This morning I bought three packets of ground coffee. Each is 500 grams.
I walked in the grocery store with a 20kr bill (about $3) and a bunch of coins. I had no idea how much money it added up to.
I decided it would probably be enough to buy four packets of coffee.
I was wrong.
As I went to pay, it turned out I had enough for two, almost three. I was missing two kronor (less than ¢50) for the third packet.
... and the lady behind me in line paid up the difference. I was supremely grateful.
Some interesting observations about this situation:
1. If I had counted my money before going into the store, I would only have picked up two packets to begin with. I didn’t. Because of that, I got to walk out of the store with an extra 500 grams of coffee under my arm.
2. The lady who helped out a stranger (me) will feel awesome all day because she helped out a stranger in need.
In fact, she’ll feel better about it than me. I kinda feel like I owe her, even though it was a gift. And it was less than ¢50.
They say that the giver is always the true recipient, and it’s true on so many levels. Even if it’s less than ¢50.
3. As a marketer, it’s interesting to note how things like “the law of reciprocity” that we have been talking about for years and years play out in real life.
4. Small things matter. Whether that is helping a stranger at the grocery store, or picking up the phone to say hello to a customer and make sure the details on the shipping label are correct. That two minute call will make ‘em trust you for life. Doesn’t cost you a whole lot, but it builds a lot of currency. Lots of little things like that do.