On the eve of Black Friday and the busiest shopping time of the year, I thought it only appropriate that we discuss consideration for those who provide service. I have personally worked in a variety of service positions starting in high school and beyond: from retail shops and boutiques selling chocolate, shoes, linens, women’s apparel, designer handbags, and home decor to the more miscellaneous, a tanning salon which was single-handedly the most repulsive job I have ever held.
I work well in the service industry and pride myself in being pleasant and helpful. People have snapped their fingers, given me the evil eye, and been cursed at, but working in the epitome of all customer service posts, the call center, prepared me to be the zen master of service. It’s so easy to be brave when you are not physically in front of someone, so it takes a steady confidence to help with a smile when Mr./Mrs. Smith tells you to “put it where the sun don’t shine.”
Let’s review everyday manners in regards to service with the help of Emily Post’s Etiquette, shall we? (Please note, this tip has been slightly condensed.) If you work in some form of service, by all means, share your story of inconsiderate customers in the comments.
Only the lowest type of boor is rude to or inconsiderate of the people who serve him in restaurants, stores, or any public places. It can safely be said that this sort of discourtesy is a sure sign of insecurity. Those who have self-confidence do not need to act in that way in an effort to prove themselves superior. Good manners and thoughtfulness are so much a part of their nature that they treat everyone they come in contact with with the same courtesy, whether there is anything to be gained doing so or not.
Accordingly, it is insufferable to snap your fingers for the attention of waiters or waitresses, make unreasonable demands of flight attendants, or be rude to anyone, whether a food server in a fast food restaurant or a gas station attendant, just because you aren’t being served as fast as you would like to be. But very often it is someone else along the line who is responsible for delays and it is not only poor manners but also unfair to take out your displeasure on someone whose fault it most likely is not.
Another form of inconsideration is shown by people who go shopping ten minutes before closing time. The sales people have had a long day and have routine chores to do before they leave. The same is true of restaurant personnel who want to go home but cannot because of customers who linger well beyond closing time.
Is the customer always right? It would not seem likely. Unfailing patience and good temper are required of everyone in a service occupation, whereas there is nothing to restrain the ill humor and unreasonableness of a customer – except his or her good manners.