I was having lunch with the remarkable Kevin Eikenberry and Jenny Pratt the other day at Subway. I like Subway. I know what I’m getting into, and I can eat healthy there. The thing that bugged me was the line staff, or rather one young woman on the line.
When it was my turn to order, she greeted me with, “Bread?” I smiled a big wide smile and said, “honey oat, please.” She said, “meat?” I smiled even bigger and said, “turkey, please.” And nothing. Terse. One. Word. Queries. I couldn’t get her to smile to save myself. And I felt like a machine could’ve taken the order.
Some of you are going to comment that I should stop picking on the retail service, and that she doesn’t make enough money, or whatever. Bull. You can be human at any dollar amount. I was the best damned grocery store cashier in town at $4.10 an hour. I loved people, and I made that show. Sometimes, I’d have a huge line at my register when others were free, because they knew there was a show to what I was doing. I was an entertainer ringing up food.
What I wrote this post for, and what I hope you think about is this: are you delivering assembly line service in any area of what you’re doing? Are you just moving information through as if you’re tired and jaded? Are you responding to your audience or your community in that way?
Rise up. We can do better. All of us. (Me especially.)
A few quick ideas:
- Shake it off. Just stepping back from the task at hand for a few seconds, taking a breath, squaring your shoulders, and smiling will actually help. Smiling releases some really interesting chemicals, even if you don’t really mean it at first.
- Mix it up. You can try some different phrases, some language that people don’t expect, some ways to change the experience.
- Turn it around. If your most loved relative or friend were on the other side of you, how would you treat them?
Just some thoughts.