September 4, 2013

Why Smiles Matter

As I joined the queue for coffee, the line was snaking round the counter. Argghh. Should have come earlier, I curse at myself. Thumbing through my emails and Instagrams, I patiently wait my turn. Suddenly I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. I look up, past the till, over to where the baristas are lined up – churning out flat whites, barking names and frothing milk. One barista catches my eye and mouthes ‘Coffee?’. Are you kidding??? I nod furiously. He smiles and turns back to his gleaming machine, expertly twiddling knobs while the beans grind noisily beside him. As the queue slowly clears I reach the till. Before I can even place my order, he is there with my coffee, just how I like it. A big smile is exchanged and I thank him profusely, pay the order taker and breeze past my workmates still waiting for their morning fix.

I don’t know his name, he is the guy at the coffee place. But I always thank him, I always make eye contact, I always smile. He has probably saved my life some mornings with his coffee (OK slight exaggeration, maybe), so surely the least I can do is say “Oh, thanks so much, how wonderful.”

There is a lot to be said for manners. For being polite. For treating people like people. So many times in cafes and restaurants I see customers being so rude to the wait staff, or even just ignoring them like they are invisible. How would you like it if you were treated like that? The same goes for checkout staff at the supermarket, or the parcel delivery person at the office.

It costs you nothing to treat others the way you would like to be treated, and sometimes they will go the extra mile for you in return, unasked. Because they are just doing their job, like you are, and they appreciate it when someone notices.

Try it sometime. It might just make your day.


Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. So very true and a good reminder about how it is the little things in life that make your day.

  2. I think this is huge reason why I like going to my local coffee shop…the smile, the kindness, and that they always know what I want. It’s like Cheers! You want to go where people know your name.

  3. Reblogged this on tabitha flack and commented:
    Nice thought for a Wednesday – share the smiles, and treat others how you want to be treated! Great Message for you hump day!

  4. Totally agree! Smiling is so simple, yet makes such a big difference.

  5. Nice blog! The woman in the place I sometimes get sandwiches from always says hi to me like she’s welcoming me back. I don’t know her name and she doesn’t know mine but she always seems happy to see me (:

  6. This really works all the time. Even to your angry boss. You can pep her up with a smile

  7. I always say thanks. The one thing I always remember my mum telling, always say thank you.

  8. I was in Auckland for two weeks, and made Hardware Cafe my local. The smiles (and singing) from the cafe owner and staff set the ambience and it permeated into everyone and everything cracking early morning cloudiness into sharp rays of happy sunshine. Wonderful and unexpected.

  9. Every time we choose to be nice, be supportive, be understanding … to simply smile without first receiving, we add to the fabric of our community. I’m intellectualising a bit, but isn’t that the whole point of coffee? To get the brain working?

  10. Agree! We’re all in it together and those small interactions matter. One of the nicest things I notice when coming back to New Zealand is the openness in how people smile genuinely at each other in shops, thank bus drivers and start up random conversations. It’s not all about preservation of space and status here and I like that.

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