The Pooh Power of Really Good Service


“Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do, got a honey jar stuck on his nose.”   

This article really should be no surprise. After all, American business was built on providing high quality service.

But as most of us over 60 have come to see, the computer/voicemail age has added to the stress of trying to navigate the unfamiliar paths of transacting what should be a simple transaction. I do not blame the companies for this, I blame the attorneys tasked with the goal of protecting the company at all costs from those few deviants who try to take advantage of even the smallest loophole.

I will admit that, in this day of fast food and immediate Google responses, my expectations for service are higher than my father’s. He sometimes had to wait a week just to get a simple thing like a purchase order processed due to snail mail and ancient copy machines.

So my wife, Wendy, and I sat down to complete a financial transaction with a company in Texas. It was the jar on our nose.  If this were a cartoon, I would be Eeyore, the continual dismal outlooking stuffed donkey while Wendy would be more like Pooh, the optimistic if somewhat naïve positive bear.

Outside, the sun disappeared behind the thick grey clouds of an impending rainstorm.

As we navigated three times the company’s demonic phone tree (Choose one to end the world, choose two to only blow up China), my blood pressure rose in leaps and bounds, and even Wendy’s sunny, eternal optimism wavered.

Finally, we chose option seven on the tree (speak to a live human being), hoping it wasn’t some sort of gag. The Google reviews of the company stated quite plainly that the odds of actually talking to a live human were akin to getting a hole in one on a long Par 3 hole in golf. In short, Not Bloody Likely.

We waited, and waited, and waited. Of course, we heard “Your call is very important to us” at least six times and my temper became shorter with each bounce.

Finally, some squeaky-voiced kid picked up the phone, and I’m thinking we will be passed around to his elders a few times in an endless ring-around-the rosie.

Then something remarkable happened. The kid (Jordan) actually seemed interested. In fact, the little pipsqueak seemed knowledgeable. Even friendly. Obstacles arose, (something about cookies was the worst) and Jordan slowly and calmly worked with us. Patiently worked for us.

More obstacles, more calmness, more solutions. More patience. Finally, the last keystroke was tapped and the transaction’s success was verified. Eeyore smiled. Winnie the Pooh danced. The sun even shone through the clouds (not kidding) at that exact moment.

Jordan, age 21, most likely an intern, had showed me, a weather-beaten dismal-outlook old guy, that there, indeed was hope. Americans still do their jobs, and most of them really care. After a few seconds of small talk, I said, “Jordan, I know you can’t see us give you a standing ovation, but here you are.” 

And with that Eeyore and Pooh gave a 10-second clap over the phone to a kid 1,000 miles away.

We wrote a public recommendation for Jordan. If he is the face of the company, then it is a great company. All because of his smiley, can-do attitude. It was the least we could do. It was the most we could do.

Kenny Loggins, who was 17 years old at the time, wrote a song about his favorite childhood characters – Christopher Robin, Pooh, Eeyore and Owl, among them. It’s a wistful song, made famous by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as well as Loggins & Messina, about the days when life’s problems could be easily solved.

Sometimes, it seems like those simpler days are gone forever.

Thanks, Jordan, for getting us back to Pooh Corner, if only for a little while.

YouTube video: House at Pooh Corner – Loggins and Messina (Live 1972 – HQ – HDS).wmv – YouTube