"All doors open to courtesy"

- Thomas Fuller

I was having lunch with a friend last week in a local eatery when suddenly I suffered a flashback.

The time? About a decade ago.

The place? Snickerdoodles - a Corinth restaurant my sister and I owned and operated during a two-year hiatus from our chosen professions.

It was the sound of nearby vacuum cleaner that caused the flashback.

A restaurant employee had decided the carpet needed cleaning smack dab in the middle of the lunch hour.

Well, OK, it was nearly 1 p.m., but there were still customers having lunch.

My friend asked a question as the vacuum came closer. I heard not a word.

"What?"

She spoke louder.

"Do you think they want us to leave?"

I leaned across the table and shouted, "We never would have done this at our restaurant."

It's true. It's just plain rude.

Believe me when I say I understand completely the desire to get home after a long day's work in a restaurant.

Anyone who thinks a job in the food service industry is easy is completely clueless. It's hard work and it's often thankless.

But that gives no one a license to be rude.

Snickerdoodles opened for lunch at 11 a.m.; we closed at 2 p.m.

There were days when customers would drive up moments before closing time. Most of those days we smiled sweetly and treated them as welcomed guests.

I'll confess on several occasions I talked my sister into flipping the closed sign and locking up a few minutes early, but not in someone's face.

And one day I think we swept an area of the restaurant while we still had customers. But there were special circumstances.

A teenager wearing a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelet decided she didn't want the pecans in our chicken salad, so she tossed them, one by one, onto the floor.

We figured we were doing a favor for the next folks who might be seated at that table to go ahead and clean up the floor.

So, accidents happen. And when they do, it's perfectly fine to grab a broom or a mop. In fact, your customers would think you negligent if you didn't.

But if you're just ready to go home and cleaning up is part of your job description, please, wait until your customers leave. We'd be grateful.

Why not review those job descriptions. Good customer service is probably included.

I'd bet your tip on it.

Leslie Criss is the Daily Journal's features and special sections editor. Contact her at leslie.criss@djournal.com or 678-1584.

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