Service This!

To the patrons of Tim Hortons: I labour daily at a low-paying, insecure job to provide you with your daily fix, served with a smile. We're instructed by the drones at Head Office to make sure that our smiles are sincere, which is especially hard to do

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Published May 11, 2006.Service This!

To the patrons of Tim Hortons: I labour daily at a low-paying, insecure job to provide you with your daily fix, served with a smile. We're instructed by the drones at Head Office to make sure that our smiles are sincere, which is especially hard to do when dealing with customers whose position on the other side of the counter leads them to believe that they are somehow superior. I have had money thrown at me. I've encountered guests who managed to avoid making eye contact for the entire length of our exchange; treating me with the courtesy commonly reserved for a vending machine. Most galling of all: I have been snubbed in public by regular customers who, although they smiled kindly on me while I served them, treated me like an insect when we met each other just outside my store. The classist basis of this behaviour is obvious: Sobey's employees are friendly to me both in and outside my store while office workers will not condescend to mix with riff raff such as myself. With the job market the way it is in Nova Scotia, I am in good company. In my own case, I moved to this province confident that my work experience and university degrees would lead to a job. Pouring coffee isn't what I thought I'd be doing at this stage in my life but it's honest work and I'm treated well by my employers. Treating service workers with respect encourages us to respond in kind, with all sincerity.

Smiling through gritted teeth.

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