The Great Bean Search


When I relocated to Dallas from Miami, one of my main goals was to find out where to get “my stuff”.  There’s definitely no shortage of places to get things here, but I wanted “my” things.  A good Cuban sandwich.  Fresh salt bagels.  A real Italian cannoli.  Coal fired pizza.  A little food-obsessed?  Maybe.

On one of many treks to get some of “my stuff”, my cravings brought me to the local grocery store in search of lupini beans.  Relatively easy to find in any grocery store back home, I found it was not the case, here in the big D.  Not seeing them, I asked an employee, who politely pointed me to the canned goods aisle.  An honest attempt, but any lupini-loving American knows that you don’t find jarred lupinis in the canned goods aisle.  I had other stuff to find and my delight in locating them distracted me.  Mojo sauce.  Gnocchi.  I’ll get those beans next time.

On my next trip, my cravings starting to get real, I asked another employee.  He had never heard of them and was curious.  Well, sir, “They come in a glass jar.  They’re soaked in salt water.  Umm…you kind of pop them open with your teeth.”  I hadn’t really ever tried to describe these to anyone, and realized now how ridiculously unappetizing they sounded.  Either way, this poor disgusted man whisked me over to the pickle aisle, then down to the International aisle and when he seemed sufficiently puzzled, I graciously released him to the throes of other hungry housewives and lost souls of the dairy department.

I found myself back at the store.  Does anyone else feel like they are in the grocery store like 4 times a week?  They should be paying ME to shop there.  Anyway, pushing back my fears of being branded the bean lady, I ask one more time.  I wasn’t planning to.  Really.  But, the cashier asked if I had found everything I needed.  I always secretly wondered what they would do if I said, “Nope.  Can you get these 10 things for me?”  But, she asked.  So, I told her about my great bean search.  She had never heard of these seemingly elusive beans, but said the store could order them for me.  She called her manager over.  He seemed genuinely interested and not the least bit squeamish about my beloved beans.  He said he could, in fact, order them.  And he did.  And the next week, when I saw those lovely jars of legumes on the shelf, I bought them.  Every.  Single.  One.

Along each step of my journey, each employee was kind and attempted to address my expressed need.  But not until the third time, did someone reach out and go that one extra step, the action that made all the difference.  And that’s usually all it is.  One.  Extra.  Step.  Fast forward to my rapidly growing suburban area.  A newer, fancier grocery store opens up.  I try it.  It’s pretty spectacular.  But, I return to “my” store because that one time, someone went that one extra step and ordered “my stuff”.

Corporations spend millions on client retention, loyalty marketing, referral rewards.  What they don’t get is they don’t need millions to offer a great customer experience.  They just need one.  One.  Extra.  Step.  Imagine if every employee, every day, took one extra step.  How far would your business go?

At Gehan Homes, we encourage our employees to step outside their box and take that extra step that makes a difference to someone.  I hope your experience at Gehan Homes is one where you can recall where someone went that one extra step for you.