A good boss is the one who helps his subordinates. I witnessed a perfect example of that at the Anoka Auto Zone by Ferry Street. It was seven degrees outside when I pulled up in front of the auto retail store to get new wiper blades and a battery check. After checking the battery, the auto sales representative, Steve said to me, “Your battery is weak; although, it is not bad, you can still get some use out of it.” I hesitated. I had been stranded too many times, especially during this fierce winter season as a result of dead car. Few days ago, I had to call for help from a friend, Annette, who drove all the way from Andover to Anoka with her husband, Jim, to help me jumpstart my car.
Noticing quickly that I was skeptical about keeping the battery, he asked, “Does it not work after you have parked it for a long time, like two weeks or more? Or, does it just stop working each time you park it?” he was trying to find out why I was hesitant to see if I should proceed for a purchase. I told him, “The car just wouldn’t start sometimes. I don’t have to park it for long. During the winter season, it has been acting out badly and I have been stranded many times.” He said, “Okay, let’s look at the batteries available. Then, I asked, “Will you change it for me?” He responded, “Yes. Then, we went back into the store.
When I first I entered the store to get attention from the sales representatives, he was the first to come forward, but he was kind of a little bit nervous. I could tell he was probably a new staff at the store. One of his colleagues nudges him forward with his hands to take on the job. Sheepishly, he said, “Hello, how can we help you?” I told him that I wanted wiper blades and needed my battery checked to see if I needed a new one.
“No problem,” he said. “What is the make of the car?” He asked. “2009 KIA Spectra, I replied.” I was looking at the computer screen as he searched for wiper blades. There were various price ranges and I chose the range within my budget. It was about $17. He went into the display area and picked the wiper blades, then came back to look for the battery tester tool. He seemed to have a little trouble finding the tool, but one of his colleagues pointed it out to him. As he grabbed it to go outside with me, a female colleague advised him to leave the wiper blades on the cash register first, check on the battery to see if I would be making a purchase, so that I could pay for both at once. Then, he turned to me to ask, “Would you like to buy a new battery if you needed one?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Okay,” left the wiper blades on the cash register and proceeded to go out.
I followed him and quickly went to open the car to get the bonnet open. After, we agreed that I wanted a new battery; he went back to his computer to search for the right one. Thereafter, he went to get the new battery to install in my car. I paid for the battery and wiper blades, including a car tune for my gas tank. Installing the battery in seven degrees weather in Minnesota was not fun. Steve did not have gloves on and taking the old battery was not too difficult but putting the new one in was like a herculean task. He seemed to be struggling with it. I had to go inside the shop with my son to wait, and watch as he tried to install the battery.
“I wish that I could help. I wish it was summer and not winter,” I thought, as I pitied him for struggling with the installation in such a cold weather condition outside. He took several trips back and forth the store to get one tool or the other to work. At some point, I heard one of his colleagues said, “Good night boss.” I looked to see who the boss was, and I found that it was an older man who was attending to a customer at the cash register when I had walked into the shop. He impressed me when he got to Steve and stopped. I was watching to see if he would stop to give him a hand or just say good night and walk away. He was the good boss. He stopped. He then, gave Steve a hand. He was working on it for a while when another colleague of Steve went outside to join them.
At last, the new battery was installed. The colleague who went outside asked if I had paid for the battery, and I said, “Yes, do you want to see the receipt?” He said, “Yes,” and I reached in my purse to get the receipt. When I handed over the receipt to him, he held onto it. So, I asked, “Can I have my receipt back?” He said, “Yes, but I need to give you back $15. I was surprised. I said, “I bought wiper blades too.” He said, I know, but I still need to give you $15 back. Well, it turned out that he actually gave me $16 and some cents. While he was giving me the change, I saw Steve and his boss coming into the store. I asked his colleague who was giving me money back for the name of the boss, and he said, “Jeff.” I said, “He is a good guy.” He replied, “Yes.”
I could not help myself, when Jeff came in, I said to him, “You are a very good boss. Thank you so much. He smiled and said, “Thank you.” Meanwhile, I had reached in my purse for a little tip for Steve for the work on the car. I gave him my little tip and said, “It’s a tip for you. Thank you so much.” He replied with a smile too, “Thank you.” I left the store and went to start my car. The car started with a very nice sound, so I knew the old battery was not just weak, but was almost bad. I tried my wiper blades, which flew on the windshield. Then, one of Steve’s colleagues, who had gone out to install it ran out to fix it. I came out of the car to ask what was wrong with it, and he said, “Sorry about that, I just put it there, I couldn’t install it when the bonnet was up.” He fixed it and I was a happy customer. I waved bye to them, Steve came out to ask if the battery was working, and Jeff, who was back outside to leave, said, “Yes.” I waved goodbye to them, smiling. Happy that they did an impressive job, I drove away.
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