The People Business

"No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the people business."

There are things that people say to you that you remember for the rest of your life. Something about whatever it is whoever it was said resonates with you for some reason and you have one of those "aha" moments, only without Oprah or Gayle, or even the "aha." You just think to yourself, "Yeah, that makes a lot of sense."

I can’t tell you when I heard this little tidbit, or where I was, or who said it. But I remember it. It replays in my head a lot. I think back to all the different jobs I’ve had - from pumping gas in Yellowstone National Park to working as a special education teacher for severe/profound high school kids in San Antonio - and everything in between... And it always been true.

"No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the people business."

At W. D. Deli we’re definitely in the people business, and we love it. Having just spent a wonderful weekend with some sweet family members, we were reminded how important food and meals are to people. Think about it. Most of the time when you plan to get together with friends or family, those plans will center around Kendall’s homemade rolls or Aunt Mary’s Chicken Enchiladas. Even if it’s business - if you want people to show up for that meeting, you know you’ll have better attendance and more willing participants if there’s a big tray of cookies in the middle of the table.

Yeah, the people business. A guy we’ve known for a long time was in the deli the other day for lunch with a friend. They had a nice lunch and then went their separate ways. About an hour later, he came back alone. He said, "I wanted to come back and visit a little bit." He went on to say that he felt it was important the we understood how important W. D. Deli was to him. He spoke about how wonderful he thought it was - twenty years ago - that he could come enjoy lunch with his partner and his daughter and feel welcome and accepted. He concluded by saying, "You’re doing a lot more than serving lunch here. I just think you should know that."

There’s a sweet family in town that comes into the deli sometimes in the afternoons just for cake. If somebody in the family is celebrating a personal victory, or if somebody in the family has had a particularly crappy day, they’ll come by and have some cake. Don’t you love that? A big ol’ slab of chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting makes everything better. The mom confided to Mr. Beers one day, "I know we’re not supposed to teach children to find comfort in food, but sometimes you just need cake."

Whether you’re raising kids or sitting in a cubicle fielding phone calls, you are in the people business. And the logical extension of that might be that one’s people skills are going to have a very direct relationship to the amount of success one achieves in life. We are all in the people business. And business is good.


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