Most people have worked service jobs at one point in their lives. And so most of us know one thing: they stink.
My mother was a grocery store cashier for 23 years. She was great at her job in many ways, but one was that she made a point of being kind and courteous to each person that came through her line. As a little girl watching her carry that attitude with her everywhere she went, I learned a lot about how to treat others.
When we are behaving as customers, it is easy to be frustrated at any variety of things. Only one check-out line is open, someone is paying with all coins–no bills, the person behind the counter is new and doesn’t know how to run their register yet, the waiter is covering another person’s section and has full tables…. It is easy to forget how it feels to be the person who’s working.
When I go to the store, I make sure to ask the cashier how their day is going and make chit-chat with them (if they are responsive to it). I am sure to say “please” and “thank you” to my server, even if they are just refilling my water glass. I look past my frustrations at a long wait to the possible reasons for the situation: someone was mis-scheduled, someone called in sick, someone quit suddenly, someone hurt themselves in the kitchen and had to go to the ER. There are any number of reasons, and often-times when I ask, my instincts are right. This server isn’t a jerk or doing a “bad” job, they are just handling poor circumstances. So I try not to make their day worse by being another angry customer. In doing so, the wait feels more tolerable and worthwhile, because I am making that person’s day a little easier to handle. Who couldn’t feel good about that?
© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.