Something has happened to us. I witness it almost every day; people mindlessly glazing at each other as if we are interacting with a vending machine.
Case in point, I walk into a fast food restaurant and watch the interaction between the customer and the employee. The customer will walk in gazing at the menu posted above the counter and without even looking at the server will say, “I will have a #4 with a large coke.” The server will respond with the amount of money due, the money is exchanged and a polite, “Thank you, your order is #256.” That’s robotic. Plus, as you have noticed, many counter service restaurants are placing a device at the counter so you don’t even have to react with another human except to listen for, “Order #256!”
Another example is at the counter of a convenience store. I have observed this exchange countless times and I am betting that you have too. A customer fills their car with gas, grabs a bite to eat and goes to the counter to pay for it. As they are paying for their item, the customer is looking at their screen or on their phone the entire time without any interaction between them and the human being behind the counter. I noticed a handwritten sign above the cash register at a local convenience store that read, “Please put your phone away and LOOK at me.”
I believe that relationships are important and that connecting with other matters. Respect and dignity are not reserved for people who have significant titles and status. Respect and dignity should be shared with everyone we connect with on a daily basis.
Try breaking the glaze.
When people behind the counter are treated like robots, they start to act like robots. The next time you walk up to a counter, as they ask, “May I help you?” pause for a moment, smile, look at them and ask, “How are you doing today?” then wait for the answer. I promise that you will get a smile in return along with a sigh of relief because for the first time that day, someone has treated them as a human.
Next, look at their name tag and say, “Kaitlyn, that is a sweet name, is that your real name or your show name?” I promise that you will get a smile, a small laugh or a look of confusion…in either case it will be fun. Then place your order, “Kaitlyn, I would like a #4 and a large coke please.”
That 30-second interaction breaks the glaze. It creates a sweet moment by acknowledging, honoring and connecting with another person. It is a total “Nice Bike” experience.