It’s Rehoboth Beach, DE … a 4-day family summer gathering of 14 people.
My father and I head out in the morning to get some fish for that night’s dinner … 5 pounds of it. It’s 10:40 when we get to Big Fish Seafood Market, but the door says opening time is 11.
Fortunately, there’s a restaurant attached to the place with some staff setting up their outdoor seating for lunch, so we ask them if they could open the market a little earlier.
We drop $150 and everyone’s happy. A good story.
Back home, it’s 9:02 a.m. and there’s a line of 4 people outside my bank waiting for a 9 a.m. opening. More people are waiting in their cars.
The fact is … this line happens frequently at this particular bank. It starts with people sitting in their cars about 10 minutes before opening time, and then with about 5 minutes to go, it changes to a line of people standing outside the building.
Typical story. Nothing special. Nothing terrible.
But why not two-twelve the experience and open the doors a few minutes earlier when customers are standing there?
Then, I’m at the gym running on a treadmill as closing time approaches (6 p.m. on a Saturday). With about 1 minute to go, I watch a staff member start clicking off the TVs and lights.
On the dot … 6 p.m. … to the exact click of the second hand, it seemed… we’re thrown the rodeo roundup gesture with a shout, “That’s it! We’re closed!”
Typical story. A little rude. Nothing terrible.
But we’re here for something better than typical and nothing terrible, right?
Here’s my suggestion…
We open our doors (actual and metaphorical) a minimum of 10 minutes before our established opening times and close them a minimum of 10 minutes later than our established closing times. (We Smile & Move.)
Then we remind ourselves and our colleagues that if we’re lucky enough to be in the path of someone’s want or need, we should be more inviting and appreciative of the opportunity coming to us rather than going somewhere else. Why?
Because … That’s how we eat. (More below.)
Behind the curtain…
I see mediocrity … all the time. (think Sixth Sense movie, 1999)
I can’t help it. I don’t want to. It aggravates everyone closest to me.
But when I see it, I think about how to make things better … sometimes when it’s convenient for me and sometimes when I really should.
I’m incredibly lucky, just as you might be. So, when I find myself talking or writing about how to improve something that’s not solving world peace or hunger, I initially think, “Just shut up, Sam. You’re not entitled to everything being perfect all the time.”
So for the stories above…
I’m lucky to be buying a bunch of fish for a nice family meal at the beach. Maybe I just wait quietly for 20 minutes and let them open at their regular time. Maybe the bank people are having an emergency and can’t get to the door on this particular day. Maybe the guy at the gym has a sick spouse at home who needs every minute of help she can get in taking care of the kids.
But my intent with these examples is to help everyone enjoy more of their day … whether we’re the customer or the person doing the work. (Isn’t it more enjoyable to do good work rather than to evade good work?)
I once wrote about a family vacation experience and offered several thoughts for improvement. For some readers, my thoughts came off as entitled and disrespectful of a different culture. For others, it helped them see things in a different light that they could apply to their work (for themselves and their customers). Same thing happened when I wrote about a golf outing.
“Why can’t you just enjoy the fact that you’re out with your friends playing a game?”
I just enjoy thinking about how to make things better and inspiring others to do the same. Again … to help more people enjoy more of their day.
Because … That’s how we eat.
(I see good things too, by the way. In fact … ♫ I see friends shaking hands… sayin’, ‘How do you do?’ They’re really sayin’, ‘I smove you.’ And I think to myself … what a wonderful world. ♫)