We are quick to complain when the food is cold, when the queue is not moving, or when our favourite bev is not cold enough. For some of us, if complaining were an Olympic sport, winning would come as naturally as breathing.

In fact, I know people who will complain even when there’s nothing to complain about. They are alive, employed, healthy, and the family is well and provided for and the weather is beautiful. I dare you to ask them how they’re doing. It’s too hot; it’s too cold; the milk is finished; the taxis… etc. Such people exhaust me and I try to avoid them like the plague.

So I make it a point of looking for the positive and complimenting everybody that deserves one. When recently I had to go to the store to pay an account I was not particularly looking forward to it. I am sure you know that even in retail stores there’s politics. Many times those with fairer skin, for example, or those beautifully attired, will not only receive prompt service, but will get it with a smile. Don’t get my father started on the former example. He has taken on a fair number of tellers over the years for this kind of treatment.

We also know that some of us are not innocent until proven guilty, because the store security guard will often shadow your every move from the minute you enter the store, until the moment they take your hard-earned cash and leave. The result is that you seldom feel welcome and resent giving them your money.

But on this trip I was to be so pleasantly surprised. At the entrance of this particular store was a security guard whose primary function, I suspect, in these Covid times, is to spray your hands with sanitiser and perhaps offer you a wet wipe if you’re taking a basket or trolley. The brother was tall and probably somewhere between his mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Not expecting much, I greeted him as he sprayed my hands and was ready to dash into the store so that I could get out of there.

What happened next is rare and stopped me dead in my tracks. The relaxed-looking gent not only greeted me with warmth in his voice, but he asked me how I was doing like he actually gave a damn. He didn’t stop there. He asked me about my Christmas and New Year as if he would have liked to be there! I was genuinely taken aback. We chatted like old friends, with ease and sincerity. If that man was being paid just to welcome people into the store, I would argue for a raise and a generous bonus on his behalf. He could definitely teach a few tellers I’ve encountered a thing or two.

By the time we said our goodbyes and I proceeded to go in search of a few things, I was feeling relaxed and most welcomed. The way a valued customer should feel. Still beaming I grabbed some muesli, lemons and so on. Then I decided that that kind of service deserved a special mention. I bumped into a lady checking stock and asked if I could please talk to the store manager. When the manager appeared, I said to him that as customers we readily complain but today I was giving praise where praise was due.

I explained to him how warmly I was received by the security guard at the entrance and that I really felt valued and welcomed just by that simple, sincere gesture. Now I don’t know if this manager would go and compliment the security guard himself, or put in a good word for him with the powers that be, but I fervently wished that he would escalate the matter and hoped with all my heart that his exemplary service would be duly rewarded.

Meanwhile, needless to say, I left the store with a broad smile, and will definitely return if that’s what I can expect next time.


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Tell us: Have you had bad service of the nature relayed by the author? And, on the other hand, have you made an effort to compliment good service when you have been the beneficiary of it?