I’m at the grocery store yesterday – a nice grocery store – when I find myself at the meat counter (up to that point, I was totally lost to myself). I am pleasantly asked, "How may I help you," and I pleasantly responded, “A half a pound of the roast beef, please.” So the guy sliced it up, bagged it up, handed it up, and asked if I would like anything else, to which I replied, “No thank you.” Pretty nice encounter so far. We’re a couple of humans who have politely acknowledged each other. But as he handed me the beef, his eyes were on the bag as he muttered, “Have a nice day.” Was he talking to me or the beef? Must have been me, as a side of beef never has a nice day. But why didn't he look at me?
This was a fairly eventful day, so I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself at the drug store – a nice drug store. As I entered between the walls of the security system, this voice yelled out to me, “Welcome to our nationwide drug store,” or something akin to that. As I turned to respond with a nicety of my own, I saw only a clerk behind a counter who was busying himself with what I’m guessing was the untangling of a knot. What else focuses an attention so strongly? Or maybe I’m selfish. When I am greeted by a person, I usually respond in kind. “How ya doin’?” “Fine. How you doin’?” Seems a simple social interaction. Or maybe I’m tied in knots over knothing.
Dare I go on? Today I went out to meet myself at a nice department store, and once again a nice gentleman waited on me, and once again when he thanked me, he did not look at me. In another department I was once again haveanicedayed, and again I was not contacted by eye. Finally, I checked out in the women’s department with my wife, and we were both looked at, smiled at, and thanked, and I want to write the store owner to have this clerk elevated to supervisor of the shopping world. Such simple, pleasant interaction, and it pleased me no end that our clerk was neither sapped of her energy nor robbed of her soul by her actions.
So what do I want? It’s simple. If you are in the service industry, I am in your presence, and you are going to speak to me, look at me. Top your appreciation of my patronage or your well-wishing of my future with a little smile or a look of sincerity. Management - train your staff properly. I promise I will do this with Elephant Trunk Moving Supplies. Otherwise, just hand me my bag, and I’ll go away. I can use the extra time in search of myself.