The old man was dressed kind of scruffy. His shoes were worn-down and heavily stained with grass. He came into the hardware store and ambled around for 10 minutes before the clerk helping me noticed no one else was helping him. He excused himself and said, “Sir, I’ll be right with you as soon as I finish helping this gentleman.” Once he directed me to the right bins and I assured him I could find what I needed he headed over to the other gentleman. As they stood there talking a few feet away, I gathered that all the man needed was an odd and apparently difficult to find, bolt and nut. He only needed a few of them and later at the checkout counter I saw his purchase, like mine, cost less than a few dollars. Yet the clerk spent a solid 10 to 20 minutes or more with both of us, ensuring that I understood how to find the right bins and parts, and that the other gentleman had the right bolts and nuts for his project as well.
Either of us could have been an eccentric millionaire, or the company CEO, or just a couple of old codgers pursuing odd jobs around the house. He didn’t know and he didn’t particularly seem to care. What mattered is that he was helpful, and that he did his job as enthusiastically and helpfully as if he were selling solid gold widgets to a billionaire. What I do know is that the attitude, demeanor and helpfulness of the clerk reflected the slogan on the sign on the door, “No job too large or too small.”
We forget that “how we practice is how we play.” I have no doubt that if that gentleman, or another, walked into that hardware store and spoke with that clerk about a thousand dollar tool he’d get the same help and care as either of the $1.47 and change guys he’d just served. I don’t know if this clerk had all he needed to be a great salesman, but he sure had all he needed to give every customer his full attention. The moral of this story is that it’s not the size of the job that determines the attention you give it. It’s the fact it is a job.
“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs.” ~ Dale Carnegie