Random Acts of WOWness

I received an inspiring story from Martha, who works on the graveyard shift… I thought I would share it on my blog. Here’s what Martha emailed me:

——-
Tony,

I just have to share with you something that happened last Tuesday morning when I got off work.

But first, we have to go back to 1984 when I spent 7 weeks traveling around Europe. I had spent all of my money by the time I got on a plane in Frankfurt, Germany. We landed in London and had to get off of the plane while we were there for about an hour and then we were going on to Los Angeles. I got thirsty but knew that I only had my lucky dollar and a bunch of foreign coins in the bottom of my handbag. I spotted a snack bar and a sign said “FOREIGN MONEY ACCEPTED.” I got a coke, and started drinking it as I waited in line to pay. I had drank more than half of it when I got to the register and spotted a sign that said “NO FOREIGN COINS, PAPER CURRENCY ONLY.” I had nothing but my lucky dollar and was not going to part with it. I tried to get the cashier to take ALL of my coins which would surely been enough to cover the price of the coke times over but she said no.

Finally, a gentlemen in line behind me said that he would pay for my coke. I thanked him and tried to give him all my foreign coins. He would not take them and told me to just do a favor for someone else. He said just do random acts of kindness for others. Throughout my life I have tried to follow his suggestion as much as possible. It doesn’t always mean paying for something for someone, many things you can do are free. Examples: Bringing your neighbor’s trash can back from the curb, bringing their newspaper to the door, opening a door for someone, or just putting a smile on someone’s face. It can involve money. Examples: The person in front of you in line may need a penny or a few cents so that they don’t have to break a dollar, pay for someone’s coke, etc.

Okay, back to what happened on Tuesday morning. I stopped at Walgreens down the street. I had a ton of stuff to get. When I got to the register, 2 people got in line behind me. I let them both go first rather than wait on me. Then it was my turn. I was about a third of the way into being checked out when an older gentleman got in line. He had 2 cans of peanuts, some salve and a chapstick. I turned to him and told him to give them to me. He had a strange look on his face and asked me why. I told him that I was going to pay for them so that he didn’t have to wait for me to get checked out. He asked why. Out of my mouth came “It’s a random act of Wowness” I totally meant to say “Random act of kindness,” but because of working here at Zappos , the word “WOW” came out. Rather than correct what I said, I just went with it. He handed me his items, I had the cashier scan them and put them in bag and I gave them to the gentleman. He said “Tell me about this “Random acts of Wowness” I explained that it was doing nice things for people, even strangers. I briefly told him about my experience in London. He was so grateful, thanked me and left the store. Then the cashier asked me more about this “Random acts of Wowness” I explained that I worked at Zappos and that we WOW our customers.

I feel that I shared this Wowness with 2 people and that they BOTH will play it forward. (Have you seen the movie “Pay it Forward?”) I had such a great feeling when I left the store.

On Friday morning when I left here at 7:00 am I stopped in the same Walgreens. I had barely gotten in the door when I heard, “Hi Martha.” I thought that someone from work was there. I looked around and realized that it was the same cashier from before. I said to him “I’m surprised that you remembered me and my name.” He said “I wrote your name down from the credit
card receipt and of course I remember you, you’re the person who told me about the “Random acts of Wow or Kindness.” He said that he had told other people about it!

I was so WOWed by this cashier! He got it. I feel that he will be WOWing other people now.

  • Martha C.

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Thanks for the story, Martha. It’s great to see that our WOW philosophy is extending beyond how we treat our customers at Zappos !

THE STRAWS HAVE IT

Straw bags have arrived! If we know one thing, it’s that a straw tote signals the onset of spring. No more bulky coats (well, at least not out here on the West coast), no more boots, it’s almost time for sandals, flirty skirts and straw bags to match.

Need inspiration? Just look to Michael Kors, with his Michael Kors Santorini woven tote or Michael Kors Santorini woven clutch.

Readers, what will you be getting?

All Hands Meetings and Employee Bonus

This past Friday and Saturday, Alfred and I hosted a 1-hour all hands
meeting in Vegas and in Kentucky. For Vegas, we rented out the Henderson
Pavilion, and it was the first time in over 5 years that we had gotten all
the departments together. In Kentucky, we rented out a movie theater and
it was the first time we had gotten all the shifts together. For both
locations, it felt like we were one big family, and it was really neat
seeing everyone together and feeling the energy of the crowd.

We went through our financials for 2007 and made a surprise announcement
about the bonus we were going to give to everyone for helping us beat our
operating profit goals for 2007: Each employee would receive a bonus check
equal to 10% of whatever he or she made in 2007 — roughly equivalent to 5
1/2 weeks of pay! The response from both crowds was amazing!

We then went over our goals for 2008, and spent about half an hour taking
questions from the audience. The public version of our powerpoint
presentation is here:

http://www.slideshare.net/zappos/zappos-all-hands-2008-02-29-public

We spoke with some employees after each of the meetings, and it was great
hearing what they planned on doing with the surprise bonus check. Some
people were planning on saving most of it, while others were going to use
it to pay off medical bills that they were previously stressed about
figuring out how to pay. When back at the Vegas office, the daughter of
one of our employees came up to us to say “Thank you for the trip to
Disneyland with my mom.” It was great to hear the stories of how we were
able to positively affect our employees’ lives!

THE DAILY TREND - SATIN

Move over metallics, know your place cotton, all hail the queen of year-round fabrics, satin. From its humble beginnings in the black and white movies to today’s red carpet satin dolls, it is an easy fabric that dresses up any outfit. Take a pencil skirt from day to night with a jeweled colored blouse, pair a patterned blousoned sleeve shirt with skinny jeans to dazzle your date or slip a creamy colored blouse under a jumper to shine on at work.

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But wait, more Argyle on the loose at Zappos.com!

I underestimated how fashionable we are here at Zappos.com. As luck would have it, I mean, as fashion would have it I stumbled upon (have you checked out StumbleUpon by the way? RULES!) 2 more argyle wearer people types. Luckily, they were available enough to pose for me, showing off their argyle styles. I think we may need to formally make Zappos.com the argyle headquarters of the WORLD! It can happen.

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Argyle Anonymity?

These lovely ladies don’t know how proud they should be of their style, they wished to remain anonymous. I have trouble with that, I mean really, if you are so fashionable to know that Argyle is the new _______ you should embrace with open arms (and eyes). They chose to wear the black bar across their eyes so the fashion police (the good ones, the ones who recognize good fashion) don’t stalk them continuously for fashion advice! As a strong promoter of Argyle I have some advice for these ladies… wear more Argyle !

Thanks, I’ll be here all week. PS, we love Argyle!

FASHION TIDBIT: GIVENCHY'S FINE TUNING

He sings a falsetto that makes many gasp (wondering if it is painful to do so I’m sure), has a ‘sexy back’, dances, produces, acts — well, if you call it that. Yes, I’m discussing Justin Timberlake and his newest assignment, being the new face for Givenchy Parfums’ men’s fragrance. I suppose since his tour is finished, his clothing line William Rast is sailing along, and his current squeeze is away in London filming, he thought why not (we know he doesn’t need the money). As for Givenchy, this a great coo for them, because Justin has a built-in audience. With that will come thousands of screaming fans — 13 to 40 — rushing the international doors to get the fragrance, and thousands more of amors, significant others, drowning in the scent to keep their partners happy. Cha-ching!

Ouch. That Really Hurt.

Sometimes I talk myself into running on a night that I don’t completely feel like running and on other nights, I can talk myself out of running all together. Sometimes the hardest part about running is getting out the door. Sometimes the hardest part about running is getting out the door and having to deal with people that don’t care much about other human beings. Today I went for a short run and got pegged in the back of the head with an open bottle of milk. Some guy just decided that he was gonna yell obscenities from the passenger side of this passing car and throw a half-full plastic bottle of milk at me. :( I’m okay. I’ve been thru worse. It hurt at first, but it was definitely more of a surprise than anything. The smell of milk is something I’ve never disliked, but it was rather unpleasant today – especially since it was soaked into my running cap and the top of my jacket. I’ve had people throw stuff at me out of passing cars before, but the items thrown never struck. This guy had extraordinary aim – lucky me. I guess in conclusion, watch out for careless jerks that scream and throw ‘stuff’ at you from passing cars. Mean people suck.

Top weird thing on my run today:
-An empty plastic milk bottle on the ground.