Today’s “whack-in-the-head” comes via Annapolis, Maryland — the home of the United States Naval Academy. Annapolis is one pretty town, especially on a bright and clear Saturday morning. Weather-wise, my wife and I hit a homerun as we sauntered in and out of the cute little shops.
We eventually wandered into a Christmas Shop down near the docks and began browsing. We both overheard a woman with an accent (Russian) ask the young lady behind the counter if she could take a picture of this “lovely” shop as they had never seen anything quite so beautiful?
Between bites from a bagel with cream cheese, the young gal uttered with absolutely no eye contact whatsoever, “No. Store policy.” Of course, being the guy who spends most of his waking hours teaching people how to treat their customers like the precious people they are, I found my immediate attention drifting toward something that I (and my wife) knew was none of my business. Nonetheless, I figured that here was an ideal opportunity to spread some good, old fashion American hospitality to a couple of guests from far away. (We all should be on active alert for opportunities like this one.)
Understanding that this had little to do with me, I silently approached the counter and asked the same question, from my intermediary position. Same response, but I swear I thought I saw some cream cheese flying in my direction. I dodged the projectile before asking if I could plead my case to the store manager hoping to reverse the store policy just this one time. “He is around here somewhere, but I don’t know where he is at!”
Although it crossed my mind at the time, I did not want to waste my time reminding this little girl that it is not proper English to end a sentence with a preposition. If you want to show the world that you are uneducated, throw in a few “ats” at the end of a sentence. And while you are at it, use “aks” in place of the word “ask.” This should set the stage for some interesting dialogue.
Final Result: Store clerk = 1, Marchev = 0
Upon leaving in defeat, I mentioned to the counter help that the store policy probably had some small print somewhere between the covers suggesting that the help should not toss cream cheese missiles in the direction of potentially paying customers. My wife then very politely suggested that it would be in this young clerk’s best interest if she actively started looking for a job she actually enjoyed. Preferably one with a lunchroom.
Because I value your readership and applaud your intelligence, I am not going to explain the glaring lessons in this sequence of events. There is more than one. I will simply mention that it is not always in your best interest to blindly follow your policy manual. And, it is not advisable to say “no” while eating cream cheese. If by chance the shoe does fit, you might also want to consider looking for a job that isn’t such a “job.”
Note: I am not suggesting you allow the “tail to wag the dog.” I am suggesting that there will be times when “bending” the rules might be in your best interest.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.