Drawing Flies With Honey

I remember the day a friend and I drove through the Popeye’s Chicken drive thru. Boy, Kenny sure does have a lot of adventures in his blog revolving around Popeye’s. My buddy rode in the passenger’s seat, waiting patiently as I placed my order which included the use of a coupon for the large group I was feeding.

At the end of the transaction, he made a loud awful statement, mocking the attendant on the speaker.

I sighed heavily, knowing that they had heard him, even though they had already told me to drive up. I slowly drove around, dreading seeing the looks on their faces, all the while knowing it would anger him if I apologized for his behavior in his presence.

Although they recognized my voice (yes, I was and am a regular there), it didn’t stop them from staring at me in shock and confusion as I paid for my order and received the food. We exchanged an awkward “Thank you, have a nice day” as I attempted to signal through my shifting eye and facial expression that I neither condoned nor approved his antics before driving away in shame.

You see, I had a great reputation there for laughing with the employees and always asking them how they were doing before placing my order.

About 10 years prior, I used to take boxes of Hostess products to the restaurant for them to share, since I worked for Hostess and Wonder Bread. And although I never asked, the managers on duty often gave me free meals before I even placed my order.

Sometimes, family meals.

I took things further by constantly contacting corporate management, singing my praises about their particular location (cleanliness, product, presentation, speed, efficiency and wonderful staff, often specifically naming associates).

This was one of many, many restaurants at which I was known and treated extremely well. Not because of the gifts, but because I was kind first, as opposed to many people who visit establishments thinking the world owes them something.

Even the local public library, another place that I frequent, always gave me special treatment during my visits. All because I took the time show appreciation for their services, often engaging in pleasant small talk and keeping them laughing. As a result, they always took great care of me. I still remember the time I misplaced a series of videos and music for several weeks. I eventually found them in my car trunk and realized I had forgotten putting them there.

They didn’t charge me a single penny in overdue fines.

This was the opposite of the actions of another friend of mine, known for speaking his mind with no filter. His fines at the library were so high that when he went to check out a new item, they told him he had to pay at least $20 of his $50+ in overdue fees before he could check anything out. He loudly cursed them out from head to toe until they reluctantly and fearfully cleared his account without charging a cent.

Same results, but I sincerely doubt they wanted to use his photo for website advertising or invite him for Christmas dinner.

Thankfully, I wasn’t there to witness this embarrassing affair.

After admitting his performance, he told me that his methods always got results.

That’s just not the way I’m wired.

I’ve learned over the years that the great majority of problems at the front register are not the fault of that particular attendant. That’s why, if there IS an issue, I softly comfort that I know they’re not responsible for my situation and do not hold them accountable for it. Not specifically. I follow that by asking what they intend to do to resolve the situation. You can imagine how many people exhale forcefully, thanking me for being so understanding. Yes, there are times that I ask them to call their manager over for assistance if it’s obvious that it’s beyond their ability to control or correct.

And although I don’t look for it, as I mentioned earlier, kindness and sincerity do have their perks.

For example, last month I took my minivan in for servicing and learned that the necessary repairs were so bad that the cost wasn’t worth the effort. My baby was pretty much done. I never got angry, speaking politely the entire time, reviewing my options. The manager was surprised and at ease by my conduct that he actually waived the $120 diagnostic fee.

I mean, what’s the purpose of taking my frustrations out on him/them?

Just days later, I took my wife’s car into another service center for an oil change, and they found several issues with it. The attending technician and I had already established a rapport during the wait, talking about everything from Christianity to photography to the new donut shop down the street that we both loved. He knew of the predicament with my minivan only because that was why I made the original reservation. When I learned that it was dead, I put my wife’s vehicle in its scheduled appointment slot.

Understanding my plight, he performed the entire service for free! Yes, FREE!

Now I didn’t ask for that or expect it. Like I said, he only knew about my van because as I mentioned earlier, that was the vehicle scheduled for service. I certainly wasn’t eliciting such a kind gesture, but it was very much appreciated, and I didn’t hesitate to tell him. I gratefully gave him my photography business card and told him to call me if he ever needed my services, promising to take great care of him.

And I will.

I could give you many more examples, but I hope my point has already been made. You get a lot further in life with kindness. Everyone’s time and attention are valuable to them. So, when they interact with people, they prefer that the exchange be a pleasant one. Raising your voice or threatening someone, simply because you are not satisfied with a situation can prompt fight or flight.

I can’t help but think about the scene in the movie “From Dusk Til Dawn” where Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney debated about a money deal that had already been confirmed. Tarantino continued arguing his point about asking for more money until Clooney smiled and abruptly interrupted, “This conversation’s over”.

That patient, yet conclusive smile on Clooney’s face said a lot about how people contend with excessive discussion, especially when it is an undesirable one.

If you’re not careful, they will either get very defensive or just end the conversation and walk away. Because trust me, no one takes a job saying to themself, “boy, I can’t wait to get verbally abused on the job, come Monday morning!”

So, treat people in the manner you would like to be treated. Harsh words and high volumes are never welcome and more often than not, will ultimately get you nowhere, if not the parking lot.

Talk it out.

Work it out.

You can get more bees with honey than vinegar…

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  1. NEVER be rude or loud about food…even if the establishment is wrong…..you WILL get more than you bargained for with the “free” meal to make it up to you….if you get my drift

    Liked by 1 person

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