What Made Your Day Today?

January 6th, 2010

I love a great cup of coffee.  For me, that translates into a rich cup of Sumatra at my favorite coffee shop.  Unfortunately, they stop serving this at noon and I was a few minutes late. 

“Knowing” that they wouldn’t have any, I asked the clerk what their bold blend was.  She couldn’t understand me through the drive thru speaker so I repeated my question.  I was absolutely positive they wouldn’t have it anyway but I asked again. 

She finally understood me and said, “We don’t have any right now but we’d be happy to make a pot for you.  It’ll take about 4 minutes.”

That woman totally made my day.  I parked the car and went in to pick up my coffee and as I did so I told her:  “You totally made my day.  I so needed to take a break, get out of my car and stop to relax for a few minutes with my favorite brew.  Thank you so much.”

She said, “THIS made your day.  My God, you’re easy to please.”

I said, “You know. . . . it’s the little things that make the  biggest difference to me.”  I took her name and the name of her boss and told her I’d be writing him a letter about their excellent service.  She said:  “We don’t normally have bold blend at this time but if a customer asks for it, we’ll be happy to brew a pot.”

Who knew?????  And what huge lessons there were for me here.

First, don’t assume that what you really want isn’t available.  For example, if you have gluten allergies and you’re at a restaurant, you may want to ask for the modification that helps you feel good – rather than presuming there’s nothing you can eat on the menu.  Even if in the past you haven’t been able to get what you want, you may want to ask again.  Maybe something has changed since you last visited. 

(In this case, I didn’t specifically ask for the dark blend but the clerk was nice enough to notice that I wanted it and offer it to me.  Next time I go there I’ll ask them if they’d be willing to make me a pot if it’s not available.)

Second, what’s a big deal for you may be “no big deal” for the person who you’re making a request of.  It was a big deal for me to have bold coffee.  It was no big deal for the clerk to brew a pot.  I thought that was “against the rules” and impossible for me to get.  I was wrong. 

Here’s how this may translate to you.  When you’re feeling wiped out and stressed, think about what you’re truly yearning for.  Maybe it’s to take a nap and you need someone to watch the kids.  Or, maybe you just want a half hour to run some important  errands that you’ve been putting off that have been brewing in the back of you head draining your energy.  You may think there is no way that this can happen,.  I invite you to think again.  Consider what options are available for you so that you can do what would feel most rejeuvenating to you in that moment.

On the other hand, what’s “no big deal” for you can be a big deal for the other person.  It was a HUGE deal to this employee that I asked for her name and the store number to send an email to her boss – she couldn’t believe I’d be willing to take the time to do that.  I am delighted to do that; I want to acknowledge great  customer service and let them know I’m a raving fan.  Its no big deal to do this whatsoever.

You may be able to use this analogy when you’re at the doctor’s office and one of the staff is especially helpful.  For example, I left a message with my doctor’s receptionist today with very specific information so the doctor could make recommendations regarding how to handle my hypothyroidism and insomnia.    I spoke slowly and asked the receptionist to read the message back to me.  She got every word of it perfectly.  I let her know I appreciated her taking the time to be so thorough.  She said it was no big deal to do that.  I told her I’d be letting the doctor know at my next visit that she did a great job of getting all the details correctly.  She said, “Oh, Char, you just made my day!”

See how this works? 

The coffee clerk made my day.  I made the receptionists day.  What’s a big deal to one person is no big deal to the next.  As the expression goes:  “One hand washes the other.”

What made your day today?  Whatever that is – I bet you made someone else’s day too.

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