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Andrea Langworthy's column: Happy motoring

This was going to be a treatise on customer satisfaction, a big issue with me, but the more I wrote, the more it turned into a piece about employee enthusiasm. Something I seem to encounter less and less.

I was a “shop ’til you drop” person once but those days are over. My husband and I make a good team, though. I talk to store personnel on the phone, ask them to hold whatever we need and he happily picks it up.

Last week I shopped for a golf cart and the difference between the two places I dealt with was the difference between apathy and passion.

You’re probably wondering why I want a golf cart. Well, I’m unsteady on my feet and unable to get up from a regular-height chair. Bar stools work well but I can’t lug one of those around with me so I miss out on things. Things like a weekly summer get-together outside a neighbor’s home.

Over the last few years, seven homes around us have changed hands. These new neighbors attend the gatherings. I’d like to meet them and see those I’ve known for years, too. Here’s my problem: how to get there and what to sit on once I do?

“A golf cart,” I told my husband. “It’s brilliant. You can drive us in a golf cart.” When I told him of my plan to rent a cart for a weekend, he rolled his eyes and looked at me like I’d lost my last brain cell. I lost my fervor.

Until last week, that is, when I read a column by C.W. Nevius in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was about Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow, who disclosed to Nevius and the world that he has Inclusion Body Myositis — the same disease I have. Kukrow also shared that he often gets around in a golf cart.

I called a company that sells them and asked the salesperson about a weekend rental; told him if the unit worked for me, I intended to purchase a used model. He had one in mind, not the one I’d be renting but still, he measured the height of the seat and the step-up distance from the ground to the cart’s floor. Perfect.

When I told him where I live, he thought it was too far to make a delivery. “But I can drive to a restaurant a few blocks from you in 25 minutes,” I protested. He relented. The three-day rate including delivery and pickup was about what we’d spend on gas and a hotel for a weekend getaway.

On a whim (mine), my hubby called a nearby golf course so we could do a cost comparison. The person he spoke with suggested a company 25 minutes from us in a different direction from the first place.

A patient and enthusiastic woman gave me the rental information and when I told her of my intent to purchase if the vehicle worked, she put me through to one of the owners.

He told me about a model owned by a couple who just wanted to upgrade to something newer. He didn’t say “cream puff” or assure me the oldsters had only driven it to church on Sunday mornings but that’s what I heard. To top it off, he would deliver that very vehicle to my home at no charge so I could try it out for a few days.

Do you see the difference? Reluctance versus can-do. Enthusiasm is contagious, Folks. Whether you’re dealing in golf carts or groceries, a smile travels miles. Even through telephone wires.