July 5, 2011

Matt, we love you

I got the best phone call of all time this morning. Well, technically I’m the one who placed the call, but it left me with a happy buzz for the rest of the day.

Before I elaborate, Matt, let me assure you, we’re not in any way poking fun at you. There’s a serious moral to this story. I’m serious about that coffee. Come by and we’ll laugh about this together.

As you may know we’re a total hassle when it comes to paper receipts. We’re always happy to hand write a receipt, or we can have a receipt emailed to you, but we don’t print receipts automatically. There are a few reasons forthis. (1) We don’t want to waste paper. We were sick of throwing away 90% of the receipts we printed. (2) We want to save money, that receipt paper costs dough. And we’d rather spend it on the food. (3) Operationally receipts are a hassle.

So we’ve been working on an electronic receipt system. And it looks like we have some kinks to work out. I got an email from Matt this morning about an overcharge.

I screwed up by (1) asking him for more info. (2) Trying to explain I couldn’t issue a refund without credit card info, and (3) by asking if this was a prank phone call. To be fair, we were talking about a $0.35 charge on his credit card, that was correct (we charged him $10.70 for 2 sandwiches, which are properly $5 each + 7% tax). The receipt however said the total was $10.35 (that bug I was talking about). So anyway, I managed to make Matt very very mad. Not on purpose, but this was the type of phone call that required me to turn down the volume on my headset.

But here’s the really important part of the story, and why I’m posting it here. Matt yelled at me for something like 25 minutes straight. And it was pretty ridiculous. But I stuck with it, because I’m committed to you all, thick and thin. And here’s the best part. There was a turn in the conversation. Matt went from saying things like “who taught you to run a business?” to “you run a great business.” From “you’re wasting my time, why are you wasting my time?” to “I’m sorry, this is silly, I’m wasting your time.” From “YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO ASK ME IF THIS IS A PRANK CALL!!!” to “I can see why you asked if this was a prank call.”

And you know what made that turn happen? I treated him like a person. I asked what he wanted from this. I asked him about where he lived (I needed his address to mail his check for $0.35), and I asked what businesses he ran (he’d mentioned many times that he runs businesses and would never run them like this). And after a pause everything changed.

The lesson, we all just need to find ways to talk to one another as people. It’s so easy to get yourself worked up and ready to chew out some customer service rep. But it’s a little different when you start thinking of that person as your neighbor. We want to be your neighbor. It’s beautiful what can happen when you get there. Thanks Matt, you made my day. And I’m serious about buying you a coffee. Let me know next time you’re by.

Recent Posts

May 24, 2023
I recently learned that garlic has 4 stages that it goes through on its journey to become the cured stuff you’re probably used to seeing. This year I learned about Green Garlic. It’s the mild, sweet, un-cured bulb, plus the fresh green shoots. We got our hands on a super limited crop from Red Fire out in Granby, and so we decided to see if we could incorporate it into every single different type of box we make next week…
May 23, 2023
We’ve intentionally steered clear of bowls for a long time. If you see Ayr tomorrow, ask him why : ) Tomorrow (5/24) we’re starting a 2-week test of bowls at CloverNTV, our restaurant in Newtonville. If it goes well, this could represent the beginning of one of the bigger changes our menu has EVER seen. We’re hoping we’ve cracked the code to bowls that are seasonal, carefully-composed, easy to carry, and craveable – all the things we love about bowls, and none of the things we don’t.
May 18, 2023
I used to eat Cheesy Grits almost every morning, and if you were eating with us around 2017, I bet you did too. We took our Plimoth-ground-grits off the menu for a little while, but now they’re back at all locations (except for the HUB for the time being). Stop in for breakfast during the next 2 weeks – we’re aiming for these to be hot and ready at 8am and we’ll be selling them til they’re out. The staff has been waking up extra early and adding a lot of extra whisking to their mornings, so we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve never had our Cheesy Grits before, here are some things you should know….
May 16, 2023
What is Chris eating? When we toured the field at Siena, the crew was planting dahlia tubers. They get planted in warm soil, will grow all summer and will be ready for harvest in the fall. They reminded us of sunchokes, so we got to talking about whether the tubers are edible and it turns out they are! Are they delicious?
May 15, 2023
Do you want a beautiful box of produce for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store? Do you want to invest in a farm’s success and be with them throughout the harvest season? Do you think you hate eggplants but you’ve just never had a good one? It might be time to look into a CSA (or farmshare).
May 5, 2023
I remember exactly the moment we started celebrating May the 4th (“May the Force” be with you). We were on a planning call about meal boxes and we were talking about how we were going to launch our Taco Tuesday program on Cinco de Mayo (May the 5th). Chris accidentally said “May the 4th” and Ayr said, “May the 4th! We should do a Star Wars Box!”
April 24, 2023
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know we hate waste. Most of the time, minimizing waste is pretty unglamorous, but every once in a while our mission to reduce waste takes us to some very cool places. I look after Clover’s grocery marketplaces (including our Assembly Row grocery store). A few months ago I noticed that the marketplaces were going through a lot of our paper bags. They’re compostable, which is great. But I think the best bag is one you can use over and over again.
April 22, 2023
Few people know that Clover is environmental activism. This is by design.  And it works. We do these customer surveys and see that 9 out of 10 Clover customers are NOT vegetarian. Yet I’m constantly troubled by conflicting feelings about the approach we’ve taken.
April 10, 2023
Over the next 3 weeks, on a rolling schedule, most Clovers are going to be giving out a free hot or cold George Howell Montecarlos coffee to anyone who stops in between opening and 11 am. No strings— we just want to see you all and talk about coffee!! George Howell’s Montecarlos is a single-origin coffee we love for our pour-overs…
March 30, 2023
Each year, early spring is a busy time at the Clover kitchen because we have 2 of our tastiest boxes, usually back-to-back. For the Passover box, a lot of care goes into the kashering of the kitchen, with Rabbi Dolinger coming in to ensure the box is totally Kosher for Passover via Lighthouse Kosher.
March 15, 2023
That photo is corn fritters drizzled with maple syrup. We just started frying them up for a 2pm special – and they’re an element of our Maple Meal Box. If you head away from the city this time of year, you’ll see signs for sugar shacks, where maple sap gets boiled down into syrup and little restaurants pop up to serve pancakes, corn fritters, cider donuts, and dill pickles (to cut through the sweetness of the fresh syrup).
February 28, 2023
You’ve been asking! And finally we can announce: sunchokes are here, starting tomorrow, 3/1. Thanks to Pete’s Greens in VT for getting us local sunchokes. At breakfast we’ll be making The Sunchoke Truffle: fluffy house-baked pita, creamy truffled butter, caramelized onions, a 6.5 minute egg, and thin, crispy sunchoke slices. At lunch and dinner: The Sunchoke Mushroom: scallion-black-pepper mayo, fresh arugula, roasted crimini mushrooms, fried brined onions, and roasted sunchokes. But what IS a sunchoke?