Maybe it’s because I’m from the Midwest, but I’ve always found customer service in NYC to be lacking. People aren’t generally hostile, but you get the impression that they don’t want to be there and wish you weren’t, either. In particular, I’ve noticed that New York cashiers in delis and drug stores don’t say thank you – I say it to them, and then they tell me, “No problem.” It’s sort of lame, but I don’t dwell on it.
So my experience today at the 52nd and 3rd location of Potbelly really stood out.
A friend and I were grabbing lunch, but we didn’t have a lot of time. I wanted a Wreck Salad, but they were out. One employee offered to make me one right there, but said it might take up to 10 minutes. We didn’t have that kind of time, so I just said no thank you and joined my friend who was waiting for his sandwich to be toasted. He asked me why I didn’t have my salad and another employee heard me tell him they were out.
“Would you like me to make one for you?” she asked.
“No, thank you. Your colleague already offered, but she said it could take a while,” I replied.
“I will make you one right now and you will have it in only a few minutes,” the woman told me. Wow, really?
So she made the salad for me while I watched, and she was indeed done in only a few minutes. (It was, by the way, really good. Will order it again.)
Everyone we encountered there – from the woman who took the sandwich order to the one who made my salad and the cashier who served us – was so pleasant. They really seemed to be enjoying their work. How rare is this anywhere in the world?
That this is an occasion worthy of a blog post might seem odd – even if you live in NYC and are used to bad/indifferent service. (One gets used to it really quickly.) But I think it’s just as important to offer public thanks as it is to put out public criticism. So thanks, Potbelly. I’m not surprised you’re from the Midwest.