Stephen Mosher On The North Wind
I have been in the service industry for a while. All my life, in fact. I have always wanted to be of service to people. In my life I have never hesitated to ask “how can I help?” or to say “tell me what you need so that I can make it happen.” In your personal life it is good to be there for your loved ones, and to do it without the expectation of reciprocation (something that can be hard at times); but in the service industry it is your job to be hospitable.
Times have changed, though, and people are not expected to be hospitable while also being subservient. And a lot of people don’t understand that their behavior toward those in the service industry will not be tolerated, if it is disrespectful. Workers have every right to expect to be treated as human beings and not as “The Help” – and, yes, I am talking about Miss Aibie. Whether serving people as a photographer, a health and fitness specialist, a caterer, a theater employee, a receptionist, basically every job I have ever held down, I have been accommodating and polite, even friendly and loving. There are, though, always those people who make it difficult to remain all of those things. And what I really want to ask them is this:
Do you honestly think that this behavioral pattern is going to get you what you want? Does the “throwing your weight around” thing really work for you?
I am amazed by the fortitude with which people will push themselves on an employee, thinking that it will get them what they want. There has never been one instance that I can recall when being a dick about something got any patron of any establishment their desired result. Each and every time, the employee of the establishment shut down, became implacable and refused to budge. The more blustery, the more kvetchy, the more unreasonable a person became, the less interest anybody took in accommodating their demands.
However, the sweeter, the kinder, the gentler, the friendlier the patron, the faster those doors opened. I have gone beyond the call of duty for patrons that simply smile and ask and I have put myself on lockdown for those who have demanded. And you know something else? So have my colleagues and my bosses over the years. It matters not the station of the hospitality – whatever their status in the company, they have proven unlikely to respond to force and probable to reaction to sweetness.
Still, year in and year out, no matter where I have been – at job or in life – I have encountered the spoiled, the entitled, the mean, the nasty. They never change, they think their tired tradition of tirade will, eventually, get the desired result that has rarely, if ever, sprung from the fires of drama.
I actually base new friendships (even established friendships) on how the other person treats waiters, cab drivers, grocery store clerks – if someone can’t show these people, upon whose shoulders our society stands, the respect they deserve then I can’t be friends with that someone. Hard and fast rule and no mistake. If anyone is surprised by this…
Well, blow me down.