If you’ve ever been lucky enough to receive Harry and David’s Riviera Pears, you’ll know that they are normally near-perfect specimens of the fruit. But not this year. Today, the pears come with noticeable brown spots and blemishes that make them appear quite ordinary.

To protect the reputation of Harry and David as well as proactively avert disappointment by its customers, these pears come with a brilliantly-written explanation:

Wind-Scarred Pears

Noticing unique markings on your Royal Riviera Pears? These blemishes are called wind scars and are the result of high winds whipping tree branches and causing abrasions to the skin of our delicate pears. Sadly, these same winds contributed to the spread of devastating fires in our Southern Oregon community – destroying homes and displacing countless people.

 We often pride ourselves in the beauty of our Royal Riviera Pears, and this harvest is no exception, if only in a different way. These scars are a reminder of what our community has been through and how we’ve rallied to support one another. The untouched, juicy, delicious interior of the pear demonstrates –it’s what’s inside that counts.

 If for any reason you’re not happy with your purchase, just let us know and we’ll make it right with an appropriate replacement or refund.


My guess is that no one is going to request a refund for their order, whereas without the note, a host of people would have been disappointed or angry at the fruit’s bruised appearance. With a few well-chosen words, their writer saved the harvest.

If you have an unfortunate situation in your organization, you may be tempted to gloss over it or respond only when customers contact you. Take a lesson from Harry and David and do the opposite – turn your misfortune into a proactive, brand win by being upfront and thoughtful in your accompanying messaging.

Thanks, Mike.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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