Customer Service 101

Stormy weather on the customer service front.

Remember those threatening storm clouds that rolled over town last Saturday morning. They popped off some lightning bolts, rumbled with thunder and then, just as Canadian Tire was full of folks doing last-minute Father’s Day shopping, inside the store there was a momentary blackout.

Simultaneously there was an audible sigh as everybody in the store realized what it meant. The store’s entire electrical system – from lighting, to security alarms to cash registers – would have to reboot before things got back to normal. What was worse, with everything at a standstill, the line-up at the checkouts was growing fast.

Almost as quickly, with the temperature among impatient customers (and the store itself because the air conditioning also had to reboot), a guy in a blue Canadian Tire shirt slipped past the queue, grabbed an armful of bottled water and began handing out the bottles for free.

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” Kevin the store manager said. “We should have things back to normal in a couple of minutes.”

Tipping point

The Hobby Horse Arms in Uxbridge.
The Hobby Horse Arms in Uxbridge.

A Friday or two ago, after my wife and I had each endured a long, tough week, the two of us decided we needed a break. We chose not to eat in, but to treat ourselves. We dropped by the Hobby Horse, a local pub in Uxbridge, to enjoy a favourite beverage and meal and some relaxing down time. Of course, part of the experience of treating ourselves included enjoying one of the best servers in town – B.J. Byers.

“Hey, how are two of my favourite regulars?” B.J. said as we walked in.

“Great… now,” I responded.

Champions of a dream

Don Harron collaborated with Norman Campbell to produce the first TV version of "Anne of Green Gables" for CBC in 1956.
Don Harron collaborated with Norman Campbell to produce the first TV version of "Anne of Green Gables" for CBC in 1956.

It was 1956. Television was in its infancy. Canadian programs such as Cross-Canada Hit Parade, Front Page Challenge, The Big Revue and, yes, the Barris Beat, were new on the tube. This country’s actors, singers, dancers, writers and directors were just getting their show-business legs in a new medium. One of its rising stars, a multi-faceted comedic actor named Don Harron, happened to meet another up-and-comer, producer Norman Campbell.

“What am I going to do?” Campbell asked Harron. “I’ve got 90 minutes of time to fill on CBC TV and no program.”

“I’ve got an idea,” Harron said. “Let’s put ‘Anne of Green Gables’ on TV.”