How To Turn Strangers Into Members Of Our Community

August 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

I just saw the below video on CNNMONEY.com.  It talks about a small pharmacy in New York which still thrives even though a Walgreen has moved next door.  The owner who is also the pharmacist attributes his success to customer care and his true interest in being personal and helping others.

In this age of pre-recorded messages, employees hiding behind corporations and greed, we are all starved for simple courteous daily connections.    I’m not referring to relationships with friends and family, but am discussing brief relationships we have with almost total strangers.

Think about how many people in our every-day life we come in contact with; banker, mailman, police officer, manicurist, receptionist, the list is certainly long.  But how many of these experiences are either cold or upsetting?  How many of these exchanges actually take away from us instead of adding?

I remember a few days after my husband passed away when his phone (we had separate lines) rang at 8am and thinking it was a friend of his, I answered.  It was a woman who identified herself as being from the accounting department of my husband’s hospital.  She told me Chris Rubin owed $186.  I started to respond by telling her, Chris Rubin had passed away only a few days back but without missing a beat the woman continued on by saying  I had to pay the outstanding bill immediately or she would have to send it to collection.  I again stopped her and said she had to say “I’m sorry for your loss” before we could continue our conversation.  Completely void of emotions she repeated the phrase I had asked her to say.  I told her I didn’t believe her and asked her for a moment to put herself in my shoes and try to imagine how I was feeling.  I gave her a few moments and before hanging up I added that working for a hospital she would probably run into the same situation again and remembering she was dealing with people would help her make the decision to be personable and compassionate.

I’m not suggesting we need to suffer other people’s pains or laugh other people’s laughter.  I’m only suggesting we should always remember the people we come in contact with – even if for a brief moment – have a history of their own.

If we treat each other with respect we will all feel part of community instead of lonely strangers bumping into each other.

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