Friday, March 18, 2005

Just SAY IT!

I hate it when people don't say anything when all they have to do is say something. Then they get all worked up over how they didn't say it, and get mad at the person for somehow intimidating them into not saying it. I just find it so annoying because most people are afraid of making others feel negatively about them. Thinking about it now, this might just be a west coast thing... I've heard New Yorkers describe California as The land of big egos, and thin skin We are especially afraid of making those who serve us think poorly of us.

Waitress brings you your food, it has salt on it, even though you specified that it should NOT have salt on it.
You begin at stage one: Denial
Did... did she put salt on this? Noooo... yes. Oh my, she put salt on it... I said I didn't want salt right? Yes, I remember specifically. It must have been some kind of misunderstanding. I must not have been clear enough.
You then procede to: Realization
She was standing right there when I told her. How could she misunderstand? There's not much to miss in "No salt, please." I saw her write it down after I said it didn't I? She's a professional, she doesn't have to write every little thing down. She just remembered it. Wait. She DIDN'T just remember it. That's the problem...
Now say it with me: Anger
Why would a person do something like that?! You say "No salt, Please" they say "Ok" and BAM! Salt everywhere! Salt pouring from the sky! What is this?! Where am I, the twilight zone?!
(then the favorite...) How could a person do this? What did I ever do to her? What makes people ACT like this?! (wait for it...) And you know why she did it? Because she knew I would do nothing! (here it is!!) Who does she think she is?!
Excuse me for a second guys, I couldn't pass this up: Submitted for your approval: A waitress who writhes in extasy with the knowledge that she deliberately delivered a patron's order incorrectly knowing that he would do nothing in retaliation. Could such a sadistic, sociopathic server be a reality?... Surely... In... The Twilight Zone.
And then: Resolve
I'm not going to let her walk all over me! I know my rights, and I have the right NOT to be walked on by the people who bring me MY food! When she gets over here I'm going to give her a piece of my mind. The NERVE! She is going to go home thinking about what she's done here today, because everyone in this resteraunt is going to know! And... and everyone within earshot, I am going to put this place out of business with bad word of mouth. Every person I walk by on the street is going to know the kind of service I paid my hard-earned money for!
Followed immediately by: Curtailment
Do I really want to become one of those people. Those obnoxious people who complain about every little thing? Who do those people think they are, with the right to complain about everyone and every little honest mistake? Can I really become one of those people? How could I even think about doing something so mean? She's just a waitress. She goes home to her apartment just like I do. Do I want to ruin her day over this? I should be above this pettyness. I should... I should just take this with a grain of salt. Ok, ok, sorry guys, but you knew it was coming. =)
And finally: Acceptance
I don't even mind salt that much. In fact, I prefer it on things like pop-corn. I mean, it's involved in almost every bit of cooking I know of. It was demanding of me to order them to remove a necessary cooking ingredient. And who am I to question the chef? This is someone who knows what they are doing, and I am telling him how to do HIS job??? How could I be so thoughtless.

How could you be so thoughtless.
How could YOU be so thoughtless???

This is intollerable! We ALL have jobs to do, and we can choose to do them well, or do them well enough. Those who chose to do just enough are not doing well enough! And how, HOW do you train a puppy not to do bad things? You let the puppy know what what he/she did was WRONG. It's not that hard, and we don't bat an eyelash at it! And when the puppy knows that it doesn't do that on the couch, it learns not to. And who, praytell benefits from this training??? EVERYONE. You, the puppy, and everyone who comes into contact with the puppy! Everyone benefits when someone does something right.

But wait! If you fail to tell someone how they did not do their job correctly YOU (not anyone else, you.) are doing THEM a disservice! This is a person who is walking through their job absent-mindedly and is not giving you the service that you deserve! (Because you DO deserve it) This person will eventually be fired because their job proformance continued to deteriorate, and YOU are to blame! You had the chance to warn someone, hey, you really gotta straighten up and fly right, or your going to find yourself on the street. In any other job YOU would WANT that courtesy! You're working in your cubical, things are going great, it's a friday, and you're just about to finish up with your paperwork and head off, and Bob walks in. "Hey Tom. Uh, I just wanted to let you know something. There's been a lot of talk around the office about how you've being a bit of a jerk lately. And, uh, some people were thinking about going to the boss about it." Well, it turns out that since you started doing this new report you've been too preoccupied to exchange formalities. Saying Hi, excusing yourself when you pass someone, outwardly appearing as being stand-offish. This is easily remedied, but NOT if you didn't know about it. Bob may have just saved your job. It took guts for Bob to confront you about this. And it takes guts to tell someone what they're doing wrong. YOU ARE NOT being a jerk. Do you think Tom took it personally? Do you think Tom resented Bob for telling him that? NO! Tom was happy! Tom was glad! Tom was thankful that Bob could walk up to him and let him know what he was unaware of. Tell me how this does not translate to the salt thing? I think that we all want to do a good job. Do you think waitresses don't want their customers to be happy? Customers not going to get any happier if their order is wrong. In fact, some customers who are those people will complain to the manager immediately and not even give the waitress the benefit of the doubt. Is that who you'd rather have complaining? The other employees were going to let Tom know what he was doing... Through his BOSS... Is that the kind of respect you want to show the person who is bringing you your food? I hope not. When you let people know when they're doing something incorrectly, YOU ARE DOING EVERYONE A SERVICE. If that person does not seem interested in changing, fine. You've tried. You've let them know how they can become better at what they do. What more CAN you do?

Next time someone screws up in what they say, do, or e-mail... Let them know. Respect them enough to let them know. It might not be too late for them to take corrective action, and become better at what they do.

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