One of my hobbies is people watching. I like to observe this creature called “human” going about their daily routines and in the habitats where they feel more at ease. My efforts have revealed some interesting observations regarding the behaviors of these beasts.
The first behavior I observed is one-upmanship whereby when a group of these humans gather in a setting, they begin comparing positions with the following inquiry: “What do you do for a living?” Upon receiving the answer, a perceived hierarchy begins to develop. For example, a business executive will assert his superiority over the administrative assistant or salesperson. The successful professional will be judged to be superior to the young professional just starting their career. Social gatherings don’t seem to function until this pecking order has been established. I question the validity of this need and wonder why a person’s profession is more important than the person.
Another behavior I observed is the customer service ‘I want to punch you in the throat’ look. I find this in restaurants, stores, DMV, and any other place where a worker is required to deal with the public. I, also, deal with the public and sometimes feel this way. Why do customers, of any kind, somehow believe that they are the center of the universe and are not expected to be courteous, polite, or even nice?
I will limit my examples to two:
- A person comes into a restaurant, is seated, is given a menu and a rundown of the specials. Server goes to take care of another table. Instead of deciding what to order, the customer begins a conversation, phone call, check emails, updates Facebook, anything except pick up the menu and make a decision. Upon the return of the Server, the customer says, “I just can’t decide, what’s good?” The Server would be VERY unprofessional should they ‘recommend’ something that appeals to THEIR taste, because it might not be something that appeals to YOUR taste. And if their suggestion is not something you like, your experience will be noted by you as “bad” and you will tell others how “awful that restaurant is” even going so far as to blast the place (and server) in the VERY public forum of Facebook. I’ve seen it too many times for this not to be true.
- If you have had a bad day, this in NO WAY is a license for you to vent your anger, frustration, irritation, or just plain obnoxious arrogance on anyone else. Especially the one providing you with goods and/or services. For example, if you go to a pub to drown your rough day and call for the “BAR WENCH” you can pretty much be guaranteed some sort of revenge will be wrought. Perhaps your beverage will be brought in a dirty glass, or saliva has been added, or a dead roach was drowned in your beverage and removed before you got served. Rule of thumb: Do NOT irritate those who provide you with immediate goods and/or services. If you have had a bad day, take a walk or go to the gym or go play in traffic.
The barbershop where I get what’s left of my hair trimmed (“cut” would be far too drastic), the barber knows I am introverted. As a result, she keeps the conversation to three questions or less. Why? Partly because she knows I dislike chatty people who talk just to fill the silence. But, more importantly, because she has taken the time to observe and remember. I am a regular. I like to have the same barber. As a result, my gratuity reflects the extra effort she put in to help establish this relationship.
Gratuity, in and of itself, is a tangible way of expressing GRATITUDE for a job well done. Now I do take offense with establishments that put a “tip jar” right next to the cash register, as if a gratuity is an expectation given PRIOR to the service being provided. A coffee shop I visited recently had such a setup. When I paid for my coffee, I was given my change in singles (as a hint to tip for a job not yet done). I stepped away from the counter to await the delivery of my coffee, and when it was given to me, I provided the tip directly to the person performing the service. Not out of requirement, but because the service was quick and courteous.
There is no reason to be obnoxious, arrogant, or ignorant. THINK! Reverse the roles for a moment, how would YOU wish to be treated?