Friday, July 16, 2010


I was waiting in line at the market with my daughter the other day. When my turn came to check out, the cashier greeted me and I answered with a few sentences. My little one tugged at my sleeve and whispered to me, "Daddy, he doesn't care about that stuff. He just wants your money." I was a bit surprised by her attitude, but I can understand where she gets it from, even at such a young age. I guess that you become aware of grown-ups constantly grumbling about bad service and heartless companies.

At that moment I then flashed back to a time many years ago when I wore that red shirt and hat stained with pizza sauce and reeking of pepperoni. I was a young college student working during my summers off at Pizza Hut. In my time there, I actually found it important to listen to the customers when they had something to tell me. Whether they had a complaint about some aspect of their meal, or wanted to pass along a compliment regarding their dining experience, or just wanted to make some pleasant small talk, didn't really matter. They were spending their hard-earned money and our company's health relied upon their return business. An easy way to be sure a customer is unsatisfied and never returns is to make them feel unimportant or foolish or neglected. I also found that my work shift seemed to go much faster when I was engaged with people and enjoying myself. Based on the several dozen feedback cards that I received, my attitude was appreciated and it smoothed over more than a few situations that could have gotten messy.

Returning from my flashback, I turned to my daughter and said "I am not a barcode" and continued my pleasantries with the cashier. I'm not sure she understood my meaning, perhaps tomorrow.