I have a favorite pizza place from which my family has been ordering pizzas since 1972—that’s 52 years! I LOVE their pizza. But recently a friend shared a story with me about my favorite joint that left me, well, with a bad taste in my mouth.
It was my friend’s son’s 9th birthday party. The cake was baked and iced, the boys gathered, the pizza ordered.
Two giant-sized ‘zahs with the kids’ favorite toppings were delivered. As Mom and Dad pulled out the side tabs and opened the large cardboard boxes, they soon discovered one of the pizzas had the wrong toppings.
Anyone who has unveiled a pizza with the wrong ingredients knows that feeling of disappointment. Imagine that at a kids birthday party? The parents let out a collective sigh and Mom called the pizza joint:
“Hi, we just got our pizzas for our son’s birthday party and one of them is sausage and it was supposed to be pepperoni.”
What do you think the person on the other end of the line said?
Surprisingly, the pizza place insisted the family bring the “incorrect” pizza into the restaurant to prove it was wrong.
The birthday boy’s Mom emphasized that they were hosting a BIRTHDAY party, that they had been ordering pizzas from them for years, but the pizza joint wouldn’t budge.
Meanwhile, Dad trekked off with said pizza to “prove” the mistake and retrieve another one.
But when Dad walked into the pizza place, he heard raised voices and realized his wife was still on the phone with Mr. Pizza. With phone in hand, the owner took one look at Dad, pulled cash out of the drawer, threw it on the counter, and huffed off.
The family has boycotted the local pizza joint ever since. Going on 10 years.
I just heard that story for the first time Saturday night. Calculate how many times that story has been passed down over the years by the family—and then repeated by those who heard it, including me!
But imagine this scenario instead.
The family calls the restaurant and tells them there’s been a mistake. They immediately say, “We’re so sorry! It’s your son’s birthday and we want to make sure that he has the best party ever. We’re whipping up a new pizza now and we’ll get it delivered as soon as it pops out of the oven. Also, since we know this is a special day for your family, we’re going to throw in some of our favorite Italian cookies and, by the way, this pizza’s on us!”
Wouldn’t that be an amazing story to have as part of your legacy?
Whether you’re in business selling a service/product or just making your way in the world, we are our stories.
What we do is stori-fied by others and becomes a reflection of who we are or the businesses we represent.
Throughout our daily lives, we have the choice to go out of our way to serve others. It’s not always convenient. It often means sacrificing our time or money or plans.
But wouldn’t you rather be the one who makes the extra pizza, adds the Italian cookies, and makes a little boy’s birthday party the best it can be?
What are your stories?
Want to find more ways to leverage storytelling to open hearts AND wallets in your organization? Set up a time to chat with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) on how I can help your team harness the irresistible power of storytelling to influence others and inspire people to action. Everyone has stories to tell. I can show you how to find, craft, and tell yours.
Click here for more information on my workshop: Lead, Sell, Inspire…One story at a time