I spent the weekend at our little getaway on the Welsh coast (one of our sunsets – Florida eat your heart out). I have been going there for years and find it a great tonic: a mixture of relaxation, recuperation and reflection. Added to that it’s a bit like a cross between the village I grew up in but set in the 1960’s (lots of small shops on the high street, people you know stop and speak and even complete strangers say good morning) and that TV show Heatbeat.
One thing it isn’t (thank the Lord) is steeped in vacuous business-speak and empty gestures – it’s a world of real people. So many things to learn from such a world and here’s one teensy example.
On Saturday morning I went down to the “campy” – a small general store attached to a nearby caravan site. They have a posse of people who regularly serve there but on Saturday there was a new young girl behind the counter. When I entered the shop she smiled at me and said good morning – you don’t get that in Solihull as often as I’d like. I got the paper and 6 eggs – oh yes, a big fry-up coming my way – and headed for the till.
Now, the Solihull Ames’ are one of the very few 1950’s atomic families left around so I have to admit I don’t often go shopping especially for eggs. This fact caused me to make the rookie mistake of failing to open up the carton and check that all 6 eggs were OK. Thinking back, when I have bought eggs from supermarkets neither does anybody else.
Our new girl was made of sterner stuff. She opened up the carton, had a quick glance and said “I don’t like the look of that one; I think I’ll just change it for you” and off she went to get a new egg.
This might not seem a big deal to you but it made a real impression on me and here’s why: –
- She was friendly without appearing like one of those over-trained circus shop assistants you sometimes find in the big city stores
- It was like she was actually pleased to see me and serving me was going to be a pleasure not a chore
- By checking the eggs she made me feel that my satisfaction was her ultimate goal.
Now, here’s the thing. None of the things she did took any training, they required zero budget and very little time and yet they had an effect upon me because they are not commonplace. There are simply loads of things that you can do, no matter who you serve, to send people on their way thinking about you the same way that I think about her.
If you want to make a difference and stand out for the right reasons most times it’s the small things that count the most.