This I Believe

Christina - Fithian, Illinois
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

“How old are you? I think someone your age should know how much sour cream I need on a baked potato! I have people who have been through a HURRICANE at my house; I would think you could give me enough sour cream!” And so I was berated by a woman not to long ago for apparently not giving her a satisfactory amount of sour cream. I believe that people should have a low wage service job at some point in their life. I think that the only way to learn the proper behavior to use when dealing with these sorts of workers to become one of them. I myself work in a restaurant where I am paid little over minimum wage and I often wish that some of the customers had an idea of what that was like.

I think people would expect much less from these kinds of workers if they were to experience their plight. I know that I do. I think many people would come to realize that most of those who are not in a management position do not really care if you ever come back. They are much more concerned with having a pleasant experience themselves than they are with the customers having one. I have told more than one story to a manger telling of how a customer was a little batty rather than admitting that I wasn’t the most polite to them. And the great thing is that most of the time the manger believes me!

It would also teach others that being a mean person really gets you nowhere when dealing with less than stellar service. When a woman was screaming at the top of her lungs because I could not seat her and her 15 guests at the same table immediately at seven o’clock on a Saturday night do you think that I and my coworkers rushed to help get her seated as soon as possible? Oh no, we bussed off her table as slow as possible hours later when it finally became available. When she was rude to her sever, do you think they offered her extra food or were especially nice? Not to a woman who already seemed unlikely to leave a tip. But there have been other times when people have been unhappy with their food or service and politely mentioned it. These are the kind of people who usually get new food, a free desert and a sincere apology.

When we experience something we learn from it. I believe that by being forced to serve others we learn how to be served ourselves. Not only would it benefit those doing the serving through our understanding of their situation, but it would also benefit ourselves by teaching us more about the world we all share and sharing with a little less friction. And maybe if we ask nicely for extra sour cream we would also be offered extra cheese and bacon.