Now Showing at the Post Office

Now Showing at the Post Office

Standing in line at the Post Office I got to witness two versions of The Greeting Interaction.

1.) PO Person: “Good morning!”

Customer: (looking at papers and juggling a bag) “Yeahhowyadoin?”

The greeting part is now over- on to business. No smiling, no eye contact. Business is done quickly. There is no parting commentary.

2.) PO Person: “Good morning!”

Customer: (stops fiddling with papers; looks directly at the PO person, smiles) “Good morning. How are you?”

PO Person: (big smile) “I’m great, thanks. How’re you doing? Liking this cool September weather?”

Customer: “You bet. I hope you get out there for some of it!”

PO Person: “Sooner or later I will! So, what can we do for you today?”

On to business. Business is conducted quickly, quiet chatter continues throughout, and the customer leaves in a small flurry of smiles and little goodbye waves.

When my turn comes, I adopt the eye contact and smile approach, and the PO Person tells me how glad he is that I have come to do business with him. In fact, when I leave he says, “Next time, come early and leave late!”

I don’t know what to make of this, if anything. Clearly the smiley, chatty versions of The Greeting have cheered the PO Person, which is a good thing. Altho if this happiness trajectory continued, there might be some startled customers further down the line. And I’m sure there are those who would point out that the purpose of the interaction is to do business, and the chattiness not only might not contribute to the efficiency thereof, but might, in fact, slow it down such that potential customers have longer to wait. Which is not a good thing.

So I draw no conclusions from this morning’s entertainment. Other than how easy it is to make other people smile.

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