In Defense Of The Service Industry

All wait staff should be this happy and perky without faking it.
Source: Texas P.O.S.

So there I was one early evening treating myself to a well deserved pepperoni pizza after some flattering complements in my Social Media class. While conversing with the cook in the dining hall, she asked, presumably as a joke, if she could get me to write a recommendation for campus dining services to quiet down the incessant complaints she got daily.

I couldn’t think of a witty retort off the top of my head, but it did get me to thinking about how we don’t treat people in the service industry as well as we should. Writing a review of a college cafeteria would be silly, but I can show my appreciation to that nice lady and the countless others who make civilized life possible by trying to get others to give them the respect they deserve. The next time you deal with a cashier, server, or the like, remember the following…

They’re Just Following The Rules

Most of the complaints I hear people register with servers are things that can’t be helped. The store can’t accept your expired coupons, the restaurant can’t can’t make your meal special order because it’s pre-made, or some other common request that would violate company policy.

Most of these people (read: the people who haven’t been jaded by the abusive customers) legitimately want to help you. The problem is that when forced to choose between the customer and their job, most are going to take the option that ensures that they get to eat tomorrow.

They’re Just As Human As The Rest Of Us

The service industry is made of human beings. That means that they make mistakes just like the rest of us and can be just as hurt by the ignorance of others.

People make mistakes. What’s more, people make more mistakes when they’re under stress from, for example, some entitled nimrod giving them crap. Relax and work with your server instead of against them. You’ll find you’ll resolve more issues much faster.

Look At Yourself First

As stated above, people working in service make mistakes like all humans. This mean that, since you are human as well, you can be just as guilty of screwing up.

People are, unfortunately, prone to something called Conformation Bias, the unconscious act of exclusively searching for and favoring information that confirms something that they believe. If that person believes that they are in the right, they will fight to prove it to the bitter end and react negatively when proven otherwise.

Take some time to think about what you have contributed to this impasse and consider if you may be at fault. Checking to see if you may have failed at some point may help to find a solution to the problem… and may just keep you off the featured posts of Not Always Right.

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3 thoughts on “In Defense Of The Service Industry

  1. On the issue of respect to service workers: basic morality demands that you treat others as you would wish to be treated. Unfortunately, human beings seem to struggle with this concept until they have experienced enough rough times to become aware of others’ situations. I have a feeling that raising the minimum wage would help the economic situation temporarily, but that eventually the greed and short sight of the top 1% of the population would force the position back too where it is now. For now, I plan to continue tipping generously and being polite to those who provide me with service.

    • Tipping well is indeed a common courtesy, but I wanted to focus on the behavior of the customer rather than economics so I opted not to bring it up here.

      That said, I agree with your assessment and am happy to be reminded that someone cares about the well-being of others.

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