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When a Customer Says, “I Lost My Gift Certificate”

We still use paper gift certificates. Say what you will about that, but that’s our system. We create both the voucher and a receipt, but we’re really clear at the time that they aren’t tracked, and “Don’t lose it!”

That way of doing things has served us well for 24.5 years now.

This week a customer came in and said she’d lost her daughter’s. “I think it went out in recycling;” she said. She’s been a loyal, regular customer for almost all these years, and another daughter worked for us years back.

In that moment I wanted to communicate two things.

1) We do have policies. I told her that when I explain the policy to people, they often go home and actually find the thing. The exceptions don’t really happen all that much.

2) We are a place of grace.

Despite the policies which represent equity and justice, there is room for grace. So I allowed her the purchase, and as it turned out, her daughter chose three extremely high margin sale items. (It’s nice being an outlet store as well as a full-service Christian bookstore.)

We work within a retail business model, but my hope is that we do this with love and grace.

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