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  • Ken Hay


Updated: Jan 4, 2023

“It is nice to be served with a smile.”

I use this phrase on a daily basis – in shops, service stations, offices, doctor’s surgeries, Chinese Restaurants ….. even the fish-n-chip shop. The effect, if not amazing, certainly gives me a warm inner glow. It invariably expands the smile on the face of the subject. What was a polite, wan, demure smile suddenly becomes a wide grin.

It also assures me of good service when next I revisit one of those establishments and am served by someone to whom I had previously offered the compliment.

Occasionally, I go even further. During my regular visits to a very big, busy fruit and vegetable market I had noticed a young lady who seemed to always work in a particular section. She always worked briskly stacking shelves, removing stale or damaged produce etc. And she was always smiling.

The other day I had occasion to seek her advice. She stopped what she was doing and gave me her complete and undivided attention – with eye contact and a smile. With the query answered I said, “I have noticed that you are always smiling. It is nice to be served with a smile.”

Her smile immediately went wide – ear to ear – so to speak. “Thank you.” She said, turned and got on with her job.

I should say I confine that compliment to ladies. Men don’t seem to smile as much as ladies. Also, they may completely misinterpret my compliment.

And there is always someone who does not smile. I always remain polite and thank them for their service without further comment. One never knows what their experience has been – a sick child, a fragile relationship, illness, financial difficulty – whatever. It would be the height of ignorance and sarcasm to say, “It would be nice to be served with a smile.” There will always be a reason why they do not smile.

In a similar vein, at check outs, I occasionally hear the old variation on the goodbye theme – “See you later.” Seems to be used only by the more senior ladies. But, I sometimes stop and caution those ladies about using that term. “Why?” they ask.

“Because one day some dashing gent is going to respond with, “That sounds like a good idea. Shall we make it your place or mine?”

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