"And Your Name Is"
Mike Walton ("settummanque,)
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 23:19:50 -0600
(From "Patches and Pins" (or "The Quest for the Silver Beaver...."),
by Mike Walton (c) 1988)
"And Your Name Is?"
Everyone in the service industry has a nametag. They proudly announce their
names to you as you make your way to the bullhorn speaker to place your
order. They present their names to you as you get ready to repeat from
short-term memory your resturant order, wondering if "you want fries or a
baked potato with that".
Whatever it is.
It's "good customer service", I was told when I started work at J.C.
Penney's in the mall in Augusta. "We want our customers to know you as a
person, which builds a rapport and increases walk-in sales. If they know
Mike in Electronics, and have worked with Mike and Mike has treated him
well, guess whom they are going to return to?"
"Greg in Electronics", I teased. Little did I know I was right, but *not
during this instructional period*. "No, they'll come back to you, Mike".
So, how come your spouse gets upset when you respond with their names? You
"Thanks, Melanie. May I also have another mug of coffee, please?"
"No Joe; What I would like to have is an apple turnover, a large coffee and
the USA Today instead".
"Sorry Diane, we already have long-distance service and we're quite pleased
with it....thanks for calling, though....bye"
Mildred would go ballistic. "You don't KNOW these people...why do you talk
to them like you're their best friends?"
"Because," I would answer, "it shows that I care about who serves me."
"No," she smartly would tell me, "It just shows that you're really good
about reading names off of nametags and flirting with young waitresses!"
I thought about that for a minute...more like 20 seconds...and then I replied
"But we get GREAT customer service, don't we?" She just rolls her eyes.
I first noticed nametags while living on several military installations in
my youth. Everyone had a nametag, and as my mother and father both
insisted, "Everyone has a name....and that's what you are to address them
as". I wasn't allowed to address my Scouting leaders as "Bill", or
"Robert", or "Carol". It was "Colonel Wayne", "Mr. Roberts", and "Mrs.
Zuniga". I did when my parents weren't around, but that's another story.
No, that's part of this one. As far as Scouting was concerned, I called
people whatever they chose to want to be called and when confronted by my
parents, I would simply inform them "But she *asked me* to call her that."
That was that...my parents were hard-pressed to argue that "I don't
care...you're still going to call her the RIGHT WAY" when Carol is saying,
"Ann, don't worry about it....I don't have a problem with Mike calling me
Carol or my husband Pete".
But when it came to other stuff, everyone had a name and I was expected to
use it...because it's polite, because it shows respect, because it's
courtesy. Actually, everyone has a "prefix"....Mr. So-and-so; Ms. Somebody;
Mrs. Someother. My parents were big on this. Yours probably
were as well.
My name has always been "Mike" to other Scouters. And to Scouts. No
"Captain Walton", no "Mr. Walton" (that's my dad, by the way). My kids
call me "Dad" but they know that my name is Mike. To my college students,
I'm Mike. To those that I work with and the customers at the Penney's
store, I'm Mike...or in those few cases whereby there's more than one
"Mike", "Mike Walton". It's hard to forget my name....Mike, like in Mike
Wallace; Walton like in "John-Boy" or "Mary-Ellen" or my favorite,
The Waltons. TV show about a country family living in the mountains of
Virginia. Book by Earl Hamner. Movie version featuring "Clay-Boy" instead
of "John-Boy". Nevermind....
In Scouting, we seldom use our last names except to introduce each other
formally. It's "Greasy", "Sky", "Ken", "Bob", "Steve", "Carol", "Penny", or
"Mike", informally. We Scouters also live for nicknames for our fellow
Scouters and friends. We don't just call a physician that serves as a
Commissioner "Dr. Morton", we also invent something about him or her...his
Wood Badge patrol name, a special hat that he or she wears, the way that
they sing or well, anything about them that we would remember him or her by.
In my younger CB radio days, we would call it a "handle". Nothing obscene,
nothing belittling the person...but something special about that person that
when you saw him you would greet him with "Hey Dr. Digger! How's the medical
clinic business, sir?" (Yeah, he may be "Dr. Digger" to me, but he's also
Lieutenant Colonel Morton as well, and deserves that "additional sir"!)
I was walking with a fellow officer down the sidewalk from the top of the
hill and main post on little, tiny Cooke Barracks back down to the 4/16th
motorpool, when I passed by "Greasy" and "Dr. Digger", introducing my
non-Scouter friend to them. "Captain Favati, Lieutenant Phil Jenkins.
Phil, Captain Favati is the Cubmaster of the Pack here on the post....she's
called "Greasy" because she loves the play "Grease". " They shake hands,
and we perform a little small talk before we salute and move on down the
sidewalk, passing Dr. Digger as he was exiting the front door of the medical
"You know a lot of senior officers, Mike", Phil told me as we walked onward,
completing our conversations and saluting the senior medical officer of the
Infantry Division Forward. "And you know them personally."
"No I don't. Never been to Greasy's home nor to Dr. Digger's. And I only
get to see them maybe once or twice a month. But I know of them and they
know of me....and that's all that matters."
"So, all these people you know from Scouts. What good is knowing them..." I
stopped and smiled as I recapped to my fellow junior officer the fine art of
"good customer service".
"Remember when I had to take off to go and do that summer camp thing last
summer? Who did you think did all of those camp physicals and had them
processed and done in TWO DAYS? Dr. Digger did. And how did you think I
got there?? CPT Favati runs the Transportation Motor Pool.
And if you didn't catch the last name....her husband is MY BOSS."
"And not just Scouting stuff, either....lookie" (I used that word --
"lookie" -- a lot when I was younger) "When I need an extra installation
kit, I would call up to DMMC and get ahold of "Sky" Raines...he's got at
least 20 or so excess kits hangin' around! When I want to know when's the
next time we're going out to the field, I call over at Operations and talk
with "Penny". He knows that I have to work the Scout stuff around the Army
stuff, so he helps me out....and I'm able to give my NCO a 'head's up' when
I picked up a rock and skipped it on the sidewalk as I concluded, "Part of
what I've learned in Scouting is "how to use my resources". Do it all of
the time when I'm working in the motorpool. I get to know the people I work
with and they get to know me. We work off each other, not really doing
favors...just stuff that has to be done. That's one of those things," I
replied, finding a rock. I looked at it before I skipped it four times over
the pool of stagnant water at one edge of the flooded parking lot, the
reason why we were using the sidewalk instead of walking in the roadway.
"That's one of those things I've learned from Scouts."
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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