I buy fresh cherries in bulk through a co-op every July. There is a couple in town that orders thousands of cases of fresh fruit in season from Utah. It has become quite a service to the community.
That is about as local as I am going to get until I can plant the varieties of cherries that grow well in our climate.
I drove 45 minutes to the usual fruit stand yesterday morning, found a spot to park in the crowded lot and stood in the line that wrapped around the building. I then began to listen. The crowd here is usually good natured, older people who are thankful for this opportunity. They normally appreciate the fact that they are receiving 22# of cherries for only $29.00. They normally appreciate the fact that there are men standing buy with dollies to load the boxes for them. But this time I heard the mumblings of a crowd of people who were apparently not receiving the excellent customer service that they were expecting. I saw the same couple, with the same smiling faces, the same helpers graciously helping the customers. So what had changed? It was the attitude of the customers.
Gone was the appreciation of this kind service, the excellent prices and the friendly helpers. What I saw was frustration at the long line, frustration in the parking lots and rudeness. Sad:(
I started chatting good naturedly to the lady in line behind me. We were talking about berries and I told her about my blackberry bush, and my blog and my future plans. By the time it was our turn to pay at the table; I had been asked for my blog address by several of the people there.
One of the helpers had just been scolded by the last person that he helped. Then it was my turn. He was very kind and loaded my boxes into my car on the towel that I had provided to protect the seat.
I asked if he was allowed to take tips and put some cash in his hand. He bowed and thanked me, he said that I was the first person this year to offer him a tip. Then we chatted for a couple for a minute.
I noticed as I pulled out, that the lady who was next to me in the parking lot was putting a tip in the hand of the man who helped her. I thought to myself as I drove away; “did I start that”? Then I thought; “I certainly hope not. I hope that most people would think to do the same thing without an example.”
I also thought as I drove home how we expect people to take our groceries to the car. I always ask for help (if I am alone) and I always tip for that. It is an opportunity to make someone feel helpful.
We expect excellent customer service. But do we mention it to the manager when we have received it? I do! Every time. My husband rolls his eyes at me sometimes. But what does it hurt?
Shouldn’t we all–tip well, pay a complement, behave graciously and maybe even brighten someone’s day?