I am always quick to write a seething letter of complaint when I don’t receive good service from anyone. Most of the time it’s the large companies like Verizon and AT&T or my local supermarket, Stop & Shop. I am also just as quick to write a letter of praise when someone goes above and beyond to help me out, instead of just saying, “if it isn’t on the shelf, we don’t have it.” Eddie Reyes is my “go to guy” at Stop & Shop and I wanted to let corporate headquarters know it. He helped me on quite a few occasions and they have a program to recognize employees, so I wrote a letter.
I sang the praises of Eddie Reyes and I write a damn good letter, if I say so myself. Eddie doesn’t just stop what he is doing to help me out with his department, he will help me with anything I need in the store. Many times, when Breyers was on sale, they didn’t have the flavor my daughter loves best. I have gone to Eddie and asked for the Vanilla Fudge Twirl and after he checks to see if it’s there, he will go to the back and bring me out four boxes! One day, I asked him for frozen spinach and he told me they stopped carrying it, but he goes to the back to get me frozen artichoke hearts, which they must be hiding like buried treasure, and sneaks them into my cart. Artichoke hearts are delicious in scrambled eggs and my mother made those sandwiches for me and my father. It brought back memories and I went home to make them for myself and my husband. This kind of things happens all the time.
This past December, right before Christmas, the store had put the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee on sale for $5 a bag! I told my husband I was going to get two at that price and put them in my older daughter’s stocking for Christmas. She loves that coffee. When I get to the store and walk down the coffee aisle, there’s no Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee…just the sign saying it’s on sale. I can tell you I was disappointed and disgusted. It’s not the first time a sale item was not available, but I wanted it and needed it that day. As I walked around doing the rest of my shopping, I spot Eddie and ask him about the coffee, even though it’s not his department. He says he heard they hadn’t gotten the shipment in, but it will be here next week. I told him yes, but I wanted it get it today for Christmas and I thanked him anyway. A couple of aisles later I see Eddie coming towards me and he says the guy is putting out the coffee now and if I want it I can go over and get it! I was happy and told him I was going to write a letter for him to the company, he always helps me out. He was happy to hear that and he thanked me.
After putting my groceries away I head to the computer to get my letter out. I told them of all the times Eddie has helped me, no matter what department or item was missing. I wrote about how professional and friendly he always is and what an asset he is to their company. I even suggest they should consider him for a store manager. Off the letter went, but I never heard back from the store.
In mid January I spot Eddie walking past me, head down, and I walk over to him to say hello. I told him I wrote that letter for him. He said he knew and thanked me. He told me they were putting it up in the front of the store, but when he had checked it wasn’t up yet. Then he says, they gave him a ten dollar gift certificate. I said what? Ten dollars? He said yes. I felt he was embarrassed and then I felt bad that my writing him a letter really did more harm than good. In my mind the ten dollar gift certificate was like a slap in the face or showed him how little the company thought of him. I was pretty angry. I told him I didn’t understand because I wrote a very good letter and I hope he gets to see it. We parted ways and I just couldn’t forget about it. I was determined to give corporate headquarters a piece of my mind!
The next day I called the number and explained my situation and why I was upset. They explained their position. They have a number of different ways for managers to recognize employees for good performance. They can’t give out big awards for letters of praise because they get many and also friends and family would be writing in for employees. They say it’s gotten to the point that when an employee does their job or goes above and beyond like they are supposed to, people think that that has to be rewarded, when it’s something they are supposed to do. They tell me the ten dollars is a token of their appreciation for a job well done and it’s equivalent to a free lunch.
What I got from that call is that they must get lots of people like me calling because they got that script down pat! All my comments were falling on deaf ears and I wasn’t going to get anywhere. Their policy is set in stone and I just had to accept it. I tried to do a good thing, but I think I just ended up making Eddie feel bad. I haven’t seen him as much lately, so I don’t know.
Eddie Reyes, you do a damn good job, and I think you are an exceptional employee, even if Stop & Shop doesn’t do a better job of acknowledging you.