A regular customer went into the local Starbucks and wanted a cinnamon roll. He was in luck–there was one left. The guy loved these cinnamon rolls and made a point of coming to Starbucks just so he could get one to start his day.

Charlie was carrying the hallowed last cinnamon roll to the register when it fell on the floor. “Uh oh, I’m toast,” said Charlie to himself.

Charlie confessed to the customer, “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe it, but I dropped your cinnamon roll. Can I get you an apple fritter or donut instead?”

The customer was not happy and vented his frustration to Lori at the register. “Why don’t you get more cinnamon rolls?” asked the guy. “You are constantly running out of them. You guys used to get what your customers really wanted. I think Starbucks is just getting too corporate.” Lori had no explanation.

“I guess I’ll just have to go to another Starbucks and see if they can help me.”

Lori handed him his coffee and he left scowling. From then on he was known as the Grumpy Cinnamon Roll Guy.

Grumpy Cinnamon Roll Guy came in a few days later for his coffee and cinnamon roll. Lori waited on him again and was able to give him a cinnamon roll that hadn’t hit the floor. Because Starbucks creates a climate of wanting to provide excellent customer service, Lori apologized again for the previous problem and asked him his name, which is Paul.

The next time Lori worked she had a hunch Paul would be in so she set aside a cinnamon roll in a little box and wrote Paul’s name and drew a little smiley face on it.

Sure enough, Paul did come in. He ordered his usual and by the time he got to the register, his personalized cinnamon roll was waiting for him. Lori was working at the coffee bar and watched for his response. He looked down in surprise at the box, saw Lori across the store, and broke into a shy grin. He was no longer Grumpy Cinnamon Roll Guy.

Do we cater to people who are grumpy and demanding by giving them what they want? Not always. Do we put a little thought into how we can serve our customers better? Absolutely.

It takes creativity, consistency, and skill to get to a place where Starbucks is. We have opportunities like this every day to go the extra mile. It’s easy to take a few minutes to set aside a $3 cinnamon roll. It’s a lot harder to be gracious with a $10,000 project that has gone awry. But in the long run, it’s about asking how we can best create satisfied customers.