You would think that during a time in our country’s history when so many people are struggling with financial challenges that those who have a job would go out of their way to make sure they kept it.
But so often, the opposite is true.
I recently accompanied a friend of mine to a doctor’s appointment. The woman who greeted her in the reception area, yawned like a bear going into hibernation, and said, “Follow me.” Then, while walking us down a long corridor, yawned each time she turned to look back at us.
This excellent service isn’t limited to the medical profession. In fact, the restaurant industry leads the field when it comes to lack of service.
I have a passion for sushi that’s rivaled only by my passion for Italian food. So when a new sushi restaurant opened up a block from my community, it didn’t take me long to find an excuse to visit.
I perused the menu and found that roll #3, a spicy tuna concoction that made my mouth water just reading about it, sounded perfect. I placed a “to go” order and came back 15 minutes later to pick it up.
I got home and tore open the bag only to find something that looked nothing like spicy tuna staring back at me.
I called the restaurant and the apologetic manager assured the correct roll would arrive in less than 10 minutes.
An hour later and just this side of a low-blood-sugar-fueled hissy fit, I ate the roll of unidentified contents and left it to the sushi gods to work out the karma.
It was then that the long-anticipated tuna roll arrived. In fact, the restaurant manager delivered it personally. I was impressed. That is, until he demanded that I give him back the first roll before he gave me the new roll.
When I explained the roll was now happily on it’s way through my digestive system, he turned and left, mumbling that I knew where the tuna roll would be if I decided I wanted it.
One of my favorite silly service stories, however, came about a month later when my family and I took my mom to lunch at a Mexican restaurant she’d been wanting to try. When the main course arrived before the appetizer, the waiter offered to “put it in the back under the heat lamps” until we were ready. The rest of the meal was a comedy of errors, culminating in a “complimentary” slice of cake for my mom for which we were charged $7.
But despite all the examples of bad service, there are still those who go out of their way to help. Like the young man at Home Depot who took the time to walk me to find what I was looking for in the lighting department, even though it was 10 aisles away from the department where he was working. Or the waitress at Tijuana Flats who helped me bring my order to the car, when she saw I’d have to make two trips to carry out the bags alone. Or the ladies at the Hair Cuttery on Miramar Parkway who no matter how busy, always greet their customers with a smile that says “We’re glad you’re here.”
Perhaps their example is the secret formula that will lead us out of the recession.