The bad guys seem to be winning, at least if you measure it by the service levels in the restaurants we have experienced on vacation. I do not know the root cause. However, it is easy to see that most are not looking for anything different than what they are getting. After all, there is nothing “extra” in it for the person providing the service. It is a culture that does not tip. Tangible rewards for doing an average job are similar to giving superior service. Recognition and appreciation, the intangibles that make a difference in other cultures, do not seem to be a part of this one.
I know I cannot change a culture by myself. I can recognize and reward good service when I see it. I can express my appreciation.
It is interesting to note the surprise. My experience is not hard evidence. I do think the reactions are reminding me how important it is to give others thanks for what they have given you. It is as if I have experienced the truth of an old saying; “The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants [acceptance and love] is set for eternity.” (1 John 2.17)
After a great meal that seemed home cooked, I responded with a slight bow and an expression of the wai to the waitress and cook. It was the least I could do. It seems to be an expression long overdue.
It is easy to be critical – of what one receives as well as what is given in response. There is an alternative way of looking at each situation. We have the opportunity to encourage and nurture what is good and noble. I know life often gets in the way – stressing, pulling, and shaping me far more than I care to admit. I also know that there are unique moments where I can make a positive difference. In responding I see what endures beyond the moment. A smile leaves an impression that in turn creates a memory.