Guest Blogger: Sarah Posthuma
I am a junior at Pella Christian High School, and for the first two weeks in January I will be interning with Kathleen Evenhouse through the school’s Winterim program. Winterim internships provide students with the opportunity to explore different career fields. I am interested in a career in either writing, or psychology. Because of Kathie’s extensive experience in writing and marketing, I am confident that I will be able to reap much knowledge from her. This experience will hopefully give me a deeper insight into what God wants for my future.
These blogs posted through my internship will be from the setting of a coffee shop in Pella and are for the purpose of developing my creative skills.
“Welcome to Smokey Row, what can I do for you today?”
A female customer shoots me a smile from across the counter, revealing purplish lipstick peeking between her teeth. “A large mocha latte, please.” The woman behind her orders the same exact thing, but it takes her twice as long. She taps her fake nails on her cell phone, oblivious to her squealing child who tugs on her sleeve incessantly. By the time she looks up from the screen and spits her order at me, every customer behind her is scowling
Working as a barista in Pella, Iowa’s most frequented coffee shop, I have encountered multitudes of people. I utter always a routine phrase such as “How can I help you,” or “What would you like today.” In contrast, the responses I receive never fail to be diverse. Some customers are polite; interested. They inquire how I am doing and even instigate polite small talk. Others are are cold and concise, never bothering to look me in the eye. The median of the multitudes of people I encounter fall someplace in the middle; polite yet distant.
I believe that body language is a window into how an individual is feeling or how comfortable they are when dealing with other adults. When Saturday morning rolls around and I’m braced for my eight-hour post at the register, I expect to encounter a variety of customer attitudes. Each one is broadcasted by body language and speech. It is my great pleasure to decipher the connection.
- Many customers begin our exchange with a broad smile. They indulge in small talk and proceed with their order. They are cheerful and not in a rush.
- When someone enters the store with shoulders sunken, speaks softly and slowly, I suspect sadness or fatigue.
- Patrons who tap their fingers on the counter and are palpably distracted when stating their order are quite possibly stressed or running late.
- The customers who order a drink loaded with excess caffeine and explain profusely how tired they are, suffer from what I like to call the “before-drinking-my-coffee syndrome.”
One of my favorite parts of working at Smokey Row is meeting new people—they never fail to be enjoyable or interesting. I have decided that no matter what my day is like or what may be happening in my life, I aspire to be kind to everyone.
Here’s my challenge for you today: Whether you are behind the counter or making a purchase at the mall, politeness is always the way to go. You never know, you could make someone’s day with a simple smile!