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About an inch

This is a story about an inch. Not any inch, but my inch.

Every day I go to Starbucks for my morning coffee. Nothing fancy; just coffee. Every morning I ask for a Venti and every morning the barista asks me if I would like room for cream and every morning I respond with “an inch.”

CoffeeThe point of the story is twofold: Their reaction to an inch and the resulting coffee.

Most of the time the barista looks at me with a question mark bubble behind their head. They literally look at me and compute what I said then move backwards to fulfill my demand. You see the barista, like most of us, are simply doing their job and going through their day. When someone responds with such an exact statement, it causes them to reflect and stop for a moment. Imagine this happening in your world.

If someone causes you to stop from your daily grind (no pun intended) and sparks a thought, it is a moment of brilliance. For most of us, the change is all we need to spark a new thought, idea, lead, program, client, prospect or whatever gets the mind going.

The second factor is the end result. It amazes me how an inch is different to everyone. I am not saying there should be marks in the cup to help the barista know when to stop at an inch or a half inch (not a bad idea!). The end result usually ranges from a quarter inch to two inches. So when this happens it causes me to reflect on what has transpired. Did they ignore my request, did they just fill the coffee however they wanted or was this really their idea of an inch? For this example let’s assume each of those scenarios:

• Ignore my way: They don’t care about me the customer and therefore don’t care about the job they are doing. Not caring is harmful to the whole environment. It creates ugliness so let’s assume they care and throw this thought off the table.

• Do it their way: Why even ask me if I want some room if they are going to fill it their way? Was it mandated in the barista handbook to ask? Did the recent MBA at headquarters send out a memo that stated by not filling it to the top they will save a gazillion dollars a year, that is now literally being poured down the drain! Whatever the reason they may have chosen to do it their way, the customer did not get what he or she wanted. I don’t think that makes sense, so let’s focus on perception.

• Perception of an inch: We each have a perception of an inch. It could start with a crude high school joke, it may be how you define your jeans size, but perception is reality.

The barista’s perception of an inch is what matters. Any variance from the actual causes me to step back and think. To my surprise, when I get an inch, it actually makes me happy. When I see less than an inch I think the person did not care. When I see more than an inch then I feel shorted. When I get an inch I feel that the person who served me cared enough to listen and give me what I wanted.

Life is simple. If you think, make others think, and try to give people what they want, you will make them happy and in turn make yourself happy. Give them an inch every time!

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