Over a year ago my seven-year-old daughter (who was six then) went with her granny to Walmart to buy towels. The towels were marked on sale, so they picked up four or five. At checkout, the clerk determined those towels were not on sale and refused to give the sale price. Granny is not one to be taken advantage of, so she left there after expressing her unhappiness for how she was treated and went to Target to buy towels instead.

Fast forward to last week. I took my seven-year-old to get something at Walmart. As we were walking through the store, she said, “daddy, Walmart is mean.” I asked her why and she recounted the entire story of the towels. I would bet that years from now she will find that she prefers Target over Walmart and this experience will be a part of that subconscious decision.

Impressions like that are hard to shake and one employee on one bad day can make an impression that can shape someone’s perception of your company for a lifetime. This was a great reminder for me to always be aware of the impression that I’m making and it’s potential long term effects. It also reminded me that when someone does have a bad impression, I have to work extra hard to overcome that and win them over.