I guess I woudn’t want to be a toll booth operator, but it would be better than unemployment.
Last weekend, Jane and I took our daughter Eliza to college in Upstate NY and stopped at a variety of toll booths once we crossed north of the Mason-Dixon Line. On two occasions, we were greeted, well, perhaps not “greeted,” by toll booth operators who were both chatting on cellphones… and remarkably both were complaining about their jobs.
One operator simply was giving out the entry point card for a toll road, (a job that I’m astounded that exists considering the efficiency of a machine to feed the cards to motorists), and she never even looked at me. She mechanically stuck out her hand with the card, and never missed a beat complaining to someone on the other end of the phone call about how she was working a double shift and hated it. The other operator, again complaining about her job, took exact change with a nod.
Let’s face it. I’m not NOT going to use I-87 because of crummy “customer service,” and it’s not that I really care if a human or machine is collecting the toll I really didn’t want to pay anyway, but having a toll booth operator, or anyone who is taking money from me, look me in the eye, smile pleasantly, and acknowledge my presence is much preferable to the two particular instances I experienced.
But then again, how often have you visited a doctors office where a receptionist with hardly a glance, and rarely a smile, simply hands you a clipboard, and simply states, “Please fill this out,” before attending to other tasks.
Don’t like your job? Find something you like.
But in the meantime, try a smile. Try to look customers/patients in the eye. Acknowledge human presence in at least the most rudimentary manner.
I don’t expect a smile or acknowledgement from the ATM, airline check in kiosk, toll booth machine, or any of the automated time and labor saving devices we see more and more frequently.
But if you don’t function better than a machine, maybe a machine will function better than you.
Then you can complain on the phone to someone about unemployment.