I have to admit that my excitement over the smile campaign from yesterday not only showed in my post but was still with me throughout the day today. It is becoming increasingly significant to me that we return the “magic” to the retail shopping experience. It has faded from many of the employees as well as the customers which I have taken note of frequently during Campaign Smile. Yesterday, I saw 3 different retail workers in 3 separate stores demonstrate great attitudes and approaches to the people who potentially pay their wages. So I decided to change my approach a little…
1. During my campaign stop on Day 34, the first individual I encountered was an employee who responded to my smile with a nod. A positive indication of improved emotional status I decided. I believe our exchange helped him to go on and make the shopping experience a little better for his fellow employees and/or customers.
2. I passed a middle-aged woman shortly after that. She managed to pull off a half-smile in exchange for mine. As they say, everything is relative. I have no reason how low her mood was before I smiled at her so that partial smile might have been an amazing increase for her current state. At least that is the way I choose to see it.
3. The woman had barely passed me when an older gentleman rounded a corner and came face to face with me. Our faces were literally a matter of inches apart. Perhaps it was the surprise of the near collision but his expression remained locked in a stare as he took in my smiling expression.
4. Another employee looked up from his work as I walked by with my bright smile in place and smiled back at me as I met his gaze. He cheerfully asked whether I needed assistance and seemed genuinely interested in helping me.
5. As I was heading for the exit a young lady, her man in tow, rushed by me. She glanced to the side, found my smile and I watched one of her own find her lips as she rushed forward away from me.
6. When I approached my car in the parking lot I saw an older woman pulling in beside me with her driver’s side door next to mine. I stood patiently smiling as she got out of the car, rolled up the window and locked the door. She seemed to be dealing with some physical challenges that inhibited her movement and I was in no hurry. When she had finished and stepped from between the cars I took a few steps past her to position myself between the cars. As we passed she thanked me for waiting. I accepted and wished her a good day.
I mentioned a change in my view of the campaign earlier. I am specifically referring to the interactions with those working in the retail locations where I often campaign. My original thought was that, since they should be smiling at customers, I should not focus on them or count their smiles. As the campaign has progressed I have taken more note of those interactions. More importantly, though, I have been searching for ways to make an impact on the shopping experience, hoping to find opportunities for consultation or speaking to leaders. My experiences yesterday made me realize that I can effect a greater change at this level by paying more attention to improving the moods of the employees so they can pass it on to countless shoppers. I still plan to try to make other shoppers smile but I can see how limited their effect will be on the experience as a whole compared to the employees. 3 more smiles brings me to 87 total.