A Little Friendliness Goes a Long Way

Well my friends, I hope you’re ready for somewhat of a rant that is likely to make me sound about 50 years older than I actually am.  Yesterday, I was sort of “out on the town” so to speak, and happened to go into several locally-owned establishments.  I love to support local business, it just feels so right to me.  So in a lot of ways I would say that I’m even more forgiving when I’m in a local business, in terms of quality of service or whatever, because I want to be satisfied with my experience.  I want to be able to say “wow, that local business is doing just as good a job, if not better, than the chains!  Yay for them!”  And when I am dissatisfied with a local business, I am probably more upset about it then I would be if it had been a chain, again because I want the local place to do well.

Having said all that, you can imagine my disappointment yesterday when I had a particularly unpleasant interaction at a local store.  There were posters on the windows, and one of the posters interested me so much that I decided I would get out my phone and take a picture of it so I could remember what it said.  I noticed that the girl who was working in the store was eyeing me curiously, so I opened the door and explained to her that I was just taking a picture of one of the posters.  She responded by saying, “Okay…”, sort of rolled her eyes, and made a face to herself that basically said “what a weirdo.”  Not very pleasant.  Now hey, I understand that maybe she was upset that I wasn’t coming into the store, but I was only telling her what I was doing out of courtesy.  Needless to say, her reaction to me left a very sour taste in my mouth.

And here’s the kicker: one of the people I was with, who had seen the whole thing, said to me, “wow, you know what, that makes me never really want to go there again.”

Maybe it seems a little bit extreme, but think about it.  If you’ve ever gone to a business, whether it be a local one or not, and they treat you poorly, you think to yourself, “you know what, I would rather not put up with that again.  Maybe I should go somewhere else next time.”  And the sad part is, if the rude interaction was at a local business, and there aren’t a lot of local businesses that do a similar thing in your area, then you are likely to go to a chain the next time.

Now I am not saying that the only important quality that a local business should worry about it being nice to customers–the quality of their product or service, as well as competitive prices are of the utmost importance as well.  What I am saying, though, is that it is extremely important to be friendly to people, because that is oftentimes what keeps them coming back to a business time and time again.  Heck, I don’t know about you, but I would be willing to pay a few extra dollars in order to support a local place and be treated well.  On the other side of the coin, rudeness only pushes people away and sends their money (and possibly their friends’ money too, thanks to word of mouth!) elsewhere.