Service With A Smile: A Gay Man’s Motto


Service with a smile is usually a gay man’s motto, right? Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. That’s a different blog. Anyway, the entire reason this subject is coming up is because of an observation my mother made last month. We’d just sat down in a restaurant, the server came over, asked how we were and I apparently had an entire conversation with this woman like an automaton without ever even looking up from my menu.

“What was that?” Mom asked.
“What was what?”
“You didn’t even look at her.”
“Did she look at me?”
“Actually,” mom thought about it, “she didn’t.”

It never bothered me before–heck, it never even actually register with me before–but she had a point and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s annoying when my mother does that.

Seriously, though. Did you ever notice when you walk into a restaurant that the people working there really don’t care if you’re there or not? They don’t really want to know the answer when asking how you are. I’ve even played up some my replies in the past and it doesn’t phase them. They don’t hear it. And in response, I’ve apparently gotten so jaded that I just go through the motions with them because it’s what’s expected of us.

Ever walk into a Hallmark or a Subway? They yell out a big ol’ “Welcome to (insert name)!” before going right back to what they were doing. They don’t even look up. It’s just an automated response. Personally, I don’t want to talk to them until I’m ready. On the flipside, I’ve gone to Target and Wal-Mart, waited in line and gotten up to the register where the cashier doesn’t say a damn thing.

This irks me, too.

So I just stand there, smile and wait until they’re done. That’s when they finally look up at me, still silent, and wait for me to hand over my money. I wait until it becomes uncomfortable enough for them to tell me how much it is they’re expecting before replying with something along the lines “Oh, are we talking to each other now?”

That irks them.

It’s all about the irking these days, so at least I do it well. It’s also a pretty decent indication of why I’m not in retail or dealing with the public. But just imagine the fun I could have…


Original Responses

James says:
January 21, 2011 at 1:52 am
I was just talking about this the other day. I actually 70% of the time get good cashiers in retail. I was a customer preference when I worked in retail, too. But I also understand that feeling of just wanting people to go away when you get customer after customer who doesn’t respond at all to your GOOD customer service. “Hi! How are you doing?” “No, thanks.” “I’m sorry?” “Oh, what did you say?” LoL.

Pam says:
January 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Must be a Yankee thing. You need to head south for a while dude. LOL Come to a Walmart here in Olive Branch and the cashier will likely talk your ear off. I can tell you that can be pretty disconcerting when you are in there at 6:30 in the morning to pick up stuff before work and aren’t properly awake yet.

Kage says:
January 29, 2011 at 8:59 am
Hmm. I must have been in the wrong part of the south once. I drove through Texas looking for a gas station. I thought it ironic that I couldn’t find one. But seriously, how far south?

Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake (also to be re-published under his real name), and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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