Mackay tells two beautifully illustrative stories.
#1. U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley used to tell a story about an experience he had while ordering dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant.
The busboy came up to him and put a dinner roll and a pat of butter down before him. The New Jersey Democrat looked at the busboy and asked for another pat of butter.
“One pat of butter to a customer, sir,” replied the busboy.
Bradley looked at him. “Don’t you know who I am?” he said, to which the busboy replied, “No, who?”
Bradley proceeded to rattle off his credentials: “My name is Bill Bradley. I graduated at the top of my class from Princeton University … Rhodes scholar … an All-American in basketball … drafted by the New York Knicks … elected U.S. senator.”
The busboy replied, “Those are very impressive credentials, Mr. Bradley, but don’t you know who I am?”
“I’m the man in charge of the butter.”
#2. Terry Paulson, a professional speaker and author, witnessed an angry executive tear into a baggage handler who was working as fast as he could. After the executive left, Paulson sympathized with the poor fellow, who replied, “Don’t worry, I’ve already gotten even.”
“What do you mean?” Paulson asked.
With a sly smile, the baggage handler explained, “He’s going to Chicago, but his bags are going to Japan.”
One of the criteria I always had for continuing to date or not date a guy was how he treated waitresses, bus boys, cashiers, sales persons — all those “little” people” who, in the Big Picture, feel powerless and who, in the Little Picture, have the capacity to frustrate, delay, and pretty much turn what should be an efficient and pleasant experience into a nightmare.
Having had, as part of various jobs, the task of solving problems for disgruntled constitutents, I learned early that just about everyone will respond positively when treated with respect and courtesy. Of course, it helps that I truly believe in the old “doing unto others…” Golden Rule and that that I’m a helper at heart. And, the tales told by my daughter, who waitressed her way through her NYC acting days, certainly reinforced my perspective on the matter.
It’s interesting that Mackay’s is a column about how to succeed in the business world.
He ends this one with:
When you are good to others, you are best to yourself. I make it my business to get to know the managers and servers of the top restaurants in town, just as I do the bell captains, and so on. Similarly, I let them get to know me. It doesn’t take a $100 tip for someone to remember you. But I will guarantee you, the minute you are rude, demanding, arrogant or otherwise dismissive, they will remember you — for all the wrong reasons. Don’t even think about asking for a second pat of butter then. From my perspective, there are way too many people who are so arrogant, they have chapped lips from repeatedly kissing the mirror.
So much depends upon ATTITUDE.