Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I know you mean well, but don’t – Advice gone wrong

Photo by P. Lynne Designs
(c) 2016 
I have been given much friendly advice, such as “look before crossing the street”, “Always say please and thank you”, and my personal favorite, “do not speak unless being spoken to” if there is an “A” and “B” conversation.  It has made things easier for me in life, and in the case of the “Do not speak unless being spoken to”, it has allowed me from being popped in the mouth on many occasions. 
The examples I have given you were given to me in my youth by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and assorted older adults, and I wish that today’s generation would take it to heart.  Often times, today’s generation tends to take on this, “I know more than you” or “You are behind the times, so get with it” attitude, until I have no words for it.
Advice, when given correctly, can be very helpful, but be very careful of the words that come out of your mouth, because advice, when given incorrectly, can also be very hurtful.
I am sure by now, if you are on social media, have seen the story of a Florida man. who went into a St. Augustine, Florida Starbucks to get coffee.   If you do not know, view the video here.   Basically put, he ordered a Grand White Mocha coffee.  This is my favorite go to coffee flavor at Starbucks.  I usually order a tall, white Chocolate Mocha with soy and very little whip.  It gives me the fix I need (chocolate, caffeine, love).  Anyway, when he received the coffee, the note on the receipt said, “Diabetics Here I Come”.  The man was not very happy with it at all.  He said that it reminded him of his two sisters, who had been suffering since the 2nd and 3rd grades.
He immediately returned it with a note saying, “My 2 sisters suffer from diabetics, not funny.”  Advice gone wrong. 
First off, the barista is there to do one job, and one job only; take orders, and serve the orders. They have gone beyond the basic customer service, and Starbucks did not hire them to be health consultants.  Even if they are studying to be a health practitioner (which I hope they are), it is not their job to be the health police at Starbucks.   Customers do not come in to be babysat on.  They come to relax in the moment.
Second, when you give advice like that, it comes off rude.  That barista may have been health conscious, but then I have to question the reason why they are working there in the first place when a health food store or restaurant would be more suited for them.  You do not know how a person will take the advice, nor what the situation is like in their life. 
Third, the customer could have taken this advice in one of two ways; he could have talked to the manager or to the barista serving the coffee, instead of writing the note.   Obviously, he notified the news after he wrote the note, or Starbucks headquarters would not have commented on the story in the first place.  Sometimes, the media is not the best place to air disagreements.  One thing to note:  The customer could have also thanked the barista for the reminder, and gone about his day.  There are more ways of solving this then using the note method.  Some good and some bad.
Overall, the advice I would give this barista:  Don’t.  Starbucks is not made for that kind of conversation.  You can talk when you get home, about the guy who was one step away from a diabetic coma with your friends and co-workers.  Come in tomorrow with your head held high, and ready to take in the next customer, who in your eyes, is one step away from a diabetic coma, or quit, and work for a health food store or restaurant.  Let customers worry about their own health.  That is what they pay doctors, nurses, and other health people for.  You never know, the customer you sold that coffee to may come in every 6 months for a treat, and that day was your lucky day. 

This is a lesson all of us could use.  I love this line from Disney’s Bambi: “If you cannot say nothing nice, don’t say it at all.”  May I add, “That includes giving advice.” 

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