Hot Buttered Customer Service

Don Doman

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"Sixteen squirts. "

I didn't know what my wife was talking about. I was busy counting out money for my popcorn at the AMC refreshment stand. “He put sixteen squirts of butter in your popcorn, " she answered my confused expression.

I looked over as the movie attendant filled my small bag of popcorn with more popcorn and then squirted in more butter. I had asked for “lots of butter. " I don't usually get it. This time, I got it.

I received the bag and carried it like a bag of gold dust. It was almost that heavy. The bag was warm and a wonderful smell drifted up to my face.

I entered the darkened theatre and walked down the aisle lifting the bag to my mouth so my tongue could pick up the fluffy popped kernels as I looked for a seat. I felt like an anteater at a buttered ant buffet.

I sat down and began my meal.

Food for the gods. Ambrosia. Richness you can only dream about. Each flavorful handful made its way to my mouth. Ecstasy. It was as if each individual piece had been hand-buttered. Perfection only lasts for so long, however . . . even in a movie theatre. As I got down a few inches, I had to shake off the excess butter. When I reached the half-way point, I had to squeeze out the butter so that I could make it to my lips without dripping all over my shirt. I made it to the three-quarter point and my hot buttered popcorn had turned to fondue. I wanted to continue, but I had to stop. Manfully I thought of drinking it, but reason entered the picture. I put a wad of napkins inside and folded over the top of the bag. I sat it down beside my seat. The buttered popcorn was on my mind for the rest of the movie.

I thought about the popcorn, the young man who applied the rich buttery coating and their relationship to customer service. It's not often we get what we ask for. Our wishes and desires are granted so rarely that we are unprepared for it when we find it. That's why when we receive great customer service - someone actually listening to what we're saying and requesting, and then delivering it - we're completely surprised and gratified.

After the movie I picked up my bag and took it out into the hallway. I opened it up and looked down into the glowing golden soup. The napkins had wicked up some of the liquid. I threw them away. The bottom two inches of the bag, which amazingly enough wasn't leaking, was more butter than popcorn. I reverently folded up the bag and reached down inside the garbage container and placed it on the bottom. I didn't want to spill a drop.

Sometimes customer service means just giving a few more squirts of butter.

Author Don Doman: Don is a published author of books for small business, corporate video producer, and owner of Ideas and Training (, which provides business training products. Don also owns and Human Resources Radio (, which provides business training programs and previews 24-hours a day.


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