffman is the founder and CEO of Epiphany Creative Services. Epiphany specializes in assisting entrepreneurs, start ups and small businesses in Branding, Marketing and Social Media. Email her at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *