Hope and the next generation | Mark’s Remarks

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Not too long ago, I remember working retail and having customers complain about customer service and how “kids these days” operated.  

I remember getting aggravated at customers but being as polite as possible, yet I’m sure they could sense my lip biting.  

One lady kept me busy for a good half-hour checking on a certain kind of ballpoint pen she needed.  She was elderly with bad eyesight and told me she didn’t know what she was going to do if she couldn’t find that pen. I even got the manager involved and we never did find that pen.  She left disgruntled, telling us how salespeople used to bend over backwards for her.

I felt sorry for her and all, but I’m glad she left. I hope she found that pen.

It was my contention back then that we “young folk” were certainly capable of good customer service and shouldn’t be badmouthed by the older generation.

Now that I’m in that older generation, I’m starting to see I’m far worse than those folks were back in the day. Half the time, I want to grab some of these teenagers by the scruff of the neck and shake them until their heads rattle. And I don’t consider myself a violent person.

If you’ve read many of these diatribes, you will notice I write a lot about “these kids today” and how they aren’t being raised to have good manners or care about anyone but themselves. It isn’t all of them, of course. However, the overall majority of kids who work in the public arena need a couple of refresher courses on how to behave. Furthermore, they need capable adults watching over them.

You’re starting to repeat yourself, Tullis.

I have people a little younger than myself jumping to defend the younger generation, trying to say nice things. They point their fingers at me and tell me to lighten up.  

I know all of them will win in the end, so why put up a fight?

So, how’d you like to hear something good for a change? Yes, about the younger generation.

I know a family who has operated a full service gas station since the 1930s, raising generations who know how to treat others.  I’m not sure I’m supposed to mention names without charging an ad fee, but I’ll bet many of you will know the place I’m talking about.

It’s my understanding that this place was started by a young man back then, and now I think a fourth generation is running the place.  

The place is a throwback to the old days. They still pump your gas for you if you want. And they work on cars, too. They aren’t just a tire-and-gas place.

Michelle and I went up there with a nail in our tire one afternoon, only to have the young guy working there drop everything to help us. We were pleased to find out the nail had gone into the tire in “just the right place” and there was no puncture. The guy pulled out the nail and then proceeded to check all the other tires to make sure they had a proper amount of air.

No charge. We gave him a tip.

While he was working on our tires, he talked with excitement about working on cars and about how much he enjoyed the job. I talked to him about a problem I was having with my old pickup truck, and he was adamant that I bring it up for him to look at.

A few bucks and a couple of days later, I had a repaired truck.

These guys are young guys. They have been raised to know the value of customer service and a work ethic. They work hard, often staying open later to fit everyone in. 

I would imagine that most of their business comes from word-of-mouth, and rightly so. I haven’t heard negative comments. This place is the real deal.

So, I will put my curmudgeonly behavior away for awhile and tell you that there are still young people out there who know how to do things right. They’ve been raised right and there’s hope that they will pass this mentality on to their kids, too.

Whew.

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