10.24.2014

Friendly Philadelphians


http://media.philly.com/images/600*450/I-120519522.jpgMy first week in Philly as a college freshman, I remember stopping at the corner Wawa for a hoagie.  The person who took my order could not have been more disinterested in my food purchase.  Somehow, the order made its way to the back counter, the sandwich got made and wrapped, and then it sat there just feet from me.  I tried in vain to get my order-taker to transport my food from the back counter to me, and when I finally flagged them down they expressed so much disgust at being interrupted that I actually got embarrassed at their public harrumphing instead of being enraged at their lack of care.

Customer service was so scarce in the Philadelphia of my college days that I still recall picking up a movie from Blockbuster in California when I was visiting my parents over the holidays, and when I got home I noticed it was the wrong movie in the box, so I drove back to the store in a huff, ready to do battle with the whole staff if I needed to.  Only I got three words into my tirade and the person apologized profusely, leapt into action, recruited a fellow staff person to assist in getting me the right movie, and then apologized some more.  And here I was all wound up for a real fight.

Fast forward to the present, and the times they have a-changed.  Earlier this month my family stayed at a hotel downtown, and every single staff person there was absurdly friendly.  They were funny, cheerful, eager to serve, and genuinely engaged in making our experience top-notch.  I even got a great vibe from the cabbie who drove us home.

A lot has changed between the Philadelphia of my college days and today's Philadelphia.  For your own proof, hail a cab or stay in a hotel.  Or go back to that corner Wawa I went to way back when; I'll bet you they take food orders in a much more pleasant manner now.
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