Every other Monday morning, I stop on my way into work at the local grocery store and stock up on coffee, creamer, snacks, and paper towels for the office. I try to get everyone's favorites but I also have a major mom complex - buy healthy so they eat healthy. They even call me Momma Bean at work. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it. I love caring for my work family as much as I do my own little family and home. And like most worthy endeavors, it isn't easy.
On a recent such shopping trip, I waited in a checkout line that really should have moved much quicker, but stock boys kept coming by, the store manager stopped in my aisle for a chat, and the cashier wouldn't shut up. They seemed to be completely fascinated by the customer ahead of me. I waited patiently and proceeded to answer emails on my mobile device. Finally, the conveyor belt was cleared enough for me to unload my groceries. As the last of my items were being rung up, the cashier gathered enough wits about her to apologize for the delay. I mumbled that it was ok as I typed my phone number into the kiosk to be eligible for the in-store discounts.
The cashier stopped, looked both ways and leaned in toward me. In a hushed voice, she asked if I knew who the customer ahead of me was. I leaned in and looked both ways, then slowly shook my head as the word, "nope" escaped my lips and"Does she know who I am?" The cashier giggled slightly, then pulled back, looked at me funny and said, "That was so and so from the blah-blah network." I shrugged my shoulders, not recognizing the name nor caring about the station where she anchored the news. I nodded, feigning awareness and mouthed, "OoOOohhh...." in nearly three full syllables. Not only did I not recognize the name but I cannot for the life of me recall it now or the details. Apparently, she is a news anchor that does a considerable amount of charity work locally and has the inside scoop regarding internships at her studio. Oh..,and she looks much thinner in person. Whatever.
I just wanted to pay for my groceries and get into work ASAP. But my cashier wanted no part of that plan. My impatience began to shine through and the stock boy offered to help me out to my car. I said, "Unless you are going to go with me to work and help carry these up two flights of stairs, I think I can manage unloading a half-full shopping cart on my own." I proceeded on my way, arrived at work about 20 minutes after my self-estimated arrival time. Thanks Ms. News Philanthropy. All worked out well in the end, there was just some up-front frustration and slight impatience on my part.
People like to do business with people they know - even if they don't really know them. This woman had been treated like royalty while she shopped in her bling-infested velveteen sweats and swinging Coach handbag. When our reputation precedes us, if it's a good one, we have a better than excellent chance of receiving some pretty decent service. But I would like to have much better things to be said about me than, "She's thinner in person."
What are you doing today to better your reputation tomorrow?