Common courtesy not so common

It’s not too often I’m approached by a reader to write on a particular topic. True, I have sought material from friends, specifically around the holidays because I do run out of ideas for what the perfect Christmas present is or what you should give your significant other on Valentine’s Day. This request was on courtesy toward your employer. I asked for an explanation of what she meant by this and then it made sense to me. What she was talking about was that employees should respect their customer’s space; specifically parking spaces.

I don’t know about you but if I drive up to a restaurant and it is surrounded by cars I may just keep on driving because hey, I’m hungry, and they are busy. What if all of those cars were the cars of the employees? I may cut them a break if it’s January and it’s below zero, (the customer flow may be low that day anyway), but if it’s July the employees should park as far away as they reasonably can so that the customer can park closer to the door than the employees. Other employee courtesies that I’ve seen go neglected over the years are numerous.

The first one would be to wear a clean uniform/shirt to work. Okay not everyone is like me and has a slight issue with food. For instance I’m not fond of eating in a dimly lit restaurant; it’s not romantic. It’s a way to hide in my food and surprise me. For me a server with a dirty shirt suggests to me that they don’t wash their hands too; and there they are handling the food. When I worked in restaurant management “back in the day,” if an employee came in with a dirty uniform on, they were sent home. The exceptions were the cook and dishwasher; they got dirty fast or wore an apron over their clothing. I’ve been there, work a closing shift and have to open the next day where I had to wash and dry the shirt at midnight so by nine in the morning it was clean; but I did mention I was in management; courtesy to your employer goes a long way.

Since the change in the smoking laws in Michigan there are no longer smoking rooms for the smokers at businesses. A courtesy for employees who smoke is that they get smoke breaks. I often tried to balance it out by giving clean air breaks to my employees who didn’t smoke. The good thing with a clean air break is that a customer doesn’t walk through a cloud of smoke; the smokers need to get as far away from the business’s entrance within reason.

I wasn’t always management. I worked in the kitchen, did dishes, you name it, I did it. It’s loud in the kitchen with the exhaust fan blowing, cookers and ovens blasting away. Sadly, it’s not loud enough to cover profanities being yelled back and forth. My last courtesy for employers is to not swear on the job; or at a minimum at least don’t do it when there are customers present. As the customer, if these courtesies are met then it is our responsibility as the customer to tip. 20 percent is a good standard. The math is easier and let’s face it – they deserve it for putting up with us. Other places to tip include where you get your hair cut and the most overlooked place to tip is your housekeeper. When you rent a room – whether it be at a hotel, motel, or B&B – it’s safe to say they aren’t making $15 an hour and we as humans are messy. Don’t make the beds, don’t feel you should fold up a used towel, just tip them, and anyone else who serves you in this life.

Editor’s note: Readers may contact Brian Foreman at