Growing up, my parents served me and the rest of my siblings some tough love.
Their understanding of parenting was to deliver instant justice that came in the form of back handed slaps, ear twisting, and hard knocks that made your legs wobble and when they were in a good mood, they gave us the ‘eye’. The ‘eye’ was so effective that even when our backs were turned to them, we could feel two holes drilling into our skulls setting off ‘danger ahead’ signals. Those were always enough to readjust us to decency mode.
An example; we get invited to a party and leave without saying proper goodbyes or even thanking the host or hostess before leaving or some friend of the parents gives us something and we somehow forget to say thank you. One or more of the aforementioned invited instant justice which was cheerfully delivered.
Their brand of training included but was not limited to: ifoti, igba ti, i fase, igbaju, iladi, name it…
My parents believed courtesies endeared you to people. ‘If you are courteous they will want to invite you the next time’, they always reasoned.
That’s why, perhaps, I get royally pissed off when I encounter people who don’t know how to say, please and/or thank you, especially when I’m exchanging my hard earned cash for certain services.
This attitude is common in Nigeria’s Service Industry. Case in point, every Sunday, after church, I succumb to one temptation, Cold Stone Ice Cream shop, that devilishly sweet place right on Toyin Street. I try real hard not to stop my car in front of that place, but somehow, this evil partner in crime who also worships at my church would just stop right there.
Anyway, that Sunday, I skipped greeting friends after church and arrived rather early before the shop had even opened for the day. I honked at the security guard, who waved me off, telling me they won’t open for another 10 minutes.
So? I’ll wait.
He pointedly ignored me.
‘You don’t think the N1,700 I contribute to this shop every Sunday and at other times during the week has any bearing on your salary?’ I asked him as soon as I marched out of my car with righteous indignation.
He just snorted and turned his face away mumbling something about women who think they know everything.
I could feel my ears bursting into flames of anger.
But I waited.
After I was served by the cheerful boys and girls in the shop, I came out to meet a transformed Mr. security man, who saluted me, offered to open my door and bowed several times before asking me for, ‘something for Sunday’
Huh? You want a tip, for what service again, remind me? ‘You don miss road!’
And his type are all over. You go to the restaurant and the guy who directs you to the parking lot expects a tip; the door man/woman will almost dip their hands in your pocket on your way out for the change you are about to put in your purse, the saucy girl after serving you badly suddenly flashes a broad smile, asking you for something for the weekend, that’s if she hasn’t cheated you at the till by punching in the wrong figures for items purchased.
How many of us really cross check our receipts against items paid for?
Somehow, these people can’t connect a happy me with their monthly salary. They can’t seem to realise that customers returning have something to do with them keeping their jobs.
This one makes me laugh: I am a premium subscriber to DStv so you would think they should treat the likes of me like royalty. Yes, ke. But no, I get a call from some squeaky girl at the end of the line, asking me to make payment or I’ll be cut off in so and so day’s time.
Why don’t I get a thank you call for being a faithful subscriber for so long? Their services aren’t top notch. What makes them think I can’t switch to…erm…erm, well… I’ll find what I can switch to.
Why can’t my network call me to say, ‘thank you for being with us for over 10 years, how can we make it better?
Why can’t my insurance agent call to say thank you for paying your premium but when I default even by a day, I get more than three calls reminding me to pay.
I never get a thank you call whenever I pay my various subscriptions. A call that says, ‘I hope you are enjoying our services, what more can we do for you? No. Naija, why are we like this?
Why do we settle for mediocrity?
Don’t get me wrong, I tip and generously, too but find offensive someone who treats me badly, then asks me for a tip after serving me.
There’s a particular security guard at one of the Zenith Bank branches, Opebi branch to be precise, who’s always ever so courteous. At first, I responded to his greetings with cautious nods.
Don’t blame me for being suspicious, it’s not common to find people who show simple courtesies around here, especially if they aren’t getting anything for it.
This guy, anyway, has been consistent with his courtesies which is very heartening. Many customers have noticed and I’m sure, he’ll be getting generous tips, too.
Customer service is a concept many have failed to grasp, especially in the service Industry. You call an artiste and he can’t even show courtesy to the client paying him, you wait in a line to make payments at a shop and the assistant’s brusque attitude will almost make you drop the items and go elsewhere…where the service is equally… crappy. Let’s not go into the rest of that sorry tale.
So, I find myself turning nasty at these entitled people who dish out crappy services and expect me to tip them for it.