My mom recently experienced a problem with an OXO can opener. She sent OXO an email about her experience, and, to their credit, OXO immediately responded with an apology and a full refund. My mom was very satisfied.

The story doesn’t end here, though. About a week later, a large package arrived at my parents’ home. Inside was a beautiful, very large OXO trashcan. And no note. Nothing in the box except for the trashcan. Needless to say, my mother was mystified. Was this a mistake? Some sort of additional restitution for her previous complaint?

What a huge missed opportunity for OXO! I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the trashcan was a customer service-related gift. They were most likely aiming to “surprise and delight” my mom, thereby enhancing her opinion of and loyalty to the OXO brand. Instead, they managed to “surprise and confuse”.

The company was just one piece of paper away from surprise and delight, but they missed. All they had to do was include a brief note that said something like: “Dear Mrs. Silver, Please accept this gift with our compliments. We at OXO take great pride in our products and are sorry that you had a problem with our can opener…”

What a perfect opportunity for my mother to spread the gospel of the OXO brand with a personal story! Instead, she’s telling her friends about a funny OXO incident.

So close! But, as my dad would say: “Close but no cigar”.