Coat Story Goes Viral After Unheard-of Customer Service

Kelly Kinkel says she is now a customer for life
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2016 6:45 AM CST
Coat Story Goes Viral After Unheard-of Customer Service
Kelly Kinkel says she plans to donate the unopened coat to local charity Samaritan Inn.   (Kelly Kinkel)

When McKinney, Texas, mom and business owner Kelly Kinkel called online shopping company Zulily to inquire about returning a coat she had purchased, she was prepared for the customary response: that she'd have to cover the shipping, or perhaps not be able to return it at all. What happened next confused her for a moment and then moved her to tears, reports Q13 Fox. As she writes in a Facebook post that has been shared nearly 50,000 times and liked more than 100,000 as of this writing, a young customer service rep named Patrick told her he'd refund her account immediately, but then gave her unusual instructions: "Please don't send it back. If you know someone who needs a winter coat or if you would like to donate it to a charity, that would make us very happy."

Kinkel is now, as she tells KSL, a "customer for life," and she hoped her story would go viral so that others "know that in a dark and dreary world, so shines a good deed." The gesture hasn't just turned her into a loyal customer, she says it's inspired her to donate the coat and other items to a local homeless shelter. Such outside-the-box customer service is seemingly becoming more common. Similar posts about the company Stitch Fix have circulated already this year: One woman wrote on Facebook that the company sent her flowers when her father's death caused her to miss her return deadline; another woman took to Facebook to post about a hand-written note and gifts the company sent upon hearing her daughter was fighting pediatric cancer. (On the other end of the spectrum, there are stories like this.)

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