This time, the whack in the head came via Annapolis, Maryland … the home of the United States Naval Academy. Annapolis is one pretty town … especially on a bright, clear Saturday morning in late May. Weather wise, my wife and I hit a homerun as we sauntered in and out of the cute little shops.
We eventually wandered into a Christmas Shop down near the docks and began browsing. We both overheard a woman with an accent (Russian) ask the young lady behind the counter if they could take a picture of this lovely “shop” as they had never seen anything quite so beautiful?
Between bites from a bagel with cream cheese, the young gal uttered with absolutely no eye contact whatsoever, “No. Store policy.” Of course, being the guy who spends most of his waking hours teaching people how to treat their customers like dogs, found my immediate attention drifting toward something that was none of my business. None the less, I figured that here was an ideal opportunity to spread some good, old fashion American hospitality to a couple of guests. (We all should be on active alert for opportunities like this one.)
Understanding that this had little to do with me, I silently approached the counter and asked the same question, from my intermediary position. Same response, but I swear I saw some cream cheese flying in my direction. I dodged the projectile and asked to plead my case to the store manager hoping to reverse the store policy just this one time. “He is around here somewhere, but I don’t know where he is at!”
(By the way, although this is now used as if it is acceptable, the word “at” has no place at an end of a sentence. You heard it here. If you want to show the world that you are uneducated, throw in a few “at’s” at the end of a sentence. And while you are at it, use “aks” in place of the word “ask.” This should position you nicely.)
Final Result: Store clerk “1.” Marchev “0.’
Upon leaving in defeat, I mentioned to the counter help that the store policy probably had some small print somewhere between the covers that alludes to the point that the help should not toss cream cheese missiles in the direction of potentially paying customers. My wife very politely suggested that it would be in her best interest if she actively started looking for a job she actually enjoyed.
Because I value your readership and applaud your intelligence, I am not going to explain the glaring lessons in this sequence of events. There are more than one. I will simply mention that it is not always in your best interest to blindly follow your procedure policy manual … and it is not advisable to say “no” while eating cream cheese. If, by chance, the shoe fits, you might also want to consider looking for a job that isn’t a “job.” I can feel the bristles now!
Mike Marchev is a world-renowned motivational speaker who urges owners and managers to teach the youngsters (and oldsters) how things are done properly in a competitive environment. “The tail is wagging the dog folks. This trend must be reversed … quickly.”
The Naval Academy is a wonderful place, filled with respect. Across the wall is Annapolis, which in our nine year experience living in that region is the most arrogant town in our increasingly arrogant nation. So, your experience is not very surprising.
I have experienced this type of behavior in store employees also. Evidently, there is no training in how to greet customers. Eating in sight of customers should be the first ‘NO-NO’.
I have also experienced ignoring customers when I worked in a store front agency. I sat at a desk toward the back with 3 others agents, with no receptionist. When someone came in the door, I looked up, but no one else did, so I would greet the customer from the back of the room, and invite them to come to my desk, or wait a moment and I would help them. All the while, the other agents were glued to their computers or whatever they were working on. This always irritated me, but at the end of the year, I was the one winning awards for sales.
Lack of training is also evident when talking on the phone with reservations or businesses. Slurred speech, talking too fast or indistinctly. I am always asking someone to repeat or speak slower and more distinctly.
I wonder sometimes, ‘where do they find these employees?’
So does the story end there? Or did Mike call/email/write to the store manager? I sure hope so!