Resolution idea helps daily life

Published 11:27 pm Monday, January 7, 2008

By Staff
I have made a resolution this week. It's not a New Year's resolution, even though I've declared it at the beginning of the year.
The resolution I have made is good for any time of the year. It's not something that's particularly personal like losing weight or exercising more, but a resolution that could change my life (or at least my attitude) and may even have an some effect on you as well.
The resolution I have made recently is to speak up.
Many times, I have been to restaurants or other establishments and have received less than friendly service.
What made me think about it is how aggravated I was when I left a local fast-food restaurant recently.
With the busy schedule I have with my job, cooking meals at home is sometimes impossible. Because of that, I often call on establishments in Brewton and East Brewton to help with my family's meals.
Just last week I drove up to a restaurant's outside menu and took a look at what the offerings were. Of course, it's always the same: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches and some sort of chicken product suitable for children.
Immediately upon stopping my vehicle, a voice boomed from the speaker asking me to “hold.” All right, I'll admit it must be hard to make change for someone already at the window and push the buttons to order a hamburger with no pickle at the same time. I decided it was perfectly acceptable to have to wait a moment or two to place my order. No problem.
The voice boomed from the loudspeaker again telling me to “go ahead with your order.” I did. Ordering burgers for four people took only a minute or two. I was told what my total bill was and was then told to drive to the first window. Not once in the more than four minutes I sat in front of the speaker did the booming voice say please or thank you.
As directed, I drove to the first window only to have the clerk stand at the open window and stare at me. Now mind you, I'm pretty smart. When she said my total was $11.53 while sitting at the speaker thingy, I knew what she would expect to receive at the window where I now sat.
I didn't expect balloons or a fanfare when I handed her the $20 bill, but I would have expected a “good evening” or some other similar salutation now that we were face-to-face. No such luck.
I handed her the $20 and she gave me change. With the way things were going so far in this transaction, I decided to check my change to make sure it was correct. I don't always do that. I take for granted these employees know what they're doing or they wouldn't be allowed to do it. But, still, I checked.
Even though I sat at the first window long enough to pay, receive change and checked it for accuracy, not once did the clerk say “thank you” or “have a nice day.” Again, I didn't expect a bubbly attendant to wish me happiness and prosperity, but it would have been nice to be told my business was appreciated. Didn't happen.
Finally, after having another vehicle receive its order and proceed from the drive-through line, I made my way to the second window to receive the order I had placed. Again, the clerk, who was busy making the drinks to go with the hamburgers I had ordered, failed to acknowledge my presence. Not once did she say “hello.” As a matter of fact, she never uttered a sound while handing me three soft-drink cups and two bags of food.
Becoming more than just a little perturbed, I made it a point to stay put in that spot by the second window to make sure my order had been prepared as ordered. Three burgers with fries and one kids meal completed the food portion of my order. After checking I realized that I was one drink short of having a complete order. I asked for the fourth and final drink. The reply from the clerk got me to the boiling point. “What did you order?” was the question from the clerk. Fine. I told her, and with a little huff, she proceeded in putting some orange soda in a child's cup to complete the transaction. I had decided I had interrupted the train of activity and therefore deserved the little huff puffed at me by the clerk.
Ticked off, I drove away from the establishment. That's when this resolution crossed my mind. Speak up.
What I should have done that night was to pull around to the front door, get out of my vehicle and go inside in search of a management-type person. I should have gotten the names of the two clerks I had come in contact with at the two windows. I should have demanded a little more satisfaction with my visit to the restaurant, but I didn't.
My resolution will now be put into action as I make sure the next time I am not satisfied with service or am treated rudely to let someone in charge know my feelings.
It's my money, my time away from my family, that is paying salaries for all of these people I come in contact with daily. If I am paying for your services, I expect to be treated with respect and consideration. I'm sorry if you're having a bad day, but leave it in the break room, leave it at home, or don't work the window!
Consider this, if you were paying someone to plan a party, plan a wedding or cater a function you were planning, would you put up with them not getting it quite right or treating you like an intrusion into their day? I didn't think so. So why in the world would we let folks at a fast-food restaurant mess up our meal, grunt and huff at us and never thank us for our business?
Now that you know what my resolution is for the rest of my life, I hope that business owners who read this will take that into consideration when choosing which clerk works the drive-up windows, the counter-service spots or any other public-contact point in their business. I've decided if I don't like the way I'm treated at one place, there are several other places that would love my business.
Lisa Tindell is the news editor for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by email at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.