A friend suggested this book to me:

Actually, what she said was maybe we should read this. Since my friend is a thoughtful, intelligent person, I went directly to iBooks and bought it, downloaded it, and started reading. And I haven't gotten very far, but I think it's safe to say that I will enjoy the book, learn from the book, and recommend the book. It turns out that it's not about manners (i.e., etiquette) as much as it is about how we all need to be nice to each other. Check it out if you get a chance. And be nice to people.

There's this. This Polish proverb has been floating around cyberspace, and some of my friends have claimed it as their personal mantra. Here's another thing that came across one of my screens this week. Someone wrote a negative review of a local restaurant on a website. The negative review had more to do with the way the restaurant is/was run than it had to do with the food or the decor or any of those things. The reviewer was frustrated, feeling that her party was not served or treated with anything resembling adequate customer service. The restaurant owner followed up the review with a rebuttal of sorts, saying mostly that it would be fine with them if this customer did not ever come back to their establishment. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you this: This is not my circus and these are not my monkeys. But I will say this. It's the food service industry. It's the hospitality industry. It. Just. Is.

Then there's the cake story. It's July. It's hot in Texas. It was about 100 degrees yesterday when a sweet lady ordered one of our triple chocolate cakes for a birthday celebration. I wrote "Happy Birthday Steven" on it for her and put it in our walk-in cooler. She picked up the cake a couple of hours later, and asked if it needed to be kept in a refrigerator or cooler. "It's a good idea to keep it cold. We keep them in the cooler," she was told. "Well," she replied, "I have a couple of errands to run before I go home, but it should be alright, don't you think?" "We keep them in the cooler," she was told again. Long story short, today she came in with a photo of the melted cake, asking for a refund, very upset. I wanted to tell her, "At some point, my dear, we have to be responsible for ourselves. And our cake." But I didn't. I apologized to her and tried to empathize, trying to picture her opening the cake box at dessert time and being so disappointed to see --- "Well, I've never seen a cake do that" was the only way she could describe it. I refunded her money. See, this is my circus, and that is my monkey.

It probably helped me that I had just been reading that book about manners. (Thanks, Suzanne.) I'd like to think that when confronted with situations like that one - the melted cake lady - that I take a second to consider my choices of how I can respond. I'd like to think that I consider the possible outcomes and try to land on the one that will provide the most satisfaction to all parties involved. Sometimes I can handle the situation adequately, and sometimes I may fall a little short. There's always room for improvement. In the meantime, kids, I'll try to be nice. And, hey, don't leave your cake in the car when it's blazing hot outside and you're running errands. Remember what happened to that sweet Donna Summer when she left that cake out in the rain. She could never find that recipe again.


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