my costco employee

I just received the following note from a woman named Vickie Fulkerson.

Hello Mark–I just wanted to compliment one of your employees at the Costco in Redding, Ca. On Sunday the 22nd of June my family and friends were driving to Lake Shasta for a Houseboat vacation when the boat trailer had a blow out. We called ahead to Costco in Redding and spoke with Kyle in the tire department. He was very helpful, and when we got there, he had the tires we wanted to purchase ready. He also was very accommodating in taking the old tires off the rims and putting the new ones on. We were out of there in approx. 20 minutes. As a business owner, he is the kind of employee we all want.

I haven’t sent it yet, but here’s my response.

Thank you for taking the time to write, Vickie. It’s gratifying to hear that Costco may somehow have played a part in what must have been a delightful vacation with your friends and family. I’d like to accept your thanks, but, unfortunately, I think you may have been assisted at another branch. You see, there isn’t a Kyle in our tire department. We did have a young man here named Kyle, but that was years ago, and he died after being gutted by an experimental tire removal device. At any rate, thank you for shopping at Costco.

I know it’s not likely, but I figure there’s at least a slight chance that Vickie might believe that her tires were put on by a customer service oriented ghost… Originally I was going to go much darker with it, suggesting that lovable Kyle had been dragged to his death behind a houseboat to which he’d become somehow fastened, but I didn’t have the heart.

My other idea was to go totally urban legend with it, telling the family that “Kyle” was an escaped convict who had been working with a partner on the highway. The plan was for this partner to shoot out the tire of a houseboat, causing the family to seek assistance at Costco, where “Kyle” had assumed the identity of the manager. According to the accomplice, who later confessed, “Kyle” was to stow away until a safe distance away, then kill the family, taking their identities. The main thing motivating me to take this route was that it would allow me to say, “GET OUT OF THE HOUSEBOAT!”

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8 Comments

  1. Bob Douglas
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Vicki,

    I’m glad you had a positive experience. Between you and me, Kyle is my nephew and I only keep him on as a favor to my sister. The kid is a speed freak. If you received fast service from him, it’s most likely because he’d done a line right before receiving your call. He is a flurry of activity a few times a day, then crashes and spends his time harassing young ladies in store. Frankly, it’s a miracle the tires didn’t fly off the rims as he’s not even trained for that work. (His duties are mostly restricted to breaking down boxes for recycling.) In any case, thank you for drawing this to my attention. You may want to take the trailer to your local branch to have his work inspected by a trained professional.

    Thank you for shopping at Costco.

  2. KB
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Vicki. Please accept my sincere apologies. As a matter of policy, our service department is instructed not to complete any request in less than 45 minutes to allow customers more time to browse and shop our thousands of warehouse priced items. Kyle has repeatedly violated this policy because, frankly, he is a show-off and more interested in drawing personal attention than being a valued member of the Costco team. This was his last offense. I let him go this morning after receiving your email. You are a valued Costco patron and I guarantee that in the future you will receive the type service that you’ve come to expect rather than being rushed out the door by an overzealous employee.

  3. Steve Swan
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “Don’t rush the rim job.”

  4. Rex
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    how is it that you receive email for costco managers?

  5. simple is best
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Kyle was always an overachiever. He loved the tire business. He loved getting families like yours back on the road. It makes his loss all the more tragic. Thank you for sharing you memory of him.

  6. Posted July 1, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Not perfectly related, but I found this last night:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBGGAjMg9vw

  7. Costco Manager
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Whenever anyone asks me for my name at work, I say Mark Maynard. We all do. It’s company policy.

  8. brent
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The call is coming from inside the houseboat.

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