Archived Story

Service providers need better manners

Published 12:47pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dear Editor:

I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, and sometimes I say or do some things that I later regret.  I have a list of personal flaws about a mile long.  I’m no Dear Abby or Miss Manners, but I want to bring an issue to the attention of those with jobs in contact with the public.   So please take a moment to read this passage.

Plain and simple manners.

These are the most difficult economic times in my lifetime.  Our town is struggling, as are our businesses both great and small.  People new to the area considering a move here or a business considering relocation are likely only to meet directly with a select group: those who invited them here and those who provide services.

I’m talking about the waitstaff at restaurants, cashiers at gas stations, fast food or retail stores, the service manager at the car dealership or even our elected officials, city service employees and police.

These people are the first responders to our economic recovery.

They make the first impression of what our community is all about. I recall the saying “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”

Amazingly, time after time cashiers or service industry employees fail to use two simple phrases when dealing with customers: “Please” and “Thank you.” It just takes a second to acknowledge your appreciation for a customer that has chosen your business to hand over their hard earned cash for whatever you have to offer.

I realize that many of these jobs are low pay, but that’s not an excuse for poor manners. A little bit of courtesy creates goodwill and promotes your business as a good place to trade.  This in turn projects our community as a nice place to live and work. It also ensures that the business is a success, allowing you keep your job.

Managers and owners of our local businesses are not off the hook. Are they properly training their employees on the importance of customer appreciation?  Are these owners setting a good example themselves? Many business owners have no idea what goes on with their business when they are not in the office day to day.

Take a look at empty parking lots around town at noontime all down Hwy 280, and ask yourself why these lots are not filled with eager clients.

Is it the youth in these jobs?  Could be, but youth is no excuse for poor manners. Dead-end jobs?  Maybe, but the best way to get out of a dead-end job is to excel in it and become more educated.

Frankly, many workers in our community make the average customer feel like they are doing us a favor by waiting on them when just the opposite is true.

Do I appreciate good service and acknowledge it?  Yes, I do in two ways.

First, I frequent the business again with repeat business and refer others to them.  If I don’t like the service, there is competition right across the street offering the nearly identical product at nearly identical prices.

Second, I always try to treat the employee with courtesy and respect and thank them for their prompt and courteous service just by saying thank you.  Every customer should be treated as if it’s your last, or guess what?  It just may be.

Just one more thing.

“Thank you” for taking a moment out of your day to read this, allowing me to get this off my chest.


Michael L. Thaxton