by Fred Haynes
“May I take your order please?”
“How can I be of service to you?”
“Good afternoon, ma’am/sir!”
“Hi..May I please have….?”
Providing a 20% tip
Being nice and polite
The aforementioned are a few customary exchanges between a customer/consumer and an establishment which renders a service. With proper etiquette, there shouldn’t be any issues with communication and behavior. Customer service is that intangible asset or goodwill which can give a certain place an edge above the rest and potentially more frequent visits because the organization values your dollar and places value on your experience, comfort, and satisfaction. On the flipside, being a good customer is a worthwhile experience for a person who is serving or trying to gain your business by appreciating their effort and willingness to appease. The saying…”the customer is always right” adds leverage to purchasing power, but it doesn’t entitle one to be rude, disrespectful or neanderthal-acting. Acting a fool because it took 2 minutes to get fries Is juvenile.
Essentially, the foundation is simply etiquette. Sometimes it can be taught and then sometimes common sense needs to be practiced. Over the years, I’ve made a few unique observations outside of the norm which could improve the etiquette via a modification of personal behavioral changes for the consumer and the provider.
1) For my people with the dreads, braids, excessively long hair…no diss, but when you dine at a buffet, salad/hot bar, please use a rubber band, scarf, a twisty-tie or something to keep your hair from dangling in the food. It’s nothing worse than being 10 feet away from a fresh, hot tray of juicy, roasted Cuban pork with seasoned steam and a vibrant aroma only to be standing behind a man with knotty dreads….and then one of his damn ropes fall into the meat. I think…”DAMMIT mon…I really wanted that pork.”
2) I’m not the tallest guy and I admit that I’ve playfully hated on tall people. However, I do have a legitimate complaint against some of them this time regarding etiquette, especially at Chipotle. Why can’t you…as other normal people…keep your arms & hands behind the counter…when ordering your burrito or bowl? It’s quite rude…dude…to use your arm like a giraffe with a crane when selecting your items. Reaching over the glass counter like Plastic Man and pointing to the barbacoa or corn salsa to within a fingertip-length of touching it and saying ” gimme some of dat” gives the food preparer a good reason to quote a classic line from the movie Bad Boys (Martin to John Salley)…”man, if you don’t sit your tall, lanky azz down. Bottom line is I will knock you the phuck out. The phuck is wrong with you?!”
1) Years ago, I used to buy music cd’s and DVD’s from a now defunct store..Circuit City. After a few visits and discussions with other brothers, we discovered a common practice at a few of their stores….THE SALES REPS ALWAYS FOLLOWED US!!! I generally like to give folk the benefit of the doubt, but when I go down every isle, turn back and see the same guy peeking around the corner or if he’s a few feet behind me, never says a word, but yet makes eerie eye contact with me….let’s me know I’m being followed. Several remedies to enact yo get them off of your back:
a) ask the rep to check their inventory for hard-to-find music pre-1965 which you know they don’t have. Repeat this about 10 times to him/her until they disappear and leave you to shop freely.
b) confront the stalking rep and inform him that you have no interest in participating or being the lead in a 2 person parade so stop following stalking.
c) BOYCOTT! My 2 cousins and I imposed a boycott on Circuit City, Montgomery Wards and Nonnies Pizza. Soon after, 2 of the 3 went out of business. The 3 of us “high 5’ed” each other as we sipped Sun-Kist from wine goblets to celebrate the power of our dollar and how we brought down “giants” who practiced poor etiquette with consumers.
Bottom line, engage a potential customer to assist, but then allow he/she to browse and shop without making them feel like criminals.
2) I work hard to get my money loaf. After the government takes a few slices, then 401k, family insurance, bills, savings, food, etc….there’s really not that much bread left. When it’s time to spend what little I have left, I want to be treated with respect. I know being a cashier is tough dealing with standing, scanning, counting money, etc. However, some cashiers….quite frankly, just don’t give a damn. Here are some DON’T’s:
a) Using profanity under your breath because your boss pissed you off. DON’T do that!
b) If a customer hands you money, please place the change in hand instead of the counter. DON’T do that!
c) Flirting with a female customer while her husband is standing there just wrong (it happened to me as this 4’11 guy tried to mack on my wife). DAMMIT…DON’T do that!
d) If a customer is purchasing a pack of Philly Blunts, don’t say “can I have one? I got some weed I want to smoke when I get off”. DON’T do that!
Etiquette, people….ETIQUETTE! It doesn’t take that much practice if you exercise it daily. It speaks volume about you. I still can’t believe dude tried to mack my wife while I was standing there.