Due to a natural defficiency in my blood-caffein levels, I have to keep topping up my internal caffein with coffee. As a result, I tend to spend a lot of time in coffee-shop drive-throughs. After dozens (or hundreds) of trips through the drive-through, I’ve built up a number of observations.
Many people seem to be a bit surly to the coffee-shop staff, or at the very least, terse. This is especially the case in the morning, when I suppose they just really want/need their morning caffein fix. Nonetheless, the coffee-shop staff are not to blame for the morning, the lack of caffein in your blood, et cetera, so they shouldn’t have to suffer for it. Indeed, when you consider that their mornings started even earlier and they’re already at work, and that their main function is actually to give you the coffee that you really need/desire, they ought to be commended for their efforts rather than suffer anyone’s impatience or rudeness. I believe it was Dave Barry who once said, a person that is nice to you but rude to the waitress, is not a nice person. I think this also applies to drive-throughs.
I’ve also noticed that quite often, people treat the drive-through staff as though they weren’t really there — like automatons or robots or some such thing. Similar to an instant-teller machine. People talking on their mobile phone, catching up on their email, grooming themselves in their mirror, reading the paper, et cetera, and then only acknowledging the coffee-shop staff when absolutely necessary. Worse, when they do have to interact with the staff, their behavior shows that is so clearly an interuption in their other important activities… The folks at the drive-through window are not automatons or robots. And by the time they do have ATM-like drive-through coffee shops, they’ll have figured out how to program emotions into the robots. So best to start now, practicing being polite. After all, nobody wants spit (or machine oil) in their coffee, right?
Seriously though – Smile and be polite. Try it out! You may not see an immediate difference, after all coffee-shop drive-through staff (along with everyone else in the service industry) can also have bad days too. Just remember your please’s and thankyou’s and if they ask how you are doing or how your day is going, respond in kind and ask them. Or be proactive and ask them first. Smile! If they’ve been treated like a machine all day long, they might find it a refreshing change to be seen as a human being.
Remember – smiling and being polite costs nothing, takes no time, yet can make yourself and others feel better.