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Stevie Wonder and Brooks Running Shoes By: Marti Stenerson

Years ago I learned about the world famous, highly successful Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. Simple, yet somewhat unpredictable practices they routinely implement have been linked to their business acumen and these have been studied for use as models in corporate training. When I was teaching I shared the story of Pike Place and implemented these strategies in my classroom. It was called “The FISH! Philosophy and the idea was that if you did the four things listed below, you would do quality work and enjoy doing it. One needed to:

  • Be There – Engage with the people around you. Build relationships.
  • Play – Find the fun in your work. Find a way to make it enjoyable.
  • Make Their Day – “Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful , memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life-not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.”
  • Choose Your Attitude-Decide how you want to respond to things that happen to you and realize that your response affects others and reflects on your character. 

We recently got a puppy and that sweet little guy chewed the aglets on the shoestrings on my new Brooks running shoes while he was quietly resting at my feet under the kitchen table. I set out to see if I could get replacement laces from Brooks. What follows is part of the text communication I had with their customer service department.

It was here in our conversation that things started to get interesting. Whoever I was communicating with had a sense of humor and they enjoyed their work. Normally I hate having to do returns and provide documentation, etc. Sometimes I even give up, but this was different. I was having fun. Here is some of what I sent back to Brooks Customer Service:

I continued by sharing that I appreciated their approach toward problems and that they made my day. This was their response :

This company may not ever have heard of the Pike Place Fish Market, but they certainly understand the FISH! Philosophy. When asked permission to share the content of our communication this was their response: 

I did receive the shoestrings in the mail this week and I encourage others to try Brooks and to employ the Fish Philosophy of finding joy in everyday activities. You won’t be sorry.

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