Would You Lose a Tenant or Resident for 27 Cents?

My local dry cleaner was sold. The previous owners were friendly, affable and customer-oriented. For example, while dressing for the PMA Holiday Ball, the button on my tux jacket fell off. I don’t know how to sew, so I made a quick dash to the dry cleaner and arrived one minute before closing. I walked in and asked if they could attach the button to my jacket. Because by then it was after closing time, they could of easily said no. Instead, their response was, “No problem.” In less than a minute a potentially embarrassing situation was eliminated. When I asked how much I owed for the service, I was told, “No charge.”

When the business changed hands, the new owners performed a cosmetic remodel, increased prices by 30 percent and demonstrated a 180 degree turn around in attitude. The sign in the window claims operating hours are 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. Rarely do they actually open at 7 a.m. during the week, which is the time I would usually arrive for drop off or pick up.

Under the previous owners, when you walked in, you were greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. The new owners simply ask you for your phone number, no hello, no attempt to engage, no effort to establish a relationship and no thank you after you pay. Nonetheless I continued to patronize the business because of convenience, until two weeks ago. I went in to drop off clothes like I have done almost every week since the new owners acquired the business. The owner knows me by face but not by name. When I pulled out my credit card to pay for clothes I was picking up, the owner told me that my bill was only $8 and the business has a rule that it will not take credit cards for amounts less than $10. I replied, “You’re kidding right? I don’t have any cash right now.” I was then offered, as a compromise, the opportunity to prepay for the laundry I had just dropped off to meet the minimum. I offered instead to go to the ATM next door and get the cash I needed to pay my $8 bill.

I then thought about the owner of the business. She obviously knew that I was annoyed but offered no reasonable remedy. She elected to piss off a customer because she did not want to pay a 27-cent commission on a credit card transaction. As a result, she lost a steady customer who has frequented that business location for more than 20 years. What policies and procedures do you have that only serve your interest to the detriment of those who pay the bills every month? What are you going to do to change?