Humor by Mark Bazer

"As a valued customer it is important to us that you are Completely Satisfied with your recent transaction. You have received this e-mail invitation to provide feedback on your recent in-store accessory purchase . . . with the AT&T representative JEN JOHNSON *. We ask that only the person that completed this recent in-store accessory purchase complete this short online survey." -- an e-mail from AT&T

Dear AT&T,

Thank you so much for asking me to fill out your short online survey concerning my recent in-store accessory purchase. I wasn't just completely satisfied; I was also, as I know is important to you, Completely Satisfied.

I have filled out your survey -- which was Completely Satisfying in and of itself -- and would like to thank you for offering me up to 5,000 characters to weigh in more substantially on my experience.

As you well know, purchasing a protective case for a phone can be an alternately daunting and thrilling experience. Do I want a soft case or a hard case? Should I go with my favorite color, or do I risk liking my favorite color less if I buy too many things in it? Is $29 a fair price for a piece of plastic whose only special attribute is that it's just a tiny bit larger than my phone?

These and other questions raced through my brain as I stood before the seven or so different options. Each protective case had so much to offer! No representative offered assistance, as they knew this was a decision I and I alone had to make.

And oh did I make it! I picked out a case that can only be described as black.

I brought my case up to the cash register, in particular to AT&T representative Jen Johnson, and this, I believe, is the part of the experience you are most interested in. HOW DID JEN JOHNSON DO?

As you see in the survey, I bestowed upon Jen high marks for her friendliness, courteousness, her understanding of my needs, her ability to fully explain and demonstrate the features of my new accessory, and my overall satisfaction with her performance.

But allow me to elaborate.

My experience with Jen Johnson began the moment I placed the case on the counter and said, "I would like to purchase this."

At which point -- and I may be paraphrasing here -- Jen Johnson said, "OK."

I knew then that everything about this accessory purchase was going to be just fine.

Jen Johnson then asked for my phone number, which I gave her. She then began typing something on her computer, which, looking back now, I realize was my phone number. With my account "pulled up," she scanned in my accessory's barcode. She then told me how much money I owed your store for the accessory. I paid her that amount, she placed the accessory in a bag, and we parted.

The way the whole thing went down reminded me, in a very powerful way, of other times I have bought things.

Still, your survey has prodded me to think long and hard about what made my experience at your store so positive. Perhaps -- and I hope I'm not evading the question -- it's what Jen Johnson didn't do that was so impressive.

For example, she didn't hit me. She didn't bring up any painful high school memories I have. She also never once hissed.

Oh, and she didn't awkwardly hand over my change, forcing it to fall out of my hand and behind the register. Of course, I used a credit card. But had I paid with cash, I am confident the results would have been the same.

In short, if I am ever in need of a new phone accessory, I will certainly visit your store and Jen Johnson, unless I am physically closer to another store that also sells phone accessories.

* Name changed

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