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January 18, 2007


Rick, this is a great post with an important issue both on the smaller and larger point. Only people who actually had to wait tables know what it´s like to have someone like you come back with an apology. It´s a really great thing you´ve done there, she´ll most probably never forget this. Great.

Maybe Hugh is right after all: it's all about Love ( TBH, if you don't *care* about getting things right, about making *people* matter, then any enterprise one undertakes will end in failure. There seem to be some companies and organisations that think that filling an organigram with enough people under the right job titles will get the best result, but then they fail to treat those people as fellow, equal humans. It's the beancounting style of management. I like the story and hope it makes some folk sit up a little straighter ;-)

A simple comment really - nothing too special to add: Just wanted to say this is one of my new favorites in my blog reader. Keep the good posts coming!

This is a great story. I agree with David: People never really forget stories like this. It's a simple thing, but those are the ones that count.

I never worked at a restaurant, but I was a gofer at a plant nursery for two summers. No tips (ever) but I had one situation where a customer was having a bad day and yelled at me for something silly -- loading in a bag of planting mix into the trunk lengthwise, parallel to the car, instead of sideways. I saw the guy drive to the edge of the parking lot, hit reverse, re-park, get out of the car, and sincerely apologized.

Never forgot it.

Great story. Personally, I pay a lot of attention to how I tip. It's important to reward people for their work, especially when they go above and beyond. People respond, and we're all better for it. I wish everyone was as thoughtful.

By the way, this blog is one of my newest additions to my RSS reader and it's quickly becoming a favorite.

Great post...and yes, I too think that unless you've actually worked in the industry, you'd be unaware of much of the import of this post. And I've added this blog to my DAILIES favs, to drop in each day to see what you're posting....

Thanks Phil. I forgot to add my story. It´s a bit different but here´s how it goes: I used to work in a fancy hotel waiting tables during breakfast and business lunches. During one of my lunch services a knife fell down the plate on a man´s suit. Allthough there was only a tiny spot of sauce on his tie, I apologized several times and rushed to get a tissue and hot water to clean it up. The guest went crazy and demanded to see my manager immediately and insulted me on his way back to the table. A couple of hours later, while I was finishing my service, he came back to the restaurant during a coffee break and aopologized for being so rude earlier. He told me that his meeting was not going how it was supposed to go and gave me 5€ as a tip. I asked him if I could arrange that the hotel would pay for dry cleaning and he denied saying the tie was spotless and there was no damage. He asked to see my manager to apologize to her too and told her that I reacted in a perfect way and that he was sorry.

Love it! First Who,,,then what.... seems to come to mind. As well as people don't quit companies, they quit managers. Create flat organizations with absolute empowerment and there will be no limits. Great story!

Great post, Rick.

"Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress" by Debra Ginsberg is a must-read for anyone who has ever worked in the service industry (or anyone who seeks to understand the mind of a waiter or waitress). Many great lessons that transcend a restaurant.

Good for you, Rick. I always find it interesting when I ask to talk to a manager to see the look of surprise on their face when I tell them the service/meal was great.

I have only one thing to add: I used to work for Rick, and I continue to tell people he was the best boss I've ever had. This is EXACTLY the kind of boss he was, and I imagine still is. Props out to Rick for reminding people to treat others like humans - not sometimes, but everytime. It makes a big difference to everyone up and down the chain.

Thanks again for the reminder!

I'm just wondering, is Monrovia the stage-whisper capital of the world or what?!

Wanted to echo the others in saying this is a great post! 'Pay it forward' is nice, but 'Pay it for nothing' is even better. When you give without expectations you'll usually end up getting back more than you ever thought. Life's funny that way.

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