Tuesday, April 12, 2022
A middle-aged couple came into the store where I sell baby chickens. They explained their interest in getting chicks for the first time and had questions. What are chicks like, what do they need, how do mixed breeds get along, how long do they live, and what equipment is required? And so on. I’m used to answering questions and am patient about explaining. Often shoppers compliment my sales performance. Actually, I enjoy talking with folks.
This guy offered a twenty-dollar bill, “Here’s a tip, you’ve been very helpful.”
I thanked him and refused the money. He asked about coops set up outside. I led them to the structures and explained chicken-housing components. He again tried giving me money. When I refused it, he tossed the bill at me. I said, “Please, pick it up from the ground.”
“How then can I thank you?”
“I’m pleased you’re happy, and that makes me happy. I’ve done nothing unusual, am simply doing my job.”
“There must be something I can do for you.”
“Tell the store manager, that would be nice.”
Who knows if he talked to the manager? But I think about the incident. Occasionally, I’m offered tips, but with less insistence. Our warehouse guys who haul, load, and unload heavy items are salaried and always accept tips. I’ve observed at gas stations customers tipping guys operating the pumps.
I don’t see myself as that sort of service employee. I’m a retiree working part-time who’s educated and experienced. I understand selling well by learning a customer’s needs. My style is to listen, assess, and help. That initially surprised co-workers, who felt I took too much time with customers. By doing “my thing” and making good sales, I’ve more permission to sell my way.
I don’t need cash tips for what I’m good at doing. My reward is being able to sell my style.
Dear Friends: One’s approach to performing work can change significantly. Diana