Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turn The Tables

This morning as I waited patiently in line to order my coffee at Starbucks both guys behind the register were dealing with a very "unique" couple and their daughter.  I had to look around to see if there was a hidden camera as this yuppyish couple barked demands on the two workers. Their requests seemed so over the top that I was sure that I had found myself as an unsuspecting bit player in the shooting of one of those customer service training videos.  I looked around but nope, no camera.

"Give me a sample of that." "Why don't you have the vegan breakfast sandwich?" "How hard is it to order something that appeals to health conscious customers?"  "My daughter's hot chocolate is cold." Despite the steam rising from the cup.  "This coffee tastes horrible! Let me try..." "No I don't want that, I want..."

You get the picture?  I am not even kidding.  These poor guys were running around like chicken's with their head's cut off trying to keep up and satisfy what were two very demanding adults and their small squawking child. I felt sorry for them and found myself sort of snorting at the ridiculousness of their over the top requests.

The lady behind me in line, who had been waiting, like me, nearly five minutes wasn't amused.  She was getting down right mad.  She started tapping her foot.  She huffed and puffed and said "Oh brother" more and more vocally as the requests kept coming.  I could tell she was in a hurry and honestly she looked like a tick about to pop.

Feeling somewhat excited by the unique display of people's behavior on either side of me, I found myself smiling.  Life is funny, I thought to myself.  I never wanted to go into psychology when I went to college.   Observing people always seemed like the most boring profession one could ever hope to go into.  Yet now all I love doing is studying people.  I actually found myself enjoying the floorshow that was playing out before me.  It would have been a gold mine for any burgeoning psychology student.

Rude people are hard to tolerate.  In fact I usually don't.  I am not often confrontational but with a growing line and these people who clearly had no concept of how ridiculous they were making themselves look, I finally had to say something. Not to them mind you, but to the woman who was behind me.  She was now literally ready to pull her hair out.

"Looks like we'll be here a while eh?"  She looked startled to have her fiery glare suddenly interrupted from the back of the couple's heads she was focused on.

"Hmm yeah" she said reluctantly.

"Well thanks to them we get to hear what not to order," I said rather loudly.  There was a noticeable laugh from the other people who were now waiting in line.  "Hope with all the running around they are making these poor guys do they are big tippers!"  Heads nodded in chorus.  It was funny.

I turned to see yuppy dad staring at me. "Oh good morning sir," I said with a big ol goofy grin on my face.  He couldn't mutter a word, disarmed and rendered powerless by the power of my smile. It's like Kryptonite to the rude and mean.  "Man these guys are doing a great job keeping up with you aren't they?" I asked.  He turned red as he suddenly realized that their behavior had been closely watched by us all. I turned slightly to see the guys behind the counter, they had big sappy grins on their face.

"Hmmm sorry for all of that, what do I owe you?" the man finally said as he leaned over to sign the credit card slip.  I watched him closely and I did my best to telepathically force his hand to the tip line.  He put down a ten dollar tip in big bold print, picked it up as to be sure we all saw it and handed it back to the guy behind the register.  He said "Thank You" and proceeded to steer his wife and kid and walked out the door as quickly as he could.

"Wow," the lady said from behind me. "Good job."

"Oh I didn't do anything," I said.

"Sorry for the wait sir," the Starbucks employee proceeded to say.

"Oh no worries, we enjoyed the show," I said.  Head nodders all in unison laughed.

The guy behind the register winked at me and asked what I wanted.  I ordered my coffee and when I gave him my Starbucks card to charge it he simply handed it back to me.  "Thanks for coming in sir." I collected my coffee and told my line mates to have a great morning.

As I sat down at a table near the door to wait for a guy I was supposed to meet, the lady who had been behind me stopped by.  "That made my day!"

To which I responded, "Ahh some people think it's all about them.  Sometimes you have to positively remind them that's it not."

Ripple On!!!


Marc Miller said...

It always amazes me when people are rude to service people. They are there to help you. Do you think by being rude they will go faster?

I do not think so!

Maria Gatling said...

Great post Steve! I think they were all lucky you happened to be there at the time! You have such awesome energy about you!

Jennifer said...

Well done, Steve! I hope I have the guts to do this the next time I'm faced with a similar situation (which sadly, is all too often).

Watertown Wanderer said...

I loved this post. I see so much rude behavior coming from people, who really think they have class. If they only knew waht fools they make of themselves.