Friday, 12 July 2013

What did you say - the case of the poor listener and the cafe patron.

THE SCENE: Ordering lunch at a cafe today.

Customer (me) walks in to cafe and looks in the cabinet with all the rolls and sandwiches waiting to be selected.  Customer sees the delicious Reuben sandwich on sourdough and waits to be served.

Five staff stare from behind the counter.

STAFF MEMBER:      Oh hi.  Did you want something?

ME:                               Well yes.  Do you toast those?

(points to delicious Reuben sandwich on sourdough)

STAFF MEMBER:       We can, but personally I think they're better fresh.

ME:                               Great.  I'll take your expert advice.  I'll have that here with a cafe latte please.

STAFF MEMBER:       So we have a lunchbox special...for $15 you can have the sandwich, a coffee and a piece of cake or slice.

ME:                              No thanks.

STAFF MEMBER:     It's a good deal - are you sure?

ME:                               I don't eat sugar.

STAFF MEMBER:    No one "needs" sugar.

(Blank look from customer)

STAFF MEMBER:  Didn't you say you don't need sugar?

ME:                          No.  I said I don't eat it.

STAFF MEMBER:  Oh, wow.  (Pauses)  So is that to take away?

ME:                          No, I'll have it here please.

STAFF MEMBER:  And did you want a coffee with that?

ME:                          Yes please - cafe latte.

STAFF MEMBER:  That will be twelve dollars please.

(Customer hands EFTPOS card over)

ME:                          That's on savings thanks.

STAFF MEMBER:   And what account is that on?

ME:                          Savings.

STAFF MEMBER:  Would you like your receipt?

ME:                          Yes please.

STAFF MEMBER:  Would you like your receipt?

ME:                          You just asked me that.

STAFF MEMBER:  Did I?   (pauses) What did you say?

ME:                          Yes please.

As I took my place at a table, I wondered whether I would receive my food and if food did indeed arrive, what kind of food would it be? Would it be in a takeaway bag or on a plate?

A classic case of poor listening.  

The food arrived and it was nice.  The coffee was great too.  Now, just need to sharpen up the communication skills.

How well do you listen?  Do you go onto autopilot?

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