A Smile Can Fix (Almost) Anything

Image for post
Image for post

“The ideal applicant is one with an amazing and friendly attitude, stellar customer service skills, an ability to work well as a team member, with a high level of personal initiative and industriousness.”
Classified ad, August 2007

This summer I went to a McDonald’s to try their new Chipotle Wrap. (I saw the ad and liked the name, plus the price.) Well, I had not been to a McD’s in a while, and this first experience was less than I expected. The gal at the window, who took my money at the drive through, said everything she was supposed to say, but her lifeless, dour expression and tone of voice communicated a bored weariness with this window seat. She could not have come across more disinterested as she said, “Welcome to MacDonald’s. Have a nice day.”

I did get the wrap I ordered. (A bit dry.) But the experience left me cold.

Contrast this with a short visit to another MacDonald’s a couple weeks later. It was a comedy of errors from the start. A friend was in town and this was the nearest place to just get a half hour of face time. At the counter I ordered a cone and he ordered a chocolate fudge sundae. As we stood there talking, our attendant fumbled with the cash register. A minute or so later I had my cone. An older woman brought a strawberry parfait and placed it on a tray. After Henry paid, the woman brought a chocolate fudge sundae and placed it next to the parfait.

We asked who this was for, and she said, “You didn’t order this?” So the gal at the cash register now had to figure out how to refund Henry’s overpayment. Henry took the sundae and we went to find a seat while they figured things out.

In short order the change was brought to us at the table by the older woman, and if memory serves correct, another error occurred.

Yet, it was fun. Everyone was smiling. Sure they failed to be efficient, demonstrated marginal competence, but they were good-natured, cheerful, happy to help us, eager to get it right.

I have been reading a book called Social Intelligence where the author explains the “how” of a smile, how it integrates with the way our brains our wired, and why a smile is infectious. This apparent common sense now has plenty of research to support it. A smile makes a difference.

If you are an employer striving to build a successful team, one thing that stands out above nearly everything ought to be whether your sales staff and front line workers are friendly. As the saying goes, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.”

Whether in business or in our communities, as Annie once sang, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.”

# # # #

Written by

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store