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Embracing Empathy and Kindness: A Call to Rethink Our Interactions with Service Workers

As the festive season approaches, bringing with it the hustle and bustle of celebrations, it's crucial to reflect on the way we interact with those who make our holidays special—hospitality and retail workers. In the midst of the holiday enthusiasm, stress can easily take over, and tempers may flare. In this season of giving, let's not forget to extend empathy and kindness to those who dedicate their time to ensuring our festive experiences are memorable.


The Lost Art of Appreciation:

Have you ever wondered what would happen if, just for a month, no one worked on weekends (excluding essential services like healthcare)? Imagine a world where dining out, shopping trips and even the simple act of buying milk were put on hold during weekends. Would this pause prompt a collective realization of our dependence on the service industry? Would it foster a newfound respect for those who sacrifice their weekends to cater to our needs?


The Rise of Rudeness:

Unfortunately, the prevalence of rude customers seems to be on the rise. Once upon a time, dining out or staying at a luxury resort was a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Now, it's considered a right by many. If service falls short, customers are quick to voice their dissatisfaction, often with the expectation of compensation. Have we conditioned customers to expect freebies as a resolution to their complaints? Where has the pure joy of being served and enjoying a meal without entitled expectations gone?


Rediscovering Gratitude:

It's essential to urge customers to consider the human side of the service industry. The server attending to your table or the chef preparing your meal is someone's daughter or son. Imagine how you would want your own family members to be treated in their positions. In an era where staff shortages are common, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of these individuals becomes even more critical.


Navigating Complaints with Empathy:

While warranted complaints do exist, it's crucial to approach them with empathy. Rather than defaulting to compensation as the first solution, let's consider the challenges faced by the service industry. Perhaps the kitchen is understaffed, leading to delays in meal preparation. Instead of frustration, can we find joy in extended conversations with our dinner companions?

This festive season, let's make a conscious effort to be mindful of our interactions with hospitality and retail workers. Practicing empathy and kindness can make a world of difference in fostering a positive atmosphere for both customers and service professionals. Remember, a simple "thank you" and acknowledgment of the effort put into making your experience enjoyable can go a long way in preserving the passion of those who work tirelessly to make our holidays special.


- by Anneliese Howard
  Blueprint Hospitality Trainer