"Let's Put On a Happy Face"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, May 16, 2016

It seems like people I encounter in service jobs are a lot friendlier than in the past. When checking out at a store, cashiers smile a little more and restaurant staff people, right down to the bus people are nicer. I know my tip for wait staff people is always based upon their attitudes. Many in the past seemed to think they were inferior because they had to wait on people. Hotel and motel staff often displayed the same behavior, somewhat resentful. Just recently though, I have noticed them smiling and responding with a polite and helpful manner.

When I visit the grocery store I often need help, especially when they move everything. Employees putting up stock are glad to help me locate items. They even leave what they are doing and walk me to the aisle I need. I can’t imagine why but even the clerks at fuel stops are happier in their jobs than in the past.

I wonder what has caused the shift in attitudes.

Have they all got raises or hope to soon? Are they fearful of losing their jobs, so they put on happy faces? Maybe they are just happy because they have a job. According to recent reports, unemployment figures are down and fewer jobs are fading away. I’ve noticed some stores that were using a lot of “self-serve” checkouts going back to additional cashiers. This sure makes me happy because I don’t want to check out my own purchases and sure don’t want to contribute to the loss of someone’s job. Did those DIY checkouts offer discounts to eliminate jobs?

It’s a fact we all live with: automation has replaced many workers but there are still a lot of customers who prefer people to machines. We want to have a person take care of our needs. Does anyone really enjoy wandering aimlessly in the large department stores wondering if anyone is working there? We need to voice our opinions and ask for people over machines so additional jobs can be added. College kids fresh out of school need to work and are happy to take lower paying jobs just for an opportunity to make a living while waiting to start their chosen professions. It’s unfortunate that not all graduates find the high paying jobs they were told to expect after years of study. The reality of having to pay their way instead of leaning on parents and student loans hits hard. They have to swallow and accept the menial pay but the payoff is they develop a work ethic and when a job in their chosen field opens up they are able to perform well. Employers in the field they approach, when reviewing applications, respect the fact applicants were willing to work at a service job just to get some kind of work experience.

It may just be my imagination but I really think there are more happy workers everywhere in many different jobs. They smile and speak pleasantly no matter what you throw at them. Employers seem to understand customers appreciate the courtesy their employees are displaying. Maybe that is generating more raises in pay, which leads to more smiling employees.

I really think we can make this crazy world a little better by simply displaying a caring attitude and putting smiles on our faces.

Try it, you’ll be surprised at how many people will respond in kind.

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