Courtesy Always Pays Dividends
the industry's quirkier examples of performance-based management, as told in a front-page story on Oct. 26, 1964, involved a produce clerk in a Daitch Crystal Dairies store in New York -- who was bequeathed $10,000 by a grateful customer. In today's dollars, that inheritance would exceed $55,000. After 16 years of service to the chain, the clerk was richly rewarded for his consistent courtesy and attendance; the patron who left him the money referred to the sum as a remembrance for his continued service over the years.
While the story smacks more of a Hollywood fantasy that an actual event, it points to an interesting customer-service point. Daitch in turn used the occasion as part of a customer-service campaign it had implemented in stores called the Mrs. Courtesy contest. The campaign used undercover shoppers to test clerks' performance. The chain intended to use the story as part of its in-house public relations activities. It is doubtful that the chain could have guessed how ironically appropriate one of its signature sayings, "Courtesy pays -- wear a big smile -- say thank you," would prove to be both literally and in terms of publicity.