Tag: manners

The Ripple Effect… by JoAnn

A while back, I wrote a missive about the importance of saying “thank you.” Today I realized that things have not improved at all since I wrote that missive.

With all that is going on in this world, kindness is not only very needed, but it is also the most “FREE” thing we can offer anyone. It costs absolutely nothing, folks!

A simple “thank you” or a smile with a “good morning” can go a long way in causing a ripple effect in someone’s life. Maybe that person you give a friendly smile and good morning to will feel more hope for their day because of your efforts. Perhaps they will, in turn, smile at someone and have a kind word for someone else to help them get through their day.

The ripple effect is real. Positive breeds positive, and negative breeds negative. Whether it’s in an attitude or action, it matters!

I went to a drive-through last week in hopes of receiving a nice hamburger for my lunch. Getting out of the house the past two years has been rare for me. When I do decide to get out, I want to enjoy myself. I love hamburgers, and I looked forward to having one this day.

Upon giving my order to the lady on the other end of the speaker box, I knew instantly that things weren’t going to go smoothly. She was clearly busy doing something else, and I did not have her full attention. She asked me to repeat my order at least three times before she finally had it correct, or so I had thought. When she gave out my total, it was about $3 over, so I knew she had not heard me the two times I explained that I had a coupon.

I pull up to the window with a smile on my face, not really too bothered. Perhaps the workers were just swamped inside. The lady who took my order was not the usual teenager I see at this fast food joint. She was around forty. She tells me my total, and I hand her my coupon. Without saying a word to me, she yells, yes YELLS, to another employee, “How do I do this?!”. She finally got the total correct, and I handed her my debit card. I was given my hamburger, and off I went. There was no “thank you,” no sorry for the mix-up, nothing. And definitely no smile.

I guess you could say I was a little put-off by the service I had just received. I have encountered many teenage employees who do not say thank you or act friendly. I know they are still learning, and don’t take it too personally. After all, if their home life has not taught them to say thank you and to be kind, they are not going to be that way at work. It will take a while for them to learn the importance of both on their own.

But someone forty years old should know better! I may have had a coupon and was receiving a half-priced burger, but still, I deserved to be treated with professionalism and courtesy just as much as a customer who was ordering one of everything on the menu.

My question as I pulled out of the parking lot was, “What are these managers telling these employees when training them?! Are the managers actually training them?!” I am beginning to think that professional training is a thing of the past. Why else would this be happening every place I go? I am a kind person who greets everyone with a smile and a pleasant disposition. I know the problem is not me.

I had a conversation with my oldest granddaughter, Randi, about this. She had worked in fast food at Subway for a while. Randi is 17 and will graduate this year. She assured me that she was always kind and said thank you to customers and gave them the best service she could. I believed her. And I felt very proud not just of Randi, but my daughter & son in law who I know had raised her to be this way.

Randi did tell me several stories of horrible customers she had to deal with. Each of my three daughters has had their turn working for customer service, so I’ve heard many of these stories before. I have always taken that into account when I am the customer. I make a special effort to be kind, patient, and forgiving. But even someone like me has their limit, I guess.

I decided that was the last time I would endure such unpleasantness at that particular fast food place. They no longer had me as a customer. I’m sure they won’t miss me as I didn’t spend much money there. I still believe it is a shame for them to lose a good customer, though. I wonder what the manager, or better yet, the owner, would think of this story. Would it make a difference somehow? Would they try to train their employees to have better manners? Who knows. Maybe I’ll try to find out.

No matter what, I will continue to do my best to make a positive ripple wherever I go. I hope you’ll join me.

Does Integrity Have A Price?

😎 As most of you probably know, my wife and I are downsizing and planning on moving into a retirement community within the next few years.  So, we are continually trying to sell/giveaway possessions, some worth a little and some held onto for way too long.  A couple of weeks ago I sold the Carolina Skiff I had down at the pier, and the other day I placed the little 3 horsepower outboard motor down at our front yard curb with a sale sign that said I was willing to let it go for a mere $25.  The next morning, I glanced out the window and then remarked to my wife that it was still there.  She remarked that it could be stolen by leaving it there overnight.  Well, says I, during the day the price is $25, but during the night it’s free.  I wonder if there are many people willing to sell their integrity for that much money?  I’ve often heard that everyone has a price that will convince them to do what they consider despicable.  I have great respect for the minister of our church, and I would be very sad if there was a price that could induce him to violate his pledge to the Lord.  I believe it has a lot to do with your age.  If you promise an old guy an additional 10 years of life, I’m of the opinion he’ll come in the middle of the night and take that darn motor away.  If you are in the age range of 20 – 50, then you’re gonna want money.  My bet is that $500,000 would snare at least 80% of those asked to do that nasty deed.  Yes, I know that is a pretty low opinion of mankind, but I see a lot that convinces me that I’m right.

By this time, you’re probably wondering what my price would be?  It would not be the money because I quite possibly would not live along enough to spend it.  But the 10-year thingy would definitely be enticing.  Georges Duhamel said, “To drink is a small matter.  To be thirsty is everything.”  Stealing that outboard motor would be a small matter, but it’s effect on your integrity would be everything.  Time to put this story to rest:  A few days ago, we returned from our walk and an old guy was sitting in his dilapidated pickup truck, in front of the outboard motor, waiting for us to return home.  I parked in our driveway and ambled down to greet him, shook his hand, and began to tell him about that faded old engine that was way past it’s prime.  I could easily tell that he was kinda down on his luck, so I informed him that he could have the everything free of charge if he wanted it.  Who would have thought that saving $25 could brighten someone’s eyes that much?  I helped him load it into his truck, wished him well, and watched him as he drove away with a smile on his face.  As that old truck faded into the distance, I noticed that he had left something behind.  He had left part of his smile on my face too!  I thought about it for a few minutes and as I slowly walked up the driveway towards the house, I knew that I had received a lot more than the $25 I was asking.  I could almost feel the Lord tap me on the shoulder and say, oh so softly, “Now didn’t that feel really good?”  Yep, sure did!

֎ I recently read an article in the New York Times, written by Tim Herrera, about how to be a good conversationalist and I thought he had some excellent tips.  According to Tim, there are three tiers of conversation:

  1. Casual – Talk about sports, weather, pop culture, local celebrities, and shared experiences.
  2. Controversial – talk about religion, politics, dating, and your love life.
  3. Intimate – talk about family, finances, health, and work.

Do not ask questions that put someone in a tight spot. For example, “Is your boyfriend here?” Instead, say, “Catch me up on your life, or what’s going on at work.”

Two Harvard researchers in the Psychology Department found that talking about yourself triggers the same pleasure sensation in the brain as food.  People will forgo money in order to talk about themselves (hmm, I don’t think I know anyone like that).  The point here is, do not be a conversation hog!  Share the conversation pie.  Share half if there are two of you, and a quarter if there are four.  Be attentive and make eye contact, also making active and engaged facial expressions.  At times, repeat back what was said and ask questions.  If something to say pops into your mind, don’t say it, go back to listening.  Bring it up later if it’s important.  If you say something that may be controversial, seek out the other person’s opinion.

During a daily walk recently, I made an anti-Trump comment to a dear and close family member, and as soon as it slipped from my tongue, I knew that I had dropped a bomb.  She is pro-Trump and was immediately offended, defending him with heart and soul.  I felt so badly about my comment, and after she finished, I quickly changed the topic.  I am hopeful that she has forgiven me.  I forgot rule #2: Don’t talk about politics (unless you know that all of you have the same viewpoint).

Many times, we encounter someone that dominates the conversation, and it is never pleasant to be excluded from participating in the gentle banter of friends.  I often find that I am guilty of monopolizing conversations and when I realize it, I back off and let others say whatever is on their mind.  It is a humbling experience.  There is a good chance that a lot of us do that without knowing we are “hogging” the pie of conversation.

Probably, all of us already knew most of those things mentioned above, but it’s always good to bring them to the forefront and remind ourselves of the need to be a good conversationalist.

Henry Hawkins said, “The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing,”

👀 My daughter needed the storm door replaced on her townhouse and I agreeably volunteered to do that project for her so it wouldn’t be too expensive.  Off we go, on a bright sunny Saturday, to a Lowe’s hardware store, to find a new one.  We found it rather quickly, checked out, and headed to her house to install the darn thing.  It took me about 45 minutes to remove the old door (I always struggle with these types of projects 😜), unpack the new one and start the assembly process.  We immediately noticed that a major part had a dent, but rather than box it up and take it back, I decided I could straighten it out with my trusty rubber hammer.  After struggling with the thing for an hour, or so, I reluctantly decided it should go back. My daughter had been urging me to do that very thing since noticing the defective part.  Ignoring her advice, I plunged ahead and then, ultimately, agreed with her.

Frustrated, I drove back to the store, returned the door, and asked for a replacement. After reassessing my ability to do this job, I decided to hire someone to do it for me.  Fortunately, I have a friend that does these types of jobs for a fee and would welcome the opportunity to relieve me of this stress. My dad used to warn me as a young lad to, “not bite off more than you can chew.”  I believe I could eat that sandwich, I’m just not sure I want to.  I am willing to pay my friend whatever he charges, within reason, and move on to other things. I want my daughter’s front door to look nice, and I fear it would not if I did the job.  There’s an old Yiddish Proverb that says, “He that can’t endure the bad, will not live to see the good.”  Hmmm, that worries me a little 🤢.

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