Tag Archives: Southern hospitality

Bless your heart

A friend in the education biz recently developed a course on customer service for his company.

I provided some general communication tips, but realized today that I didn’t mention a personal perspective that I have gained from years on the phone with customer service representatives:

southern accentIf the customer service representative speaks with a Southern accent, I:

a) believe they want to help me;

b) have found that they do help me; and

c) am in a better mood when I hang up because they are friendly — regardless of how I felt when started the call.

Now, I tend to believe that the people on the call on true Southerners. You can’t fake that hospitality…

Or can you?

It’s something the companies who depend on customer service — and, really, what company these days doesn’t — need to consider.  We can teach people how to lose an accent…

Why not teach customer service folks to have one?

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Silent messages from cheese central

I flew to Atlanta today.

After check-in at the hotel, I grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant.  It had an extensive menu, but suddenly, I knew what I had to have —

Grilled cheese

When the waiter came back to the table, I pulled out my negotiation skills to get the sandwich, which oddly was not on the menu.  The nice man not only delivered a yummy grilled cheese — with fries — but gave it to me on the cheap.

Ya gotta love Southern hospitality.

Now, grilled cheese is my favorite sandwich, but I wondered why I had such a strong taste for it.  I later discovered that today is…

grilled_cheese_1

It’s like I heard the call of the curd…without even being aware of it.

We have that kind of relationship, cheese and I.

Great expectations

Isn’t it funny that New York City seems quiet and calm after three days and nights in New Orleans?

Perhaps it’s because one of those nights was Halloween.  And the other nights were filled with World Series games and Monday Night football crowds…so the city always seemed a bit manic and overly juiced up.

But, really, that’s what you expect from New Orleans.

Rich food, too much drink, and gaudy dress served up with Southern charm and hospitality, so it always seem just right.

But one thing I did not expect turned out to be my favorite memory of the trip.

On Monday night, my friends Kathy, Judy and I went to Court of Two Sisters for dinner.  It is very much a New Orleans tradition — a restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, boasting primarily outdoor seating in a courtyard under trees filled with white, twinkly lights.

It’s lovely and atmospheric and the deep South at its best.

We had reservations, so we were quickly seated between a large fountain and a side garden.  I immediately started snapping photos.  I had been there years before, and it was just as I remembered it.

Before we could even crack open our menus, there was a rustle in the greenery next to our table.  Two huge rats — we are talking the size of black cats — scurried through the side garden by our feet.

Judy screamed like the woman she is.  I jumped up, almost upsetting the wrought-iron table.  Karen just looked at us like we were crazy because she didn’t see the varmints.

Our waiter stopped over to see what all the fuss was about.  I — much too loudly — exclaimed, “There are rats in the bushes!  Rats?  Does that usually happen?”

He was smart enough not to answer that question and simply said, “You’ll have to speak to the manager.  Shall I move you to a table at the center of the restaurant?”

And the funniest part of the story is, he did.  We were re-seated.  We ate there anyway.  Because…it’s the city.  It’s an outdoor restaurant.  And it’s probably not that surprising that a critter or two strolls by now and then.

But…I ate veggie that night.

Coincidence?  I think not.