“He wasn’t asking the right questions”

I was having problems with my email account. A 30-minute call to the 1-800 help desk solved my problem on the laptop, but I had to go and to see “the guy” at the store to fix the problem on my phone. As I sat, waiting for my turn to get help, I overheard a conversation and it prompted some serious thinking

I arrived to see a customer watching as three clerks, behind a counter, stared at a computer screen. The customer asked “and, how much will these upgrades cost me?” To me, it seemed like a pretty simple question. But, the three clerks remained silent, looking at each other; the one at the keyboard would type or move the mouse from time-to-time. Finally, after the customer had asked the question three times without getting a verbal response, one of the clerks finally replied that it would cost him so much a month (everyone looked fine with that answer) and that there would be, what seemed to me, a hefty installation charge. The customer was shocked by this information, became angry, said that he had expected something like this and walked out of the store. I was a little surprised that the clerks were not upset and no one followed him to try to explain the reasons for the unexpected charges. And, then I overheard the conversation.

“Did he ask you about the cost of installation?” one clerk asked another.

“No,” she replied.

“Then, he wasn’t asking the right questions.” With that reply, the clerks turned to help me.

I cannot imagine what their manager would have thought about that conversation and what he would have done knowing that the conversation was held in front of a waiting customer. Does the manager have the same attitude about customers? Is hiding charges a company-wide strategy? It made me wonder, how do others represent what we are teaching them?

  • If my staff hears me trash talk my boss, should I be surprised with they are reluctant to jump on a hot project that he or she has directed?
  • If a student hears me say that I am “sneaking out” a minute early, why would I expect them to follow the rules regarding plagiarism?
  • If our dinner table conversations trash the president or the pastor, should we be surprised when our kids are poor citizens or non-believers?

Psalm 15 should be our guide: (We ask) “God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list?” (He replies) “Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.” (The Message)

Have a wonderful Friday!!

  2 comments for ““He wasn’t asking the right questions”

  1. Anji Gray
    July 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    What a great read! I think about this all the time being that I work in a salon and hear EVERYTHING! Sometimes I get embarrassed by the things I over hear and hope that the person sitting in my chair did not hear it. Even though it is old school way of thinking I do still try to live by “A lady is only as kind as her words” that my mother taught me.

    • July 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Anji, I love your Mom’s teachings. There is no doubt about it, you work in a profession that is known for casual, inappropriate comments. In spite of all that is going around you, you are always professional and courteous. Thank you for being such a great role model!

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