Colorful

Colorful (adjective)

  1. having much or varied color; bright.
  2. full of interest; lively and exciting.
A colorful memory of childhood.
The nameless blue. Blue Happiness, maybe?

 

I like things neat and tidy. Perfect isn’t really the right word, but it’s close. There is something about things being neatly put in their place that I love, yet my husband would say I don’t keep things neat and tidy enough. One of my favorite things is when we purchase new towels, after washing them, I fold them and stack them perfectly in the closet. Crisp, white, fluffy towels all folded and put away for the first time. It creates a clean line of white in the linen closet and I love it. We replace our towels every 12 – 18 months and that is one of my favorite days.

Books are another thing I love. I seriously have so many books that bookshelves in our house are overflowing with books. I have a kindle, although honestly, my daughter uses it because I don’t like it. There is something about grabbing a book, especially a hard-covered book, and sitting down to read it. I love the feeling of a book in my hand and there is nothing much better than sitting and reading a book that is too good to put down. I love that my 10-year-old daughter has picked up my love for reading and I also love that it is possible to get my (almost) 12-year-old son to sit down and love a good book too. Yet, if you have books in your home you can relate that it is extremely difficult to get them to line up neat and tidy. You have to decide if you want to organize by color, by size, alphabetical by book title or by author. It’s a hard task to organize books. Yet, when you find a way to get them stored neat and tidy it is really gratifying. Oh wait, maybe that is me projecting my love of neat and tidy books onto you.

To find outstanding customer service seems to be hard and harder to come by these days. There are some places where you still find amazing customer service. The small half-priced books down the street from me still provides phenomenal customer service. Nordstrom, for the most part, still provides top-notch customer service.

In my professional life I am a corporate trainer. I have led trainings on a lot of topics throughout the years and one of the topics I have spent a lot of time on is customer service training – both in a retail and an online environment. Training on customer service is a very tricky topic – there is a lot of judgement involved when providing customer service. If you’ve spent anytime training people you will know that one huge debate in the industry is around the ability to teach someone judgement. I fall into the camp that judgement is really difficult to teach because judgement is developed through life experiences. You have to experience certain situations so that you can learn from them. So that you can experience the situation to know for next time what would you do the same or do different. So that you can make good decisions and bad decisions to learn the impact around you when using good and bad judgement. I have spent hundreds of hours reading about what makes good customer service. The best rule out there is “the customer is always right”; yet the rule most often broken is “the customer is always right”. The customer becomes wrong when you deny a return without a receipt. A customer is no longer right when they say their sweater faded in the wash and yet you deny the ability to return it. The customer becomes wrong when they want to return something for cash but you say you can only offer a store credit. What stands between the customer being right or not is typically two things. One is store policies. The second is judgement. You need judgement in order to determine if you should stick with or ignore the store policies. Customer service, as you can see is tricky and really hard to teach. I would like to attend the customer service training at Crayola, which I just learned is a division of Hallmark. Did you know that?

Along with the linen closet being full of fresh, new white towels folded for the first time, is my love for a brand new box of Crayola crayons. I remember being a young girl and absolutely loving the feeling of opening a new box of crayons. There was just something about them all being perfectly sharpened, lined up in their place in the box. Brand new crayons I image brings back memories for you too. Crayola plays a huge part of my childhood memories as I also remember entering a lot of coloring contests for the local grocery store and I also remember the naming contests that Crayola had in the 80’s. It was in the 80’s when Crayola was coming up with new colors and naming them. I also thought if I was selected to name a color, the color I would want to name would be called “blue happiness”. Blue, really navy, has been my favorite color for a really long time, yet so often when I was a little girl, blue was associated with either baby boys or sadness. I thought a deep, dark blue would be cool if it were called blue happiness. Sometimes I wish I would have been able to name a Crayola crayon blue happiness, I think it would be a beautiful color. Blue happiness, I believe, would have been enjoyed by many.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when my daughter asked to purchase a new box of Crayola crayons last night. We were at the store and the aisle was full of Crayola boxes. You remember, the box of 8, 12, 16, 36, 64 and 96 colors (I think I have all the numbers correct, maybe not but you get my point). The big box is always a fun box, after all it has every color imaginable packed into that box and when you open it you see all those colors perfectly lined up – even heights and perfectly sharpened tips. Oh and don’t forget the built in sharpener on the back of the box. There are so many things to be created with that box of crayons. I wanted to say yes to buying them for my daughter. I wanted her to enjoy the neat and tidy feeling of opening a brand new box of Crayola crayons. Yet, the responsible parent in me was thinking we have hundreds of crayons in a plastic bin at home that were still perfectly acceptable for coloring. We had all 96 colors already at home. In fact, we probably had 10 of each of those 96 colors at home. So, I said if she really wanted them she would have to use her own money to purchase them. She thought about it for about five seconds and said “okay, I’ll spend the $8.” So just like that we purchased, well she purchased, a box of 96 Crayola crayons so that she would have a perfect box for herself. She was excited.

I couldn’t blame her for being excited. After all, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She was speaking my language. In fact, I too was kind of excited about the box of crayons. I ensured she knew not to open the top of the box, that she should carefully open where the creases are in the box are so that the top flips open to perfectly showcase the crayons. This, to be honest, might be the very first time that she did the opening of a large box of crayons. I really think in the past I have been selfish and opened them or maybe more accurately it has been that long since we have purchased a new box that she might not have even been old enough to open the box herself. In any event, she somewhat patiently waited to open the box until we got home. After all, the last thing you want to have happen is to drop the box of new crayons when you open them. The worst would be for them to fall out of the box when opening, before you have a chance to appreciate the beauty of seeing them all lined up. Dropping the new crayons would be devastating.

To put this much thought into a box of crayons I know is kind of foolish. Yet, we got home and she finally opened her box. Just as you remembered, the box still is the same as it was 25 years ago …. all those colors just lined up perfectly, neat and tidy. If you haven’t lately, I really do encourage you to purchase a brand new box of 96 Crayola crayons. Open the box and you will know exactly what I am talking about. Crayola didn’t disappoint, my daughter was blessed with the experience of opening a new box of perfect colorful crayons.

Until there it was, she noticed the silver. The silver tip wasn’t quite right. Partly broken. The silver was out of place, like it didn’t belong. I tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal, yet deep down, I too knew that the neat and tidy feeling of the brand new box was ruined. The silver ruined it. Yet, I carried on acting like it was no big deal, tryin to act like it was no big deal. Then the blue, the out of place blue appeared. It was missing the wrapper. Now, a brand new crayon missing a wrapper is kind of a big deal. With no wrapper, it has no name. So the broken silver and the no-named blue, well the box was just not perfect at all.

Kind of joking, my husband said we should notify Crayola. It was 8pm at night so calling the company wasn’t really an option. I looked at the box thinking that I might send an email, but the box said “100% satisfaction guaranteed. If not happy with your purchase, please call …” The business hours are 9a – 4p Eastern Time. I told my daughter that maybe we could call tomorrow. And, just like that we went on with our evening.

Getting ready for school this morning, she asked if I was really going to call Crayola. I said, “I don’t know. Do you think I should?” She said, “Well, yeah, their box says 100% satisfaction guaranteed and having a blue with no name, well, it’s not fair.” She had a point, so I called the number on the bottom of the box. Dialing the number I was thinking what do I say …. we purchased a box of crayons and have a nameless blue. I felt kind of silly calling the customer service number. I thought about hanging up.

For a brief moment, I thought about naming the nameless blue “blue happiness” because really what are the odds that my daughter would purchase a box of crayons and have a darker blue missing it’s wrapper to make it a nameless blue? After just two rings an automated voice answered the phone … press 4 for quality issues and concerns. I pushed four.

Before I knew it, I was talking to a real person. I quickly explained that my 10-year-old daughter purchased a box of 96 crayons last night and we have a blue missing the wrapper and a silver with a broken tip. The woman on the other end of the phone immediately says, “Every box should be perfect. Please tell your daughter we are sorry for the mishap.” She let me know that a coupon would be mailed to us so that a new box could be purchased. I thanked her for her kindness and admitted that I was a little hesitant to call in the first place. She said, “It’s good that you called. That is the best part, opening a perfect box of colorful crayons, so we will make this right.” I was surprised, yet I really shouldn’t have been, that the people at Crayola know and acknowledge that is the best part of their product – opening a new box. We ended the call with her saying “Thank you for choosing Crayola and have a colorful day.”

Just like that, my daughter was excited about the pending new box. She thought it was fantastic that they are sending her a coupon. And, a bonus she learned what good customer service means. Life lessons, continue to be everywhere, all we have to do is pay attention. I really do wish you all will take the time to purchase a new box of crayons and remember that feeling of childhood. The feeling that there is so much creativity  to be had once that box is opened.

To the folks of Crayola, thank you for providing amazing customer service and for allowing the kid in all of us to continue to live.

As our friends from Crayola say, “may you have a colorful day!”

 

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