Letters From Leton: Best if Used By

My lovely bride and I have a running debate regarding the “Best if Used By” date on products. I present vast research, blogs and comments about the fact that is ok to use after the Best If Used By date. She in turn tells me no. She always wins this debate.

Earlier this month I picked up some groceries I ordered via the online shopping program from a local grocery store. When I got home and started putting the groceries away, I noticed right away that the eggs were dated November the 4th – the very next day!

The next day (the fourth), I walked into the grocery store with my receipt and order list and shared it with the manager. He apologized and gave me some new eggs (Best If Used By date November 22nd).

That same day I went by a large lumber hardware company to pick up some highway cones with reflective tape (long story which may be the subject of a future letter). Now I know where the 2 by 4s, plumbing supplies, etc. are in the store, but traffic cones –  not so much.

I asked one associate where the cones might be. “Aisle 16,” he said after looking on his company device. I went to aisle 16. No cones. 

I ventured to aisle 15, aisle 14, aisle 17 – no cones. I spoke to another associate and shared that I had been told the cones were in aisle 16. No, he said they were in aisle 15. I went back to aisle 15 thinking I had overlooked. Not there.

I spoke to another person who subsequently identified himself as “just a vendor” and not an employee of the business, but he also thought the cones were in aisle 15. 

Finally, I took to my cell phone out and Googled the store and the cones and found that yes, they did have 4 of the cones I was looking for, but no location was identified inside the store.

In one final (herculean) effort, I spoke to another person (in the carpet area). He said he thought aisle 15. No, I said, been there. He told me to follow him.

We went to another aisle that had lots of home protection stuff (fire extinguishers, bedroom ladders), and voila, there were the cones! But instead of 4 they only had 1 of the type I was looking for. I got that cone and a couple of similar cones and completed my shopping.

In banking, in business, or in life do we do what is best for the customer? Would you have checked the dates on the eggs before you put them in the buggy for me?

I have always taken the approach (called “fiduciary” in our industry) to do for others what I would have others do for me (you know that reference source).

Just as frustrating as getting our of date eggs is going into or calling a business to find out about or locate an item or information. How many wrong aisles have you been sent down in your lifetime? How many times have you been transferred via phone from one person to another? Dealt with associates who lacked knowledge or, even worse, didn’t care?

Do we (me, you, the Bank) ever fit that description? Not using or knowing our products and services – including new services – so we can help our customers? 

What do our customers say about us?

As frustrating as these 2 experiences were for me, I did have 2 great service experiences this week which I will share in an upcoming letter.

Stay safe.

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.