“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Personal Touch

The other day, I walked into a fairly large and busy post office to mail a package. I didn’t have a box so I chose one of the boxes available there, filled in the shipping information, then placed the items inside and got in the long line. The gentleman at the counter was busy at work trying to take care of all the customers as efficiently as possible and I could see how organized he was. When I got to the counter, I asked him if he could tape the box for me. He responded by saying, “Sorry, but we’re not allowed to tape boxes anymore, but there’s tape on the display that you can purchase.” I said, “Really?” I was a little surprised, but decided to return with the package because I had a roll of tape at home. The following day went by with me away so the package didn’t get mailed. The next day, with the package still in my car, I forgot my tape and decided that I had no excuse and would buy the tape when I got to the post office. On this particular day, though, I went to a small, mom and pop location that I pass almost everyday. I walked in, took a roll of tape from the display and approached the counter where there was no line. There was a gentleman there that greeted me. I said hello and that I just needed to tape up my box. He said, “Is this the only thing you need to tape? I can do that for you.” I said, “Really?” He grabbed his tape gun and taped up my box. I was very thankful because I understood that he didn’t have to do that for me. When we were finished, we both said goodbye and wished each other a nice day and I walked out with a smile on my face.

I thought about the differences in the two locations. Both are doing the same thing. One is large with lots of traffic where the need for efficiency seemed to be the biggest priority and the gentleman there was doing his job very well. The other is small with less traffic and although the man who served me was no less efficient, he was able to take the time to add a personal touch to his service. I believe in today’s fast-paced society, there is an even greater need for these types of interactions on a daily basis because most of us are absorbed in our own worlds, coasting on autopilot, often even ignoring the people around us. Many of us don’t understand that the smallest of actions for each other can make all the difference in how we feel, and feeling as if we’re making even the slightest difference can have a profound impact on our moods – they do for me, anyway. When I walked out of that little post office, I decided that from now on, I would take my business there. Not because the large location did anything wrong, but because I understand the value of the personal touch, which was definitely right.

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