Before I was a professional accountant and while I was still in college, I worked my freshman year for a few months at McDonald’s. Besides the fact that I despised working there, I took away an extremely valuable life lesson one particular day that I wanted to share with you. This lesson has to do with remembering to say please and thank you. You wouldn’t believe how much differently people treat you when you do so, and how quite often freebies come with being nice.
I was only about 18, working with my little brother and I was behind the counter at a lunch rush. “Get me this, get me that,” “I need a, I want a, Can I have a”… and then two younger kids walk up and ask oh so politely, “May I please have a”, followed by a “Thank you.” Wow, I thought to myself, they treated me like a person! Not just a schmuck working behind the counter of a fast food joint. I threw in an apple pie and made sure their fries were full to the brim. I was going to make certain they got their food quick too, even if it meant somebody else would be slowed down, after all, the other people didn’t care about me, why should I care about them.
That single experience changed the way I treated people going forward. You wouldn’t believe how much more people people are willing to do for you, and how far some will go out of their way to thank you for being polite. It doesn’t cost you anything to do, and it often ends up in you’re getting free discounts and or extra stuff for nothing. Not to mention, people instantly gain respect for you. You’ve got the satisfaction knowing that they won’t likely spit in your food and or drop it on the ground and pick it back up to serve to you. Moreover, they tend to make certain your order is correct before they give it to you.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten extra discounts at the register and free stuff all for being nice. Clerks will suddenly remember that something was on sale, you would be surprised. On the other hand, I don’t do it for the sake of getting free stuff, I act in this manner because it makes me feel good knowing that I’ve treated everyone with respect and equally. I’ve instilled this attitude in my children too. Even more, it makes the world a little less hostile when we take the time to simply acknowledge people. Just because it’s their job, doesn’t mean they like or even choose to do what they do for a living.
You can take this a step further, call the companies that you buy products from and tell them how fabulous their products are to you and why you love them so much. You would be amazed at how much free stuff you can get from companies just for telling them your loyalty to their products. Every major manufacturing company I’ve worked for hands out free product coupons and more on a daily basis for keeping customers loyal.
It’s time for you to try this and see what happens. Once you change your attitude and how you treat people, your positive attitude will come back to help you more often than not. Don’t stop with treating clerks and fast food employees in a respectful manner, try this positive approach with coworkers, friends, and family – they will notice. It’s not only worth it because of the freebies, but because you know you’ve done everything you can to make everyone’s life around you a bit less routine and miserable, and you’ve helped lighten their mood for the day, or in my case a lifetime!