Saturday, February 25, 2012

Imported Eyedea on Customer Service & Landing on Your Feet

Story Hour starts here, so grab a cup of something you don't mind sipping for a moment and let me regale you.  If this goes well, I've got 4,000 other equally embarrassing follow ups, so if you like, please say somewhere below. Because, they're not self esteem issues. They're challenges.

 In Real Time, I have the tendency to swallow my foot on a semi regular basis. With friends. With strangers. At family functions. On the job. If I can speak, I can weave disaster. Despite my education in English, as well as communication classes, I can be surprisingly dense. All the more pleasure though I suppose on occasions like this.

So Wednesday, I'm whiling away the hours at the ole' D J (day job). Customer service over a counter mildly sums up what I do for money. Add food, multiple languages and savory characters... the picture illustrates itself with everything you've ever seen in your own local eatery.

'k. You're caught up. So in the well mannered way I have of approaching John Q. Public (this is a TIP based industry people, and btw that's an acronym for "To Insure Promptness"), I began the usual "Hi! How're you? What can we make for you...". As it usually does, a conversation about food ensues.

 I'll note here for posterity that for some strange reason, nothing I've said to the Customer thus far has included any reference to name or gender. Generally I use "Miss" for women of any age and "Sir" for the men. If I'm moving quickly, I admit resorting to "Hon" but you know what-- I'm cute with it. So, sorry if you hate that crap.

'k, so the above Note for Posterity was mostly indicated because at some point in our interaction I said, "Sir, can I get you anything else?"

And the customer replied "Its Ma'am, and no I'm all set."

Now I'll punctuate the storyline with this, in addition to a Carhartt work coat and extremely short hair cut, my customer had a slightly deeper voice. Now had I not been distracted by other facets of the day, I would have noticed her posture, facial structure and frame all said "woman".  But I was kind of in a rush. 

Thankfully, she didn't make me pay for my mistake. I returned her correction with an apology. Well specifically, I used my apology to segue to a story about how my grandmother taught me never to call a lady "Ma'am" -- Only "Miss". 

She laughed with me and agreed it was a much better approach. She also then said, "Ya' know what, make half of that order for here, and I'll sit down."

She then proceeded to order a beverage and as I was pouring, she put a dollar in my tip jar.

Sometimes you never can tell. And no I'm not referring to appearances here. I'm calling on the fact that although she had every right to berate me, she didn't. And I'm calling on all of us to start being as forgiving in situations of ridicule or remiss.

As I climb off my soap box, please take a moment to consider this tale, not because you're not already good people, but because you probably have more goodness inside you than you really know. And if the patience of that customer is any indicator, then we are all faced daily with opportunities to let it show.

Get on with it, hottie. The Moment of your dreams it waiting for you!

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