Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Help is Hard to Come By, Indeed

What is the name of the person who empties your trash can at work? What is the name of the person who sweeps the floor or makes the copies or sorts the mail? Do you think about the bus boy when you go to a restaurant, or do you only tip the waiter/waitress who you actually see? Think about it for a while and consider what your money pays for at a grocery store or the post office or when you're shopping for clothes.

Having been one of those lucky few at the bottom of the totem pole for quite a while, I'm tuned in to the unsung heroes of the business world. I know the copy machine guy, the painters, the mail delivery and UPS people, and even the Office Max delivery guy. We're on a first-name basis. And that's important to me because I know they'll be more likely to give me personalized (good!) service should I need it.

I think this trend in me started in grade school. Mom would ask me what I did in any given day, and I'd tell her: I talked to Harvey the Custodian, Ms. Martin the Secretary, and probably a few teachers and many students. Harvey was a nice guy who always kept the school looking fantastic. He'd help kids clear their table in the lunchroom, and he'd polish the floors after they got muddy. Harvey was a tall man with a big beard and kind eyes. He always smiled at me, but he never really talked much. Ms. Martin was another story! She was a very nice woman who worked at the front office window. I always stopped to say hi to her on my way to my classroom every morning. We shared the same birthday, so when Mom would bake cupcakes for me to take to school (yes, in her own kitchen, and nobody died), she'd always pack an extra cupcake for Ms. Martin. In fifth grade, I didn't get assigned to the teacher Mom wanted me to have, so she took it up with Ms. Martin the Secretary, and in less than ten minutes she switched me from Room 2 to Room 6 (or whatever they were). It paid to be on her good side.

Next time you go out, try to be nice to the waiters/waitresses and other helpful people. I know they may seem like mindless drones, but I bet they're just tired of dealing with rude people. They're tuned to do just enough to not make you mad. Instead, be gracious, and you just might find your cup a little bit more full or your clothes wrapped a little bit more neatly.

It's not about a huge tip or bowing and scraping or whatever. Please be kind to people who help you, that's all I'm asking.

1 comment:

Skunk said...

I agree 110%! I've been in that position a few times in my my life and it makes me respect and understand all those who are in the same position, and makes me judge those who don't (I kind of broke up with someone for this same reason--they just didn't get it).

Well done!