Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not the way I wanted to start my day

It started like most of my days start, waking up from a strange dream, and although this one had some new characters starring in it, it was disturbing. On the other hand, it was interesting to see some old high school friends again!

A bit groggy, I got on with my business and soon was out the door on my way to the grocery store about a block away to exchange some pork that had gone 'green' before it's expiration date.

On the way there I took my usual shortcut through an alley behind a bar-restaurant that's on the ground floor of my building. I had some junk mail to get rid of and our dumpster is back there in it's new spot since the brand-new parking garage was built by the city.
Right next to the dumpster is a new set of concrete stairs (in fact the whole back area is brand new concrete), and smack dab in the middle of the stairs was the remnants of a french roll and it's contents, which included some kind of yellowish goopy sauce spread all over the top step.

Now it's not the first time there's been a mess left around the dumpster. Between the mess left behind from the driver emptying the dumpster every morning, the hundreds of cigarette butts scattered around, and anything that doesn't quite make it into the dumpster when the restaurant's employees dump their trash (and the occasional mess from people walking through the area), it gets to be quite nasty at times. Of course nobody seems to want to take responsibility for cleaning it.

Well I made an assumption that this was most likely left by an employee of the restaurant, so I went back to see if the manager/owner was available to speak with (I saw that one of their cars was there). I went in and was told by the young waitress there that she thought "they both just took off together", so I explained the situation. Immediately she started in with an attitude "how do you know it's from us?", she asked with a nasty tone. From there it went downhill.. I tried to remain polite and stated that I'd been in the service (including food) industry for many of my 50 years and it looked in my professional opinion that it most likely came from their place.
"Your professional opinion,huh?" she said snarkilly (sp?), at which point I went to leave, and told her that I could really do without her 'attitude'.

Ten minutes later when I returned from the store the owner was outside smoking a cigarette and had already been briefed by the waitress I spoke to earlier.

We spoke for a while, and I was trying to ease her defensive attitude while getting my point across. It ended by me saying hopefully that "I'd much rather make friends that enemies" and that we all need to work together.

When I got back to my apartment my blood pressure was way up there and figured that the best way to settle down was to write about the situation. I'm not sure of the best way to approach her and her husband with the following thoughts, but I do hope they will be taken in the spirit I intended.

The whole situation needs to be straightened out as to who is responsible for keeping the area clean, is it the city, the management company for the building, the dumpster company, who?

As it stands now nobody is, except for mother nature, who did a wonderful job the other night when a heavy rain swept way all the butts and lobster claws, etc..

Here are my thoughts as far as the bar (and employees in general) goes:
Reminder to managers and owners of a business:

Employees (with the management setting a good example) when confronted with a pushy or rude customer, or with undesirable people inside or outside of their place of business should always be polite. Even in the face of idiots and extremely rude and obnoxious people, they have to maintain a polite (and firm when necessary) and professional disposition.

If you've ever seen the movie "Road House", Patrick Swayze (the 'cooler') stresses that fact forcefully. "Be nice..!".

It's also been one of the basic rules of [good] management since the beginning.

I know that in most places it's an inside joke "sure the customer's 'always' right" or something like that. We know that the saying means that even though someone's wrong, in the long run it's always best for the business to be nice even when they aren't.

When your employees [aren't] 'nice' it's bad for your reputation and ultimately bad for your bottom line.

If there's an ongoing situation, like having an apartment building directly above your establishment* and some of the residents** are creating problems, the solution is not for your employees to be rude and confrontational to them, but deal with the apartment management.
Hopefully they will act professionally in kind and address of the issue(s).

But the bottom line is, for the best outcome everyone should work together (professionally) to resolve the problem.
Once 'attitudes' enter the mix things usually go downhill fast and little to nothing gets accomplished.

Most of this is old-fashioned common sense, learned the hard way, from experience.
People aren't perfect, and very little is black or white in this world, but being polite always pays in the long run (and personally it has always made me feel better afterwards, as opposed to a nasty confrontation).

Thank you.

*As in the case of the "Green Martini".
**Many of whom have psychiatric issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome but need to be on-topic and civil.