With it being the Christmas season (not my favorite, but I can decorate it til you wet your pants), I was reminded by something. Not something most of you think about. But if you’ve been on the bad end of it, you’ve thought about it. But what I want to say is, do you (and your employees) pay REAL attention to how you treat your customers and said employees? Sure they pay you for your services and products, but how do you treat them? Do you make them sit on the phone, waiting for 20-30 minutes and figure that’s what they should expect because of “high call volume”? Come on, if that’s really the case, then you need to have more folks who actually answer the phone. Now on that obverse, those of you who waited to talk to such person, need to mind your manners also. Don’t rip into them! What ever the problem, they are NOT the ones who caused it and ARE the ones who are employed to help you solve that problem. Help them help you. If you get that one that’s not there but for the money, if they won’t try to help and stick just “to the script”, stop them and politely demand their supervisor. Most likely they’ll get out of their iPod and try to help after all just to avoid the problem of having to have the supervisor come and fix what they didn’t bother with. Next, in-store sales people. I know they’re seasonal and you think they are the slime of the sales chain, but they are people none-the-less. Both employers and customers need to remember to treat them with respect. And they should treat everyone with respect also. Granted, you’ve been having soccer moms with screaming children (come on, grow up and be a parent) and grumpy, rushed and generally obnoxious patrons, but as hard as it can be, you really should do your best to try to be at least a tiny bit pleasant. Customers! You’re not off the hook! You are NOT the only one in the world. Don’t harrass the cashier. I have to admit (and this is really bad), but in years past I would get myself all dressed up in Dicken’s-ish clothing to do my Christmas shopping complete with holly in my top hat (Yup, I went through a weird period). I always started out with the best feelings and intentions. But after an hour or two of being shoved by other shoppers and being distained by store clerks, my mood heads south, I end up trying for justice. Unfortunately, I turned into “Bad Shopper”. I stopped buying and my goal became that I must give back what I got. My big joy was to see how many store clerks I could make cry. Actually and unfortuanately, I was pretty good at it. Not good for anyone. But in my own defense, I really was pushed to it. Shoppers! Listen up! We’re all out there on our various missions for holiday happiness. What effort or harm can it be to smile to one another and maybe (God forbid) open a door or reach for something for someone or tell them it’s over there since you were just there and they may or may not like it afterall. Or let them go first at the register. If they have the courtesy, they won’t be long and what did it hurt to give a couple minutes? Have some manners. They’re not there as an inconvenience. They’re a part of getting along with your other human being. If the kid isn’t needing the stroller, leave it in the car. Also, you are not the only person in the world. The rest of us are not here as an inconvenience to you or as servants. You are not entitled as much as you think you are. OK, enough commentary about shoppers and sales clerks. Employers and Company Owners. Not just at Christmas, how much do you thank your clients and employees for their business and what they do? Parties and Special Sales don’t count! Have you walked by or emailed or called someone to find out how their life is? Given them a break for a minor lateness. Said “Thank You” or “Hope all is going well”? You live with and around these people. Life cannot just be always on your terms. If you can allow the minor adjustment to your work environment from time to time and give out the occasional “Hey, that’s nice” or “Great job” you can find yourself getting way more back than you thought you gave. Nice doesn’t hurt (or it least shouldn’t). The more you give in courtesy and niceness, the massively more you get back in everything.