I was out doing some shopping and decided to grab a bite to eat on my way home, so I pulled into a fast food restaurant. I placed my order and approached the window to pay. My total was $8.71.

I handed the person at the window a $20 bill. He handed me back my change and receipt, followed up with “I don’t have the pennies, sorry.” He said it in the same tone as the kid delivering Clark Griswold’s Christmas bonus in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

As I reached the next window I looked down at my change and chuckled. My change should have been $11.29 but instead he gave me $11.25, in the form of a $10 bill, a $1 bill and a quarter. Was it a big deal? No. But the principal of the situation bugged me.

As I drove home I wondered if it was just laziness. He didn’t want to take the time to ask a manager to bring him some rolled coins. Or was he pocketing the random change as he was stiffing his customers?

Either way, it didn’t feel right. Again, sure it was just four pennies but at the end of the night his cash drawer was going to be wrong, or was it?

I find myself chuckling a lot at the register these days. A couple of weeks ago I was in Boston for a conference and I bought my morning coffee (on most days) with cash.

The clerk seemed annoyed that he had to count back money. His life was so easy when all he had to do was hand a receipt to his customer. I was forcing him count change. Boy, I had some nerve, eh?

My favorite situation is when the clerk tells me that the amount due is something like $9.17 and I hand the clerk a $10 bill and a quarter. Mind. Blown. I’ve actually had the clerk hand me the quarter back to me and said I overpaid. Nope, I just don’t want all of those coins in return.

I think we’ve become a lazy society in a lot of ways. Customer service doesn’t seem to be what it once was.

Once in awhile we’ll get a really good waitress or waiter. A person who genuinely enjoys his or her job is a rare find these days. They are attentive, fun and friendly. 

They get the order to the right person with a smile on their face. But it seems like a lot of people really dislike their jobs.

If you are going to be in the customer service field, you should have at least a few of the qualities required for the job to be successful. Sure we all have our moments and we all have our bad days. But if I consistently receive attitude, I’ll take my business somewhere else.

In my business, customer service is extremely important to me. It’s all about the customer experience. I want people to tell their friends. Word of mouth can make your business or break your business.

It’s also really important to share the good news instead of only the bad news. I’ve actually taken the time to call a store or a restaurant when I’ve received exceptional customer service.

People need to hear that they are doing a good job.

I didn’t bother to call the manager of the young man who kept my four cents. Maybe I should have called but, eh, I was too lazy.

The vicious cycle continues.

Jennifer Lague writes from Derry.

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