Friday, October 11, 2013

Just Smile and Try Your Best

As I have said before, my father was a pharmacist and owned a drug store. I grew up working there. Each pharmacy in town attracted their lot of characters, I know Daddy had his share. And, being Dad, he just took them in stride, much to the dismay of the rest of his employees. Granted most people who came in were regular folks we all knew. And, if Daddy didn't know them before they first came in the store, he made a point of trying to get to know them at some point. He always said it was important to know the people you were serving.

He knew which college team a customer was a fan of. He knew the names of their sons who played on the high school football teams. He knew the ones who had elderly parents who lived out of town, and would remember to ask about them. It was rare that some one came in he had met before and he could not recall their name. He was quick to share a joke or make a side wager on the upcoming game.

Daddy generally liked people but he preached that customer service was the first thing his business offered. This was drilled into everyone who worked for him. "Just smile and try your best no matter what they ask for," was what he preached.  Whether it was making sure a customer could locate some hard to find item or having patience with an inane question. 

One lady always wanted us to call her a taxi. She insisted we call "Dash Taxi" as opposed to the other service. It never failed when I got them on the line, she would shout at me, "Tell them to send #7, I don't want #9 mind you." This was fairly humorous in a small town where there were a total of 3 cabs and 2 services, But,we aimed to please.

The delivery boys had even more tales to tell. There was one lady who never had her money ready to pay, so she insisted they "sit and visit" while she rummaged through her pocketbook for the right amount. One customer conveniently always needed a light bulb changed or the trash taken out every time one of the boys showed up with their delivery.

I remember Mr. Wilson was deaf as a door nail and would scream his order in over the phone. You could always tell it was Mr. Wilson, because whoever was trying to take his order was holding the phone a good six inches away from her ear for fear of losing her own hearing. Then when they went to make the delivery they knew, from experience, to go around back and bang on his den window to get his attention to answer the door.

Mrs. Danztler was a lonely widow who fancied herself much younger and more attractive than she was. The delivery boys swore she would always answer the door in a revealing "nightie" and invite them in. Much to her disappointment, they thought it best to stay on the stoop and just hand her the package. Every time a new delivery boy was sent there, Daddy made sure the newbie was not aware of her habits. Then when  the poor soul got back, Daddy would quiz him, among other things, about visiting with Mrs. Dantzler. Dad humorously saw that as a rite as passage.

The store was named White's Professional Pharmacy and Daddy made sure that the service fit the name. If he didn't do what he did for a living, Daddy would have been fine as long as he was around people. For years after he died, I had people still telling me, "You know he always had something good to say." He made good customer the rule, as opposed to the exception. And, made all us see the humor in difficult situations. 

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