This has been an interesting week so far. For one, in the first time in many years, I am working full-time in the customer service industry. Yes, we sell and serve chicken, but we do so much more than that. It’s it ironic, in this season that we talk about peace on earth and goodwill toward men, we seem to find people at their worst. Something about the Christmas season brings out the worst in people.
I want to share with you two examples. Both happened while I was working at Chick-fil-A. The first happened on Monday night. Each year our restaurant hosts a receipt day. On Monday our guests were invited to come in and buy anything on the menu and save their receipt. Because in January we will redeem those receipts for the exact same thing – for free. Needless to say this is a huge event – so much so that our store set a new all-time sales record for the day. It really was incredible as the guests lined up – sometimes with the drive-thru line backing all the way to the stoplight. We were having a busy but very good night and I was enjoying myself despite the busyness.
At one point a guest approached me and asked to speak to a manager. I am part of the leadership at our store and offered to help him. He proceeded to tell me that it was ridiculous that he had to wait in line for 20 minutes for a lemonade. He was probably oblivious to the event that was going on. I apologized to him and said I was sorry that he had to wait so long, but that we were selling a great deal of food and were trying to move the lines as quick as possible. I also explained the event that was going on and why there were so many people there. Unfortunately he didn’t want to hear any of that. He begrudgingly accepted my apology and left. The problem is that the damage was done – it ruined my night at least for a while – my thought was, “why do people need to be so unreasonable?”
Fast forward to yesterday morning. I think most of the team was still in recovery and so we were struggling a bit from our busy day on Monday. A group of people came in. The lady asked if there was pulp in our orange juice. I said yes. She replied, “That won’t work.” I have texture issues. Then she laughed and said she knew it was silly. She then asked if she could have a lemonade and I replied that there was pulp in that. That’s where it got really funny and she started laughing. She said that she didn’t mind the pulp in the lemonade, just in the orange juice. She said she knew it was weird but it was the way she grew up. It was just so cute that she lifted my mood, and that in part started a change in my mood over the rest of the day. I began to think, “Why can’t more people be light-hearted like her?”
So here is my “approaching Christmas challenge.” There are many, many people in service positions – just think of all the cashiers at the many stores you frequent. Believe it or not, they are just as stressed as you. In fact they have many of the same concerns you have about family and buying gifts. Take the time to be extra special nice to those who are serving you up till Christmas and beyond. Yes, not everyone will appreciate it and some may not even change their countenance, but make a difference to those around you – words and actions do matter to those with whom you interact.