I stood patiently in the parking garage for the first half hour. They still had not returned my car. I gave the ticket to the valet thirty minutes ago. Seriously, thirty minutes ago. Finally, an attendant came over and asked me for my ticket. "I gave you my ticket already." Ten minutes later still no car. "Do you have the smaller ticket?" "What smaller ticket?" I ask. "The smaller one," he persists. "I gave you the only ticket I had. It was medium-sized and blue. I gave it to you. You have my car and I would like to go home now."
Several minutes passed before my dark gray Honda Accord pulled up in front of me. How did I feel about tipping at that moment? Not so great. But it is customary, right?
Now, if my car had been returned to me in a timely manner, with speed
, with alacrity
..., I probably would have tipped without question. Yes, I had dined at this hotel before. No, I had never had a problem... Would I return for a repeat engagement? That was now questionable.
The dinner was lovely. The conversation splendid. The service by the valet? Five attendants running around at midnight does not sound like organization or
tip-worthy. But tipped, they were. Why? because it was customary. A good enough answer? It was at the time. I regret it now.
When we reward less than stellar service, what message do we send?
The children's dentist I worked for many, many years ago used to say, "You are only as good as the last visit. It doesn't matter if you handled a difficult child twenty times with perfect precision and all went right with every appointment. If the last one was less than perfect, that is all they remember. And you will hear about it. Often."
So if you are only as good as your last
visit, your last
project, your last
recruitment, your last
assignment, what chance have you at gaining another opportunity? Not a very good one. The dentist, the cop, the waitress, the teacher, the recruiter: you are only as good as
your last appointment, arrest, table service, lesson, fulfilled search. Make it count. If you don't, who will?