A few years ago I was assigned the task to pick up coffee for everyone in the department. I ordered five of them and after the fifth coffee was given to me, I asked the associate behind the counter for a drink tray. She gave me the, “You are the 50th person who has asked me for a tray and now I’m really irritated!!” look.
The associate looked at me, and immediately her “I’m too good to help you” demeanor changed to, “Oh *^%^#%&”! She came around with a couple of towels, asked me if I was “okay” and then handed me a towel so that I could wipe off the coffee that spilled on me. She then cleaned up the mess that she caused.
It only takes a moment
In a span of about five seconds the barista made a couple of bad decisions that adversely impacted a lot of people. She chose to react negatively to my request. This led to her next bad decision to toss the beverage tray, which caused me to receive a minor burn and stain my clothing.
Plus the person whose coffee was knocked over had to wait for a new cup of coffee to be made and the other people in line had to wait longer for their drinks, because the barista making them was busy cleaning up the floor! Incidentally, how much more work did this person create for herself, by choosing, in one moment, to be extremely rude?
The right thing to do is always the right thing to do
I’m sure she had made a hundred cups of coffee already that morning and got asked many, many times, for a beverage tray. I have no doubt that it can get irritating! But while I can empathize, isn’t that what she gets paid to do?
We will all have days when we are irritated, frustrated, angry, and burned out and when we just don’t want to provide good customer service. But as professionals, we have a responsibility to do the right thing regardless of how we may feel.
When you find yourself in that moment when you have to make a decision about how you will choose to act, I know that deciding to do the right thing will make your life and your job easier too. (Just ask the girl who had to clean up the coffee on the floor!)
How have you benefited or paid the price from the decisions you've made?