Sunday, August 17, 2014

Super Deluxe

The “inspiration” for this post comes from dad. (Just to clarify, I’m referring to my wife’s dad. I’m just not particularly fond of the term father-in-law.) I can’t recall a time when I asked dad how he’s doing and he didn’t instantly respond with “super deluxe”. I doubt that he is actually, truly, 100%, super deluxe ALL the time. The point I’m making is that he IS always optimistic about how good he is and/or will be. If only everyone was capable of that….

Working in a retail environment, I run into a wide variety of personality types and attitudes. I am fortunate that the far majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis are quite friendly and personable. That is one of the benefits of working in a small town and being on a first name basis with most of my customers. I do run into a handful of people that have me scratching my head wondering how they developed the attitude they have. It also serves as a challenging opportunity to try new methods of communication to develop a good relationship with them. Since I am a “bad news before good news” kind of guy, I will talk about the energy draining, bad attitude personality type first.

Somewhere along the line most of us have run into someone who left us dumbfounded by their negative attitude. I’m not just talking about someone having a bad day. We all have those. I’m talking about that person who appears to ALWAYS be having a bad day. It’s tiring for me to even think about how much energy they use to have a consistently negative attitude. I will give them credit for creativity. It’s not easy to be mad about, or find something wrong with, EVERYTHING. Here’s a sample conversation that I find myself in from time to time:

Me: “Good morning. How are you doing today?”

Customer: (Glares at me like I just spewed out a bunch of obscenities at them.)

Me: “What can I help you find today?”

Customer: (New glare that makes the last one look pleasant) “I know what I want.”

Me: “Excellent. What are you looking for? I can take you right to it.”

Customer: “I’ll get it myself.”

Me: “OK. Let me know if I can help you with anything else or answer any questions for you.”

Customer: (Huffs off reading all the aisle marker signs.)
***30 seconds later***
Customer: (In a loud, clearly annoyed voice.) “What do I need to do to get some help around here?”

Me: “I’d be happy to help you. What are you trying to locate?”

Customer: “I need some paint.”

Me: “I can help you with that. Let’s go up to the paint department.” (The brightly lit, colorful, in your face department right next to the front door where this whole conversation began.)

I could go on and on with this example, but I think you get the idea. Sometimes it gets to the point that I feel someone is playing a joke on me. Or better yet, testing the methods I train by mixing up customer profiles (browser, mission shopper, project shopper, etc) to see how I will react. It makes life more interesting for me, but that is only because I like a challenge and that’s the type of attitude I have.

I’m the kind of person who likes to find the lighter side of any situation. This may sound contradictory at first, but I often joke that I’m a “pesi-optimist”. I jokingly assume the worst is going to happen so that I will be pleasantly surprised when the best happens. Maybe I’ve read too many of Murphy’s laws? I’m not a negative person. I would just rather have the surprise of a good thing rather than the disappointment of something falling below my expectations. Some of the most “exciting” days I’ve had were the ones where nothing seemed to go right. They actually become laughable at some point and that laughter gives me the fuel to keep pushing through and solving each additional problem. Plus, at the end of the day, I feel like I accomplished something and I have a story or two to joke about later.

Going forward, I am going to continue trying to be positive in everything that I do. I may feel more “awesome” than “super deluxe”, but maybe that’s something that comes with age and experience. I know I have dad’s super deluxe example to motivate me. Hopefully it can motivate you too. Until next time…