Working Customer Service This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   For the past three years, I have gotten up every morning at 5:30 a.m., 7 days a week to go to school and to work at David's Bagels, the most popular and busiest bagel store in my home town.

I serve one customer after another, for as long as seven hours a day, bagging bagels, making sandwiches, pouring coffee, taking cash and learning valuable lessons about people and myself.

I've learned to handle the most difficult and unpleasant customer with the same service and respect that I give to the nicest people. Not always easy, it has become a challenge to "bring them around." Keeping a smile on my face and a cordial attitude, even toward someone who has never had a pleasant thought, is one of the most difficult things I've ever done. But I've learned that the grump who gives me a blank-eyed stare and a jumbled order whispered incoherently, can be turned into one who will say "Thank You," when the transaction is complete. (You'd be amazed at how many people do not extend even this minimum level of courtesy.) Sometimes it takes two or three encounters before the grump is no more, at least when I'm serving them.

I've learned how important it is to treat people who serve me the same way I'd like them to treat me - with respect and the recognition that I am an intelligent and feeling person - just like they are. I won't necessarily promise you an extra bagel in your dozen or a little more of a cream cheese schmear on your bagel if you're nice, but you'll gain something, even if it's just knowing that you made someone's day a little bit better.

When someone in line shouts out to me, "Hey gorgeous, my game suffered yesterday without your coffee." Or, "Love your new hair color. What'd you use?" that can make me happy for hours. It costs so little, and gives so much.

Do I go out of my way to give special service to these special people? You bet I do. I'll let a "regular" know that her husband likes the garlic bagel with butter and the inside taken out, or that his wife always orders more plain than poppy seed in their dozen. I feel they've earned this by taking the extra step to make a personal connection.

I've also learned that showing respect is a two-way street. Take my dad. He is the ideal customer and the biggest "kibitzer" in New City. His banter and joking not only brings a smile to the server's face and a bounce to their step but it does the same for him. And he always gets the best and quickest service around. Now I understand why.

Long after next summer, when I finally throw away my plastic gloves and apron and make the transition from server to full-time customer, making the best nova sandwich in town and converting ounces to pounds may be lessons I remember, but the most important lesson is that being kind, patient and respectful can make someone's day significantly better, and in the process lighten up yours, too. You can get so much for so little effort. Why would you approach life in any other way? c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback