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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010


As a coffee drinker, and as someone who does a fair bit of distance driving, I have been known to go through the drive-through of various coffee establishments from time to time. This has happened often enough that, some time ago, I began to notice a difference between them. In particular, I noticed that going through the drive-through at Starbucks was a more enjoyable experience than almost anywhere else. It has little to do with the coffee, or with the higher price I have to pay, but it has everything to do with the attitude of the person who takes my order.

Starbucks: “Welcome to Starbucks; how is your day going today?”
Me: (Surprised): “Well, it's going fine, thank you, how about yours?”
Starbucks: “Its going pretty well, thanks for asking. What can I get started for you today?”

I recently read an interesting little book with the intriguing title, How Starbucks Saved My Life. The author, Michael Gill, describes the transformation of his life and world after he was downsized from his high priced executive position with a major advertising firm. In his former life, Gill was used to hiring and firing people almost at will. It was the corporate culture he was taught and never questioned. As a boss, one simply told people what they would do; one did not ask. One did not make eye contact or get to know employees personally; it was not seen as “good for business.” One certainly did not offer employees praise for a job well done, or even express much appreciation, since you might have to fire them next month, and praise could be used as evidence in a possible lawsuit.

After being dismissed in his early 60s, and desperate for a job, Gill was finally hired by a Starbucks store in New York City. Here he learned to work with and serve people he would formerly have hardly deigned to notice. Along the way, Gill learned about respect, for according to the author, respect is one of the prime values of the Starbucks culture. This new approach to business was totally foreign to Gill and took some getting used to. He was amazed that his new boss did not order him to do things, but would politely ask if would do some job, as if he would be doing her a big favour!

Gill eventually began to realize that the Starbucks culture was built on respect; respect for your fellow employees and respect for the customers or “guests.” He learned to listen carefully to people, to look them in the eye, and to make conversation. He learned their names. He got to know that this regular guest was undergoing treatment for cancer, and that that one always ordered decaf because she was pregnant. In the process, this former high-priced executive transformed his life from an arrogant, insensitive snob, to a caring, thoughtful and loving individual. Not only was he surprised by his new, respectful world, but he eventually discovered that, for the first time in his working career he was really happy!

As you go throughout your day today, try paying attention to who you encounter, and how they make you feel. What is it that makes the difference? Is it a smile, perhaps?

And even more important, why not pay attention to your own attitude, and see how you can affect someone else’s life for the better. You may be glad you did!

Posted by Carman


  1. I thought about a fun "Word of Wisdom" comment, but decided to leave it alone. Have a nice day! ;)

  2. Very respectful, thanks Chicken. Have a wonderful day yourself!

  3. This post made me thing of this video. If you haven't seen it have a look. It's kind of the reverse of what you're talking about, but makes some relevant points.

  4. Thank you Robert. It was fun to watch this again. And sad to say, its still true!


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