Monday, December 31, 2007

Starbucks Stock Goes Up

In light of my experience observing the human condition, it's natural to assume than when people are given the opportunity to treat others badly, they will... If people might be permitted to stand a head above the crowd, even by battering others down to get there, they will. On one hand, I see this macrocosm created daily in my store; on the other, is this blog topic not just another reproduction of this same tension, only the roles reversed? Anyway, not to be swayed into self-deprication... My friend/co-worker and I one day observed that ironically of the business executives that enter the store daily, those whom have succeeded are those who treat us with courtesy, diginity, and respect. While those whom take every opportunity to complain, condescend, speak down, belittle, or blame, are typically the ones being swallowed alive in the office. Any attempt to shed a small percentage of the verbal beating they receive each day is well worth the cost. My friend/co-worker's response? "I could buy and sell you." My friend/co-worker retired early from her first highly successfuly career in stained glass. She rendered many of the glassy prisms in Boulder which make Boulder Boulder. When she says, "I could buy and sell you," it's because she really could. Oh pawn of the American dream, please try to pull yourself away from your phone long enough to tell us decaf when you're ordering, rather than making a scene when you receive your regular coffee. It's just nickels and dimes to us - easy come, easy go.

Crazy Old Man

At what age do you specifically reach the "you're an old man, so you can do and say whatever you like?" The other day we had an older gentleman (well, gentleman is generous) in line in our lobby who asked the woman in front of him, "Are you an Indian?" She graciously responded, "yep, what part of India do you think I'm from?" He replied,"the part with the elephants?" No, sir, the part with the highly successful optomologists who own and operate two eye clinics in the area and vacation bi-annually in the tropics. We all laughed at his off-hand remark, "oh that crazy old man," as he continued to offer lewd suggestions to the "blonde, red-head, and brunette" working behind the counter. What a character, huh?! Why, in some cases, do we settle for, "crazy old man" - and in others, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Milk Money

Working inside a shopping mall, our Starbucks experiences particularly high volume on weekend days. Most of the day, we have a line of customers out the door to that model car mall management displays to encourage passer-bys to give out their personal information for a chance to win, not the car, but a courtesy phone call for an opportunity to pick up a time share somewhere in Arizona! On one of these busy days, I was working my way down the line asking customers what they would like to drink in order to speed the paying process at the registers. I came across a woman who briskly held up a boxed child's chocolate milk. "I just need this," she glowered. "Ok, sounds good, we will ring you up as soon as we are able." I turned to greet the customer behind her only to barely miss the boxed milk sailing right by my ear. Had this bundle of joy actually thrown a box of milk at me? Indeed she had! As I looked at her for some sort of explanation, she thundered, "My child is choking, I don't have time to wait in your line!" Oh chocolate milk, elixer of choking children, salve of life-threatening emergencies. "I appologize ma'am, you're welcome to take a box of milk and I will take care of payment later, I didn't realize it was an emergency. We also have a free water station right behind you if you'd rather..." It was too late... my words fell deafly on the backside of b.o.j. exiting the store in humiliating haste. Perhaps she suddenly comprehended that yes, she had just thrown a box of milk at another person, and yes, every other customer in line was glaring after her, and yes, throwing boxes of milk at another person in any public place is far from appropriate, adult, mature behavior. I watched her scuffle back to her husband and uncoughing child outside the store and returned to "my line," this time ready for anything, even flying milk.

The Customer is Always Right

This is an introduction to a blog series entitled, "The Customer is Always Right." In it, I'd like to highlight key moments in my experience of customers blantantly blurring the line between right and wrong. As a practical application, I'd like to encourage readers to endure a thorough self-evaluation. The next time you're in line for service from your local barista, hamburger flipper, delivery man, banker, etc., consider, this person across the counter may actually be smarter than me. This person may have graduated validictorian from their high school, or speak three languages, or graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors) from a prestigious university, or been a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, or retired early from a highly successful first career, or be a millionaire working for fun, or dance professionally, or sing professionally, or research alongside nobel laureates, or simply exist outside of said establishment's walls... A good rule of thumb I appreciate is the following: assume the service agest across from you is a human being, treat them as you would treat a human being.

Now, without further ado... customer greats...