I was on vacation recently with a bunch of my children. We had a great time despite some snafus with the hotel – rooms not ready, rooms not cleaned etc. etc. When I was relating our (yes, minor) challenges to one of my daughters, she was not at all surprised. “That hotel is known for their bad service,” she responded. What a thing to be known for! And, worst of all, to clearly not care. It is a very busy hotel in a very busy location on a beautiful beach (no more details) and I guess that,since they get business no matter what, they’ve decided they don’t need to up their game.

I’ve had the same experience recently in other situations and establishments – to the point where I’m more astonished when the customer service is good. I’ve been raving to my family (and anyone else who will listen) about a new restaurant where they are actually attentive to the needs of the customers and take the time to listen to and honor our request.

It’s not about me. It’s not about hotels or restaurants or grocery stores or well, you name it. It’s about a sense of dignity – in yourself and in others.

We should want to behave responsibly, kindly, attentively and with self-respect. And see those we interact with as fellow human beings worthy of respect.

Whatever our jobs, we should want to behave the best way we can – responsibly, kindly, attentively and with self-respect. And we should see those we interact with as fellow human beings worthy of respect.

We’ve all read the inspiring stories of students who thrive when their teachers expect the best of them and the horror stories of the opposite. These expectations and behaviors don’t stop with adulthood.

We will also rise up to or, unfortunately, lower ourselves down to the expectations of others. We will have better interactions with customers and colleagues if we behave well and if we expect them to behave well in return. And vice versa.

If we are able to see a fellow human being at the other end of our interaction, then we can treat them the way we would like to be treated. We must see beyond the labels of customer and service representative (fill in your own blanks) to the person beneath and respond accordingly.
As the recipient of service I need to behave with a true sense of appreciation and gratitude as opposed to a sense of entitlement. And as a service provider I need to act with real care and concern for the client.

If we both do that, it will be a positive interaction and reflect our humanity. If we don’t, we will both feel discouraged.

We are not machines who can turn our behaviors on and off; if we learn negative attitudes, it can shape who we are. As can positive ones. Being ethical in business should be a reflection of an ethical home life as well. Being kind at home should translate into also being kind in the workplace. To truly be the type of person we want to be there should be no dramatic difference in our actions or attitudes.

We had a great vacation; we were (mostly) able to ignore these trivial inconveniences (although I’m not sure I would stay there again!) but it left a bad taste in my mouth – not for the hotel itself which shall remain nameless, but for all the employees who had learned that cavalier and dismissive attitude towards the needs of their customers and for all the customers whose treatment led them to respond in kind.

God created a really beautiful vacation spot; it’s up to us whether we choose to elevate it with our behavior or not.