Monday, July 18, 2011
kindness in a customer
I have worked many a job in my life. Most of them have involved working with other people, customers. At Dairy Queen I served up burgers and ice cream, at Montana's Cookhouse I seated people and cleaned tables, at Michael's I stocked shelves and helped people around the store. At the newspapers I've reported for I've interviewed and photographed and told people's stories. And now, this summer, I paint the place to which they live day and night.
In all of the above, if there is anything of value I have learned, it's that kindness is a virtue and it is one that is thin on the ground... it so rarely exists.
An employee is aware he or she must be kind; provide hellos, work hard, smile and do everything one can to satisfy the paying customer. But what is so rarely considered is the contrasting attitude of the customer. If you hope to see the people you've hired do a fabulous job of whatever it is they have been hired to do, do not hover over them and point out the smallest of imperfections at the beginning of a job. Give your workers a chance to prove that they suffice. Do not accuse them of "ripping" you off, or "changing a contract," and then proceed to ignore them when they are trying to communicate with you and clear the confusion.
Do not assume that you are right - because you live here, or you are a contractor - and the painter is wrong, or does not know what he or she is doing. And do not assume that because we are "just painters" we are mindless hosts that lack the capacity to do anything properly.
If you ever hire a contractor, a plumber, a painter, a drywall man/woman, an electrician, a carpenter, or if you are ever in line at a Dairy Queen ordering food, please for goodness sake do not assume that because you are the one hiring, or the one ordering, that that gives you the right to mistreat the person behind the counter, or the one holding the brush.
Do not assume that because I have paint in my hair and drywall dust in my eyes, that I am an uneducated and inexperienced human being. And do not, when I am trying to communicate with you and saying that, "we must respect one another," turn your head from mine and wave your hand in my face as if to shove me off for being so ridiculous.
Kindness is so lacking sometimes in this world, and it is at brief moments (like today) that I encounter it. For goodness sake, be nice, people.
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. - Samuel Johnson