Being Polite Part 2

Read Part 1 here

(Customer – does it sounds familiar? Cartoon source: http://www.whalecottage.com)

I still recall stand-up comedian Kumar’s joke – when he walked into a high class boutique, the salesgirl looked at him from head to toe with a puzzled face that asked “do you have money to buy things?” He of course got annoyed with the treatment that he got from the salesgirl that he proceeded to buy something very expensive and paid for it with coins.

Kumar’s joke may sound funny but it is reality in some places. Just how many of the business places that you been to (say a restaurant, shopping complex, workshop, etc) have been very polite and treated you like a real customer? Have you been to places where you were treated like a stray dog from the street and as if you owe the business the money? Where the very clothes you wear – colourful flip-flops, short pants (with torn edges) and dirty looking T-shirt is looked at rather suspiciously (despite you are paying for the items with hard cold cash)? Where words like “thanks” and “please” are looked up as it is some kind of forbidden words?

I have been to restaurants where you have to wait for a long time before somebody comes along to attend you (and in case you were wondering, the restaurant is almost empty). There is one time, I went with couple of my friends (one was too drunk to say anything, others just sober enough to be decent) to a restaurant. We were so hungry and this was one of the places that were still opened at time of the hour. We tried calling the staff to take our orders but no one came. My friend who was too drunk say anything earlier immediately got annoyed and started to shout vulgar words at the restaurant staff. That brought 2 – 3 staffs rushing to our place to take our orders but we had enough of this nonsense and we walked out (RM50 – RM70 of potential business lost).

Sometimes the staffs get the orders wrong but do nothing to apologise for the mistake. They even insist you eating the wrong dish and pay for it. And when you go up to the counter to pay, you end up facing an arrogant looking man who take your bill and your money (some even counter check the note several times in front of you – as if you have given them some counterfeit notes) without a smile and without even looking at your face and then double, triple count the balance to return (as if we are trying to cheat the shop for couple of cents) and put it on the counter for you to take it (try going to some of the mamak restaurant counters and you will see what I mean).

Sometimes, the problem with staff is not that they are rude people by nature (some looked too nervous to smile) but the problem is there may be a lack of training or supervision or lead by example to get these lowly ranked staff to be polite and courteous to the customers. Like the example of the Chinese restaurant in Part 1 – I gathered that because the owner is always try his best to be very polite to the customers, that somehow got stuck with his staff as well – a classic case of leadership by example.

For those places where we are not treated with some respect and where words like “thanks”, “please”, “sorry” are considered “forbidden”, we often say “screw them” – we do not go back to the same place twice and we even tell others on our bad experience with the business. It is not like we are asking for items or services for free. We are paying for it with our hard earned money and we deserve some respect. So, sorry to say this but for those places where they are simply rude to the customers, we just hope that these businesses lose more customers and end up closing shop permanently.

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