Monday, July 17, 2006


This weekend my family went to our neighborhood pool for a late afternoon swim and dinner. Our pool complex has a restaurant that sells great burgers, pizza, salads, soft drinks and ice cream. I have always thought it to be cool having such an amenity at the pool, although this was the first time we have ever ordered dinner at this establishment.

Neighbors had proclaimed that the food is good, and it lived up to the reputation. The problem was the young woman who took our order. She was probably around seventeen years old, and was clearly not happy to be at work. I am not implying that she was rude, because that would not be accurate. She did a sufficient job of taking out order, but she was simply indifferent. When I asked how long it would be for the burgers to be ready, she looked like a deer in the headlights and replied, "I don't know, a little while".

They make a lot of burgers. Had she been paying attention to the other orders that day, she would have had a clue.

Many people in the business world (in all types of companies, not just burger joints!) seem annoyed or indifferent toward customers. There is no sign of caring, enthusiasm or joy in their work. They just go through the motions.

When I was sixteen I got my first job as a busy-boy at The Big Yellow House Restaurant. My father gave me a piece of advice when I left for my first day of clearing plates. Dad said, "Always work hard and do the best job possible for your employer. When dealing with the public, be enthusiastic. Smile. Take an interest in you customers. Make a positive impression on the people you serve.".

To my knowledge my father had never worked in a restaurant, but it was good advice. It served me well at The Big Yellow House and in every other job I have had since. Obviously the girl at the pool had never been given these words of wisdom. She did not have any concern for the impression she was making on those around her. She did make an impression, and it was one of a bored teenager.

You should always try to make a positive impression on your clients, prospects, co-workers and anyone you meet. Embrace every action you take. Give yourself permission to be more than just an order-taker. Engage other people in conversation and show them who you are on the inside. Shine.

They say that you only have one chance to make a good impression, and that people will forever remember. It is true. While the food was decent (not the best burger, but good for the ease of having it available at the community pool) memory of this establishment will be one of this girl who did not smile.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer


Riskin said...

I could not agree with you more. Your readers are probably 99% "the converted". The great big huge question is how to train that bored teenager. The sad truth is that the teenager could read your post without any impact on her behaviour because she might ask "why do I care..." or "why should I care..." You were impressed by your father's advice because at some level you connected it with "who you wanted to be". How do you get through to the people that profess not to care?

You have a great blog which I enjoy - thank you for the stimulating issues.

Anonymous said...

How about giving that poor "bored"
teenager a break? We have our days.
You have your days. Think a little over the 'face value' did you do your research and return back to see her in a better mood? Or was once just enough. *Bored teenager*
Stereotypes are such a timesaver.