No, this is not going to be a diatribe about what passes for Government service, whether we are being adequately represented to anything such thing. This is a back to basics about how one person can make a difference.
First off, going to the supermarket used to be a form of recreation. I love to walk up and down the aisles, admire the displays, check out new stuff, and wonder at how I could use things to create great dishes. Of course, that does not mean I buy a lot or even go very often. But over the years, it's gotten to be quite a chore. The rising price of everything, long lines, surly or indifferent check out staff who fling your groceries down the counter. Due to geographic location, the choice is limited to HiLo, the biggest supermarket chain on the island or the corner shop, which is by no means cheaper. When I lived out east there were a plethora of family owned and operated places to choose from and many a bargain to be found. These days, with everything else going on, grocery shopping is one of those things that has to fit into the few free hours, either late in the evening on the way home before HiLo closes at 8:00pm or on weekends when there are wall to wall people.
And so, it was this weekend, after a heavy day of roaming around with the girls I found myself in HiLo. It was early evening, lots of people standing at checkouts, carts filled to the brim. Mine was my once a month shop so I expect some grief and I wasn't disappointed. Oh, the check out girl was pleasant enough; they've started providing stools for them to sit on again so that must contribute to their well-being. Before they stood the entire shift. Ever try being on your feet for eight hours; well you might be cranky too. While waiting to pay, the check out boy came up. Before he started to bag he turned and enquired about my health, how my evening was going and made polite conversation while continuing to bag. He treated my goods with respect. When he was done, walked me to the car, unloaded, wished me a pleasant evening while holding my door open for me. What a change! He was quite the gentleman and I found myself appreciative though not a fan of small talk. He made me smile and it is to my eternal shame that I didn't get his name.
He happily pocketed the dollars I gave to him as a tip but those were small compared to the gift he gave me, for a brief moment, he made me believe again. Yes, there are people who take pride in their work, no matter what it is, it is important. The next day I had cause to visit a different HiLo in the neighbourhood. To my surprise, the check out lady was extremely polite, two in a row, wow. Makes such a marked difference from the treatment at the Glencoe Rituals.
Rituals is my normal coffee stop, I generally stick to the one in St. James or the one in Nicholas Towers, they have the nicest staff. Generally, the folks on Maraval Road and Briar Place are competent, if not terribly friendly and Frederick Street is always so busy that they barely have time to say hello but they generally do smile. As you can see, I'm not a stranger to the chain. However, the store in Glencoe is another story. It is as though a miasma of doom hangs over the place. The staff there is the unhappiest I've ever seen and they are generally curt, indifferent or just plain don't care. Sorry, I don't need that bad will dispensed with my coffee, it tends to stick. Reluctantly I went in on Sunday, they were open, the counter totally empty. After standing there for five minutes, I gave up and walked around to the Vie de France counter. The girl reading the papers at a table barely looked up before telling me that the counter staff had probably gone to the office. Not her problem her whole attitude indicated. The rest of the staff looking on. The place was entirely EMPTY. I gave up and went back to my car, a sour taste vowing never to stop there again because it was always bad.
Is it really so hard to ask, are you being served? Is it too much to want good service? Not if you want a job it isn't.