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A Question of Customer Service
When Your Job Sucks #2 : Biff on the Chopping Block!
Biff, the Imperial Ice Cream route driver who I helped twice a week with his extensive route, had two slow days, when he hit all of the 7-11s and farm stores. Seven sleeves of ice cream was regarded as the minimum for a second stop for these once weekly accounts. Since they primarily sold high-priced Ben & Jerry’s, that was still worth the time and gas. Imperial Ice Cream did take pride in good customer service, and would make one stop to spruce up the ice cream display even if no purchase was needed.
Almost immediately, after going to work for Biff, I found out he had one out of the way 7-11 that he stopped at twice a week, only bringing in three sleeves with each visit. The reason for this was that the woman that worked during the day had sex with him in the walk in behind the milk racks. He even recounted one harrowing tryst when they heard the door bell ring and she left him standing there with his pants around his ankles staring at the crates of milk in the 38 degree dairy box while she rang out a customer. He said that she always admonished him to remain in this attitude while she took care of “interruptions," and that she always returned to "finish what she had started.”
Then one day, a few weeks later, Biff was a nervous wreck. It turned out that he had bragged to a fellow route driver, who coveted his oversized route, and who had ratted him out in hopes of getting him fired. Biff was beside himself with worry: he was buying a house and a car, was engaged, and was $6,000 into his bookie and losing money every week. His supervisor and the regional manager were going to the 7-11 in question to interview the owner about Biff!
I didn’t know what to say.
At the end of the day we shook hands and he said, “Well Jimmy Jam, if I still have a job on Tuesday I’ll pick you up at eight. If I buy the farm this is it.”
I told him something about pleading good customer service, and hoping the cashier would not rat him out.
He gave me some extra Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the family and tipped me $10, making it a $50 day.
The following Tuesday he picked me up wearing a shit-eating grin. I cannot remember his words. His narration of the events though, that terminated in that wry smile, remain clear.
The route supervisor and regional manager had called ahead to the owner, and arranged to meet her at the store, at the time that Biff would typically show up for his first stop of the week.
When they arrived at the store they noticed an attractive woman operating the register and waited for her to finish serving her customers before asking to speak with the owner. The woman then indicated that she was the owner—or co-owner, rather. Her husband worked the overnight shift and she worked the day shift.
The regional manger asked if they would be able to speak with the clerk that normally checked in Biff’s order about his customer service. She informed them that it was she who was the clerk on duty when Biff delivered his ice cream; that his customer service was “excellent” and that she must insist on a third order every week!
The lady insisted that “Biff Biff” was “needed” at least three times a week!
Biff triumphantly grinned and began singing the song “I’m just a gigolo!” and continued to belt out the tune all day long, any time the spirit moved him to sing his anthem along to whatever other song happened to be playing on the radio.
Biff had gone from jerk to god in the eyes of management, who gave him a pat on the back and directed him to continue providing exceptional customer service at the stop he now called “Seven-I’m in Heaven.”
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