Friday, April 23, 2010

A soft answer turneth away wrath

posted Mon, 04 Dec 2006 1

I have been learning the value of “Yes ma’am” and its variations, which is something I should have learned a long, long time ago. See, I’m one of those people who always wants to convince the other person that my way is right. I always want to win the argument. And this tendency has not served me well in life. It has gotten me into a lot of trouble. I should have sewn my lips shut when I was 21.

But at the store, I have discovered that life is a lot easier when I just say, “Yes ma’am” to customers who tell me something I find offensive or disagreeable.

“I don’t like that brand. Y’alls store brand is lousy. I’m going to Dillard’s.” The old me would have argued. The new me? “Yes ma’am.” And guess what? She sighs. “I hate Dillard’s. I haven’t been there in years.” She stays in the store.

Someone complains about a transaction taking too long? “Yes ma’am.” I go as fast as I can, smile and apologize. “Sorry for the delay, ma’am. Thank you for your patience and thanks for shopping at The Store. Please come back.” She harrumphs, but seems to get over it.

The customer on Saturday night who was drinking what smelled like straight gin from an insulated 20-oz cup while she tore through my neatly-folded sweaters and rejected the three extra-large red cashmere sweaters I found for her? “I don’t want these.” “Yes ma’am.”

I don’t argue, I don’t try to convince, I don’t explain. I merely say, “Yes ma’am.”

I need to remember this for when – if – I ever find a corporate job again.

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