Recently I have had to travel across the country, and I like to rent a car from the rental company I’ve been doing business with for years. I went to the desk to pick up the keys to the car. No big deal, right? Except that the person behind the desk acted like I was imposing on her and interrupting her very busy day (I was the only customer at that time).

My car was not ready. (We had made reservations six weeks ahead of time.) Another customer came up. Their car was not ready. And another customer…guess what? Yep, you guessed it. We were all patiently waiting, quietly, but annoyed. When I politely asked (after waiting 20 minutes) when a car would be ready, the clerk basically threw a tantrum. No kidding.

She was embarrassing in the way she was fussing at us the customers, and blaming everyone else. I don’t know who was at “fault”; it doesn’t matter. But the reaction of the clerk was beyond the pale.

We finally got a car. I politely told the young lady that I hoped she would have a better day and left for my trip.

On the trip we walked into our favorite fast food place. There we were greeted cheerfully with “how may I serve you?” They would say “my pleasure” after I gave them the order. On those rare occasions when they got the order wrong…they would immediately and happily…with a smile!…correct the order.

No matter how busy it gets at this place (and it’s crowded every day there), they don’t show any irritation or frustration. I always get my chicken sandwich and lemonade served with a smile.

What’s the difference? The basic underlying difference is attitude. In one place the customer is assumed and taken for granted. In the other place the customer is appreciated and valued.

Whether we are selling sandwiches or SUVs, value every person who comes into your life.

You’ll be a lot happier.