Being Polite Part 1

(How often you have people behind the counter treating you like you owe them something? – Cartoon source: http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/)

Just the other day, I watched the movie “Invictus” and noticed that Nelson Mandela (excellently acted by Morgan Freeman) was a very polite man. He was courteous and well mannered even to his “ex-enemies”. In case you missed Invictus, the movie was about a leader who was trying to get his country united – bringing people from various background, culture and race as one nation (this movie should be watched by some so-called leaders in Malaysia – they can learn a thing or two if their ego is not bigger than their brain) through the game of rugby (played by a majority white).

Somehow after watching the movie, something about Nelson Mandela being polite stuck with me. And I start to reflect on my daily encounters with people. No need to look at how some people behave on the road – using the emergency lane, cutting queues, changing lanes without proper signal, hogging the road, using no-entry lanes, etc – they are nothing but selfish filthy bastards. No, I am not talking about them – for them, we need the strong hand of the law to deal with them (either increased in traffic fines – screw that for now or one hard whack on their bare buttocks once caught red-handed).

No, I am talking about the people who provide goods and services. How they treat us, the end purchasers or users? Do we get to hear the all important “please”, “sorry” and “thanks”?

2 weeks ago, I took my family out for dinner – we decided to go for the Chinese Restaurant near our house (we love this place – the food is good and reasonably priced and if we order takeaways, we get free drinks). Unfortunately when we arrived, there were no empty tables. The restaurant was so pack with large families. We were about to leave when we noticed one large group had finished their dinner and was leaving. We quickly took over the table. On the table, it was a mess, left by the earlier group – we wanted the restaurant staff to quickly clear the table.

However due to the crowd, the restaurant staff was busy but the owner had noticed us and came apologising to us and explained on the situation and asked us to be patient. He said he will get someone to clear the table as soon as possible. He apologised again. Soon after one staff came over, apologising for being late to clear the table and immediately cleared our table. Another came down and took our orders and we did not really need to wait long for dinner to be cooked. We did not mind waiting for our dinner as we understood that the kitchen had to cope with large orders for the night. We did not mind because we felt appreciated.

A week earlier, I took my car for service to my usual workshop (the place where I am usually known as the boss). After I had parked my car, I came out and told the mechanic that I wanted to service my car. The mechanic looked back at the number of cars at the shop and asked whether I was willing to wait for my turn. I said I had no problem. The workshop owner came in and decided to help out to clear the cars – soon he was working on my car. Advice and suggestions were given promptly and he even pointed out to my tires which was almost bald. I wanted to also add the fuel booster and I informed him and he thanked me. Service was done up fast and during that time and until I left the shop, I lost count of the “thanks” that I got from the owner.

The above is two simple examples where the businesses are simply being polite to its customers and in return get customers who wishes to go back to the same place in the future (even if at times, the cost of items in these places can be more expensive from other places).

To be continued…

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