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Column: Whatever Happened To Service With A Smile?k

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / January 21, 1998

Jeanne and I stopped at a Taco Bell in Mandeville a few weeks ago. For thelast couple of years, we’ve made it a habit. I’d say we frequent the placeat least twice a month, always on a Saturday night, after our visit to adrug rehabilitation center.

On our last visit, Jeanne said, “This is one of my favorite places, and thereason is because all of the employees are so nice!” I have to admit thatwe are always greeted with a smile and the courtesy extended to us isexcellent! The tacos are pretty good, the establishment is very clean, butthe one thing that impresses us the most is the employees. I wish I couldget the same treatment at other establishments that I support.”

This past Sunday, I had to go to the grocery store to get a few things. Tobe specific, we needed eggs, Triscuits, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, tunafish and aluminum foil.

It’s been my routine to shop at this certain place for the past 13 years.Many of the employees are friendly and nice, but lately it seems as thoughthe attitude of most of the employees is that they are doing you a favor byserving you. I don’t necessarily expect a smile each time (even though thatwould be nice and doesn’t cost anything), but I certainly get turned off bysomeone who, instead of a smile, looks like they just finished sucking alemon.

Getting back to Sunday – when I was ready to check out only one line ofmany was open and it had a line of people, some with baskets full. Theexpress line was closed.

I went to Customer Service and asked if someone could check me out. Theperson I asked surely wasn’t excited about my request. “I can’t check outthe sweet potatoes,” she said, drily. “Why?” I asked. “Don’t have a scalehere to weigh them,” she answered. Impatiently, and not very politemyself, I said, “Keep the potatoes – just check me out.”

Needless to say, Iwas aggravated. One young lady witnessed this incident and shared that itwas ridiculous, in fact, almost funny.

All I wanted to do was support this business, and I was treated like I wasan intruder or the enemy. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed theuncaring service at this certain place, but for some reason, Sunday’s lackof service really got to me. I think it’s time the buying public startsdemanding good service with a smile.

I didn’t mention the name of the business establishment, but I will sendthis article to the management and explain my concerns about theirservice.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist with L’Observateur.

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