I recently had the best cell phone buying experience ever. The young salesman was friendly, helpful, patient, competent, and respectful. A rarity in the cell phone sales world in my experience. But why should that be a standout? Shouldn’t it be a standard?
During my four years as a business school instructor, I taught a multitude of courses, including two of my favorites: customer service, and human relations. For some reason, it was necessary to teach high school graduates how to treat the customer and their coworkers right. In my opinion, customer service is just an extension of the courtesies you should learn at home.
In the last month, I have received numerous compliments about how polite my children are. I’m gratified and delighted that they don’t act like animals when I’m not around, but seriously, all they do is say “please” and “thank you” and don’t talk back. I find it unfortunate that their attitudes are considered noteworthy, when I consider it basic good manners. What kind of monsters are these people dealing with on a daily basis?
I think maybe I’ve met a few of their older siblings in my daily errands.
My list of infractions has been growing and I thought I’d have a little rant today on some of the things that tick me off, most of which have happened to me fairly recently.
- The grocery store clerk who talks to another clerk, or the bagger, during the entire transaction, never once verbally acknowledging my presence while happily taking my money.
- The hair stylist who walks in the door at 10 am, for my 10 o’clock appointment. It then takes her ten minutes to “get ready”. Hey, I was ready.
- The aesthetician who takes a client who is very late, thus not getting to me until almost an hour after my allotted time (even though I was on time). Then telling me it’s not her fault. In my opinion the client should have cancelled, but since she had no sense, the salon should have told her she had to reschedule.
- The waiters who try to impress you by taking your entire order without writing it down. Really, this is probably the restaurant’s fault, but I’m rarely impressed because they almost always forget something or mess it up. Cool is not always customer friendly.
- The movers who stacked heavy boxes on top of my leather club chair, eventually causing a nice, 3-inch puncture in the back of the seat. Ditto for the desk that collapsed under the weight.
- The kids who play on my friend’s swing set in her backyard, completely uninvited, while the parents look on.
- The people you stop for in the grocery store parking lot so they can cross the street, then they proceed to stroll—along the longest possible route—to the other side, stopping to smell the asphalt and skip through the gravel along the way.
Rude, rude, rude. It’s all about priorities, the Golden Rule, and respect. How hard is that?
We need more companies like Nordstrom, Target, Southwest Airlines, and Apple in this world. We need more parents willing to hold their kids accountable for their behavior. I believe kids should be seen and heard, sit at the dinner table with us, have some say in the things we do as a family, be playful, and even disagree with us. But they also need to understand the simple rules of polite interaction.
If they don’t learn it as kids, they never will, and for that we all suffer.