Wouldn’t it be great if politics was like your favorite restaurant? Once you order your meal, the waiter always comes by and asks, “Is everything OK?” Well, I don’t want to be any trouble, and I’m sorry for complaining, but actually I ordered the fully accountable premier with the open and transparent government complete with a balanced budget and no tax increases. It seems you have gotten my order mixed up with the “majority” of the province who want an increase in the HST. Please take this back and bring me what I ordered, please and thank you.
Occasionally I have had a meal which wasn’t the greatest in the world, but when it comes to food I’m not that fussy. If it’s hot and there’s a reasonable portion, I don’t complain. Once at a place in Antigonish my fish and chips came with only 27 french fries, which I thought was a bit stingy, and in typical Canadian fashion, I complained in writing on the comment card. But even though I have had some bad meals, when the waiter asks me if everything is OK, I don’t complain, I simply say everything is fine. I likely even leave a tip, even though the food wasn’t great and service mediocre. I was taught to always be polite.
There’s really nothing worse than paying for something and not getting it. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was in Halifax; anyway my cheeseburger arrived without the cheese, which costs 35 cents extra. I didn’t complain, sometimes it’s just easier to be polite.
I’ve attended a wide variety of Customer service workshops over the years, from Customer Service Guru Top Peters, to futurist Faith Popcorn, and they all agree on one thing: Most Customers won’t complain, they just go away and won’t come back. Believe it or, it has been suggested in some recent reviews of the area, that Amherst has some opportunities to improve our Customer service and the overall Amherst Experience for our guests. That’s a topic the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce are working on.
It’s one thing to get a bad meal, or charged for something you didn’t get. But what would you do if the cashier who politely processed your credit card payment, took an imprint of you card, and then returned it and your receipt with a sincere thank you and smile that brightened the entire room?
A few weeks later your credit statement arrived in the mail and it seems that Smiley Face has been having quite a time with your credit card. Dinner at the Keg with a bunch of friends, $457.01, Big Screen TV with surround sound, back up generator, espresso coffee maker, lawn furniture and a personal assistant, $17,894.69. WOW! We’re not taking about a piece of cheese any more.
I’ve never been victimized by theft in the aforementioned manner, but it did happen to someone I know, let’s call them Pat. As you can imagine Pat was so mad I thought his head was going to explode. To listen to Pat tell the story is actually quite funny, if it wasn’t for the money. Anyway, Pat’s speeding to the restaurant to complain about the cheese! Much to his surprise the Smiling Bandit is at the front counter. She remembered Pat and gave him a big smile. My friend is asking her about all the charges on his card to which Smiley replied, “Yea I know, I got some really cool stuff, but I’ll take it back and have the charges reversed,” then she smiles that smile that can light up a room and promises never to do it again.
What would you do?
As citizens we’ve been very polite to politicians. We don’t demand answers to really tough questions. We don’t hold them accountable and we seem reluctant to ask any question that might embarrass them somehow. Perhaps we are afraid that if we embarrass them, or we are too hard on them, they might hold it against us. Perhaps they might take our jail, (sorry about that but an easy place to work it into the story) or delay the new school they promised. Revenge is one of the Seven Deadly sins, but come to think of it so is Greed. Maybe these guys have them all covered; Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed & Sloth.
Manners matter and it’s important to be polite. As Canadian’s we are stereotyped internally and internationally as being “too polite.” I never thought it possible to be too polite, but recently I have been thinking that perhaps much of our current mess at province house is a result of being too polite and not enough political.