Better Service

Happily, I generally get good service from folks at a restaurant, the post office, and at Starbucks. Once, at dinner, friends of mine made their usual smirks and obnoxious comments about how I request “no cheese, no oil, fat free, extra ice, more bread, another drink, and rigatoni instead of linguine” during meals out.

“There he goes again,” my dinner companions complain. “But the server never gets mad at him. I ask for another soda – and I get a passive aggressive stare”, they quip.

I decided that my exceeding personal charms and shocking good looks couldn’t be the reason for this perceived difference in service. So, I set out to find if I was treated better and if so, why? First, my friends are correct – I do get better service. Two factors emerged as potential reasons for this.

First, my friends at the dinner order their entrée and neither say please, nor thank you. Seriously! While these friends are generally mannerly people, I noticed in ordering they use neither! Second, they don’t look at the server. Literally.

Now, if you don’t say please and you don’t look at the person who’s serving you – how would you expect them to react to you? You do nothing for them to give you more – so they give you less.

I look them right in the eye – I smile at them and I ask for favors with plenty of SINCERE “pleases” and “thank yous”. I am understanding when they can’t accommodate unusual requests and am OBVIOUSLY grateful when they can. I get the favors and the smiles back. I sometimes get a coy wink from the cute server. Frequently, I even get something for free.

This mini experiment has turned into a slight obsession. I watch how people order lattes, cheeseburgers, and trashy magazines in the airport. It’s often the same – no eye contact, no please, and no thank you. It’s very transactional; as if the person serving them were an ATM. Again, you give little, you get little.

Want better service? How about trying this:

  1. Look the person in the eye and SMILE if you can. Pause briefly. (Too long is creepy.)
  2. Say, “May I PLEASE have two chocolate cookies and a large orange juice.” (Or whatever you’re ordering.)
  3. Then SMILE and say THANK YOU!

Try it! Watch what you get back. You will almost always be smiled at, you will get your items more quickly, and YOU might even get a wink from the cute server. What’s best? Regardless of whether or not you notice better service, you’ll feel different, more confident, more pleasant, and more motivated!

A please and a thank you can take you a long way when it comes to service.

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