A Little More

“Would you like a bag?” It was a standard question, one I’m sure she asked every customer. I suppose it was a habit by now since she asked the question without looking at me. The register beeped methodically as it recorded the prices. “I have a bag right here.” She grabbed my bag and tossed it on the counter with the purchased items. She told me the total and handed me the receipt while my small number of purchased items remained on the counter. It was only then that I realized she was waiting for me to bag my items.

            As I searched for my keys at the bottom of my purse, I was surprised to find myself suddenly doing her job. At least it felt that way to me. I jokingly told my husband the other day that we would soon be telling our grandchildren about the days we could shop in an actual store inside a thing called a building with the store’s name on it. I imagined our granddaughters listening to the story with awe and wonder as I told them “we could even see and touch the real item before we bought it!”

            I’m rambling. My point is this. When did we (as a society) start offering the bare bones to do our job? What happened to pride in a job well done? (I know, I sound like my ninety-seven year old mother!) I realize that not every job is a career choice but the habits we develop in those formative employment positions could make or break attaining the job or career we want in the future.

            Many years ago (too many to reveal how many) when I started my job at Sears at the age of fifteen, my boss taught us what “customer service” meant. He taught us that with every action and word we shared, the customer would determine whether they returned to the store in the future. He said, “Doing just a little more can make all the difference.”

            I’m not limiting this suggestion to customer service in a store. Trust me, I get that not everyone participated in Girl or Boy Scouts, but leaving a place looking better than when you arrived, offering a helping hand, greeting another with a smile, listening to the story of our elders (for the umpteenth time) just because they want social interaction, is what “a little more” looks like.

            One could argue that by bagging my own items, I was doing a little more. I don’t think so. In this case, I’m afraid the lack of service went much deeper. It felt more like a lack of gratitude. It may have been resentment about even having to work at all. It may have been evidence of a much deeper lack in the individual behind the register. Who knows?

            Regardless, I think our world could use a “little more” from all of us, myself included.

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