Ramblings from a Toronto cafe…
If you work in customer service it is your job to be friendly to those who walk into your door or who wish to spend money on your services. Being friendly is part of your job. Full stop. Your job is not to pass judgement or have pre-conceived notions about that customer/client. Your job is to treat them like gold. Because: they are. They work hard for their money and have chosen to spend some of it with you. Honour that. Truly respect that.
I was really excited to discover a free hour of time on this day. I had prepared for it just in case it appeared. This notebook and pen. And a backup just in case this one ran out. A book – Heather O’Neill ‘s new one, The Lonely Hearts Hotel – one that I have been anticipating for weeks. So in between a photography scouting gig and a pilates class, I found a spare hour and I knew where I wanted to spend it. I was happy to discover that my chosen cafe was nearly empty. The coveted window seat ready for my warmth and weight. I was feeling good. Pumped on life.
And then it happened: rudeness, attitude, judgement from the guy behind the counter as I placed my order. Anger and disappointment flushed my cheeks. I also felt confusion. I had walked into that cafe feeling a bit of a bounce in my step knowing that I would have this hour doing what I dream of doing while in the hectic times of my life. I felt happy walking in. I greeted the guy behind the counter and genuinely asked how he was. I wasted no time placing my order. I even paid in cash. I had done everything right and I was making the transaction super easy for him.
So what had I done to deserve this rude treatment? Did he not like the look of me? Did I remind him of someone who caused ill feelings inside? Did he just not like women? Was he having a bad day and thought that it would be okay to pass these bad feelings onto others? These are the thoughts that rolled through my head as I waited for him to make my Americano. My energy had changed, I let him sense that and I knew he felt it.
When you work with customers in your profession, part of your job is to make them feel good. It’s your job. No matter how small your role in their life may be – from their morning coffee to photographing their wedding – your job is to make them feel like gold. With every interaction that you have with a customer or client, whisper gold in your head. Make it your new mantra. Live by it. Do that and leave those other things for your own time.
(And for me? Instead of passing on that negative energy, I shook it off. I wrote this little ditty. I read. And then I unravelled it all at that pilates class. Because, the only person truly in charge of how I feel and react and go about this life is me and that’s taken me thirty-six years to truly realise. There are life lessons in every interaction, I swear.)