Less Kanye, More Kindness

Why everyone should have to work at least one job in customer service. 


Written by: Lauren Steeves

Kindness – It’s free bitches.

I’ve noticed over the past few days, some not-so-nice behaviour. Whether it be my neighbour shouting profanities at the mail man for walking across his lawn, a lady being rude about her non-fat, sugar-free, extra-whip, soy milk latte being made incorrectly, or the many a car on Glenmore Trail refusing to let me in (it’s called a zipper merge people)—it got me thinking, how hard is it to be nice?

I personally believe that it should be a requirement for everyone to work a job in customer service so that everyone can truly grasp what it’s like to work with mankind (our sometimes crazy, irrational and demanding species) and how it feels to be on the other side of service.

This way people would learn some very important life lessons, such as these:

  • If your server is overloaded with tables and it takes he or she longer than two minutes to help you it’s not because he or she is lazy, but rather run off his or her feet. So when your server gets to your table rather than being snappy, empathize and relate to times at work when you were bombarded with emails and obviously couldn’t respond to everyone all at once.
  • The difficulty of memorizing how to make every single drink at Starbucks (there’s 800 variations) and how easy it is after working for six hours and already making 500+ drinks to mistake your soy milk for regular milk.
  • How it’s pointless to get angry at sales associates for the price of an item. Do you really think the sales girl at Aritzia that works 10 hours a week prices its products? She doesn’t, so take your bitching elsewhere.
  • When someone asks, “How are you?” don’t snap back “I’m fine” or ignore the person altogether. This person is trying to provide you with good customer service—so why are you acting like an asshole?

As important as it is to be kind to those in customer service, it’s also crucial to be nice to the people we are closest to as well. Often, these are the people that take the brunt of our anger and frustrations—usually when they deserve it the least. So rather than snapping at your significant other for exhaling (guilty), recognize that he or she may have nothing to do with your mood and pinpoint the problem yourself.

Author Edward Harris of ‘How You Can Have a Great Day Everyday’ points out one helpful practice to keep in mind— ‘HALT.’ HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. It’s important to use HALT to recognize when you are experiencing one of these feelings and take care of these needs first. This will prevent you from randomly blowing up at someone else. So if you are tired—grab a coffee or take a nap, or if you are hungry deal with it—and deal with it fast before you become full-on HANGRY.

As the great Amy Poehler says, “The only way we will survive is by being kind. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

This message holds so much truth because when you think about it, we are all trying to figure out this crazy thing called life and where we fit—we are all in this together, literally.

So next time you are in a traffic jam, let the car signaling to get in your lane in. When the guy at Starbucks screws up your order, imagine yourself in his shoes and kindly acknowledge the mistake. And when someone says a friendly hello, say hi back and smile. Because kindness is free my friends, so go out there and sprinkle that shit everywhere.

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