Friday, July 12, 2013
Of eggplants and pizza
The other day I was shopping at my local grocery store, and as I was examining the eggplants, the young man stocking vegetables next to me asked, "Do you need help finding anything, miss?"
"No, thanks," I said absently. "Just looking for the right eggplant."
"Okay, miss. Let me know if you need anything."
"Have a lovely day."
Now he had my attention. I'd been caught up in my eggplant-centric world, and realized I'd basically been blowing him off. He'd been polite and friendly, and I'd been too busy to notice. But I noticed now.
"What's your name?" I asked him.
"I'm Ryan, miss."
"Ryan, I want to thank you for providing such excellent customer service. Really good job."
He smiled. "Thank you, miss. It was my pleasure."
I started to walk way. No, I decided. That wasn't good enough.
"Ryan?" I asked as I turned back to him. "I'd like to let your manager know. Would you point him or her out to me?"
He did, and I did, and I watched while the manager congratulated Ryan and shook his hand. The manager didn't seem surprised to get a good report on Ryan's customer service. He probably wasn't.
Today's good deed was as much a benefit for me as for the recipient.
For years I've been a regular customer of the Chinese food restaurant next door to my office. They have good food, very reasonably priced, will accommodate your special order, and are friendly and welcoming, even when the store is busy.
I used to get lunch there every day, or most days, for months. Lately I've been brown-bagging it, but will occasionally stop in to buy a soda. They may do a good business, but they're still a family-owned shop, and I like to support them.
Today I brought my lunch to work. Leftover pizza. I was looking forward to it, but decided to stop in at Oriental Taste for a soda.
It was quiet. Much quieter than usual on a Friday. They greeted me with their usual warmth, but today it was more like they were happy to see a customer. Any customer. I bought lunch. I'll have leftover pizza for dinner.