Word-Of-the-Week #991: Hospitality

August 3, 2023 by  

Hospitalitykindness in welcoming strangers or guests.

Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, featured this in his weekly journal.

#22: Small Gestures, Big Payback

[by Rick Phillips, taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Martin Rutte, Maida Rogerson & Tim Clauss]

I do a lot of management training each year for a national chain of convenience stores. Among the topics we address in our seminars is the retention of quality employees — a real challenge to managers when you consider the pay scale in the service industry. 

During these discussions, I ask the participants, “What has caused you to stay long enough to become a manager?” Some time back a new manager took the question and slowly, with her voice almost breaking, said, “It was a $19 baseball glove.” 

Cynthia told the group she originally took a Circle K clerk job as an interim position while she looked for something better. On her second or third day behind the counter, she received a phone call from her nine-year old son, Jessie. 

He needed a baseball glove for Little League. She explained money was very tight for a single mother and her first check would have to go toward paying bills. Perhaps she could buy his baseball glove with her second or third check. 

When Cynthia arrived for work the next morning, Patricia, the store manager, asked her to come to the small office in back of the store. Cynthia wondered if she had done something wrong or left some part of her job incomplete from the day before. She was concerned and confused. 

Patricia handed her a box. “I overheard you talking to your son yesterday,” she said, “and I know it’s often hard to explain things to kids. This is a baseball glove for Jessie because he may not understand how important he is to you, even though you have to pay bills before you can buy gloves.” 

“You know we can’t pay good people like you as much as we’d like to, but we do care, and I want you to know you are important to us.” 

The thoughtfulness, empathy and love shown by this convenience store manager demonstrates vividly why people remember more how much an employer cares than how much the employer pays. An important lesson for the price of a Little League baseball glove.

 A Note From the Doc:

Hospitality is about how you are in the world. It’s not limited to the way you deal with patrons nor is it an exclusive quality of restaurateurs and innkeepers.

This week is all about hospitality. How are you seen in your world? Would your friends, family, customers or clients say that you welcome people with kindness?

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