May 15, 2012
Niles Nerd

Friendly Service buys Forgiveness in Advance

In Canada, a prominent brand of coffee is Tim Horton’s. As is often the case, I start my day with a coffee at the nearest Timmy’s where I find myself.
This morning was no different, and a friendly staff member with a name tag of Rebecca had the most genuine and pleasant smile as she took my order and offered a campsite sponsorship for $5. It’s hard to turn down a genuine, friendly request for a worthy cause. I proceeded to congratulate her on her sales skills and told her it would be more important to her in life than a university education.
With the lid not quite closed, I received my coffee and it spilled onto my dress shirt.

Normally, at this point, I would, in a non-Canadian way, express my dissatisfaction at the poor service and lack of attention to detail that would now affect the rest of my business day. At every handshake and every meeting I would be conscious of my coffee stain!

Rebecca didn’t even notice, and I didn’t even tell her. I simply walked out, having already forgiven her.
Some years ago, I spent some time in volunteer service in the Andes mountains in South America. It’s an area where some old traditions hold true, including buying indulgences. Such a tradition allows for an admission of intention to commit a sin to be forgiven in advance at the cost of some hard-earned cash. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel and realize how modern-day genuine, friendly client service is an honest and ethical way to buy forgiveness in advance.
Whether your employed or an entrepreneur in any business, try it on. Smile. But only if it’s genuine.
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