If a friend gives you some food when you’re hungry, what would you say?
After any inherent displays of delight, the proper answer would be “thank you.”
Why should the response be any different when the person is a waitress at The Pub?
A trip to the Dining Hall, Comet Cafe, or The Pub reveals a disappointing lack of gratitude towards the workers. For some reason, the fact that serving patrons is in their job description means that they don’t deserve common acts of courtesy.
As the golden rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you expect to get thanks for something, then you should give thanks as well. And if, for some reason, the cashier at the Comet Cafe looks less than enthused to greet you, that doesn’t mean that she’s not deserving of some kind words. It probably means that she’s had to interact with many more students than you have today—some polite and some not—and handing out change can only be so much fun.
Working in the service sector is notoriously unpleasant. Earlier this year, CareerCast.com ranked 200 jobs from best to worst. Janitors are ranked 151, while cashiers sit at 157; although cafeteria food workers are not listed, waiters and waitresses are at 195. Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons for job unhappiness is customer behavior, as evidenced by many waiters’ rants found online and in print.
Politeness, however, is not the only thing lacking in some customers’ behaviors. Respect and sense of responsibility seem to be missing as well.
Just last week at the Comet Cafe, I accidentally splattered tomato bisque on my shirt and pants…and all over the soup table. Feeling ashamed at my mess, I quickly grabbed a stack of paper napkins to wipe up the red disaster. One of the Comet Cafe workers came to help me.
“You’re so sweet!” she said. “This happens all the time, and other people just leave the mess. Thanks for cleaning up.” Now wouldn’t that make you feel good inside, too? Considering her response, not enough people take responsibility for their actions.
The worst offenders are those who leave plates, cups, utensils and trash at the Dining Hall tables, when the tables are adorned with signs that specifically ask students to return the dishes to the dishwashing counter. Doing so creates more work for the janitors, who already vacuum, mop up spills and wipe down tabletops.
Once, I reprimanded a friend for leaving her trash at the table. She responded thusly, “The cleaning people get bored! I’m giving them something to do.” We are no longer friends.
Just because someone else can do the work for you, doesn’t mean you should leave them to it. They are people with jobs, and that job isn’t called “Mom.”
What’s even worse is that many of these workers are fellow students. Show a bit of compassion to your classmate. Just think, they have to deal with school stress, work stress and possibly stress from other students who don’t give them the time of day.
College students are busy—understandable. But this isn’t a matter of time; it takes less than a second to utter “thanks” or even give a quick smile. This is a matter of having some manners. Kindness tends to come full circle.
So say “thank you” to the cashier, cafeteria server or waiter/waitress. Clean up any messes you make. Hey, clean up any messes other people leave, if you’re up for being a really good Samaritan. You never know whose day you might make just a little bit brighter, just a little bit easier.