Yesterday, I went to Island Creamery with a friend of mine because we were both first-timers to the place, and really wanted to try it due to the positive response the place has been receiving.
When we reached, there was only one table left so my friend decided to ‘chop’ the place first while I went to check out the flavours. Standing behind the counter was a young adult lady, looking rather moody. After serving the guy before me, she turned to me.
“Yes?” she asked. Expressionless would probably be a nicer way to describe how her facial expression was. She looked like she wasn’t having a very good day. She seemed so unfriendly. It was awkward. Instant not-so-good impression of this person.
“Um, can I try the Milo Ping Pong?” I asked. The lady somewhat slammed the lid against the corner. I was a little surprised by her action. I tasted it, and went on to take a look at other flavours. For some reason, I tried to get my friend to come and accompany me to try flavours, because it felt very uneasy being alone tasting a couple of flavours in front of a worker who seemed like she hated her job. In fact, this lady seemed to be waiting impatiently while I was taking my time, looking at the different flavours. The lady was constantly frowning. I continued to try a few more flavours, and she continued to slam the lid with the same facial expression. The body language of the lady bugged me a little, so I decided to stop trying after my third flavour.
“How many flavours can I get per cup?” I asked. She responded, “Depends on how many scoops lor.”
‘Lor’. That word alone made her sound cold and unfriendly. I was new here, I wouldn’t know how the place worked with the cups and scoops and all. Anyway, the flavours were rather nice, but I was tight on my budget, so I proceeded to ask, “How many flavours for one scoop?”
I know. Stupid question. What the hell was I thinking asking the obvious? The lady stared at me, her frown appeared to be more obvious this time. “Huh?” she answered back, “It’s one scoop what!”
I laughed slightly, feeling a little embarassed, and sort of taken aback by her answer. So rude, I thought. But I couldn’t help to think maybe I was at fault too for acting like a dumb customer. Maybe she has been getting customers like me all day, thus the bad mood, I thought. Nonetheless, I felt I didn’t deserve such treatment from her.
I bought my ice-cream, paid the cash, and went to sit down. It was then my friend’s turn. When he came back with his flavour, I said, “Did you notice the lady at the counter? She seems very moody. She didn’t even smile…”
My friend nodded and replied, “Yeah. She looks very dulan (in a bad mood).”
We started talking a bit about her attitude while enjoying our ice-cream. I even shared about the stupid question I asked and how she answered me, and my friend felt that how she responded was wrong as a paid staff there.
We concluded: The ice-cream was fantastic (indeed!), but the lady at the counter kinda dropped the satisfaction of this experience for me. I started to wonder, is it so difficult to at least fake a smile? Even if you are having a bad day, you are working, right? To show your unhappiness to your customer is wrong, it is like taking out your negativity on the customer. You are getting paid after all, while the customer is paying. It’s not like I was being rude or anything. I felt disrespected as a customer. If not for the location of the place, I would have left.
I believe that if we want to be treated nicely, we have to in turn treat others nicely. But we also have to remember that this will not always be the way for everyone we meet. Some people just won’t know how to be nice back to you, even after you’ve shown it. They fail to appreciate it, or maybe they are just plain spoilt. Wouldn’t we as human beings want to receive positive feedback about ourselves from others? In the end, I kind of believe that when one shows that they are having a bad day to another, be it a stranger, a friend or a family member, chances are, it is going to affect that person who will in turn feel the negativity you are feeling as well.
Just my two cents.