‘We pay a lot of money but our service sector sucks’. How many times have you said this or at least felt so? Well, you are not alone. Let us look at our attitude towards service.

When a kid says ‘I am joining an airline (or call center or…any such service job) our first reaction is ‘Oh he/she is bad academically hence is joining this job’, right? Well, that sums up our attitude towards service.

The service sector in India does not attract the best. It attracts the left overs -those who could not become a doctor, engineer, CA….and therefore they are in this ‘job’. We feel this for ALL services – be that person be a teacher, nurse, policeman, – we have no respect at all for people in the service sector.

We do not like to pay doctors, investment advisers, counselors, etc. In fact the ONLY well paid teachers are employed in the government sector. If students were to determine the fees for professors most of our ‘respected’ institutions will pay NOTHING to their bad profs and pay a fortune to their good profs. I met a couple of engineering students who told me that they learn more from ‘YouTube’ and libraries than from their ‘reputed’ professors. In the US the prof will have to worry about the quality that he/she is delivering. In India, they have tenured jobs and indexed pensions. Well, most of them. Maybe they do nothing to earn the respect?

I think we should change the narrative at home. Make sure that you talk nicely to your child’s school teacher. She is the only person who can keep your child engaged for an hour, sitting in one place and not asking for an electronic play thing.

Talk nicely to the CRPF jawan body checking you at the airport. Just be polite. Make it a point to say hello, good morning, thank you. Is it too difficult?

Say thank you to the taxi driver, guy serving tea at the hotel, the guy who keeps water on your table….is it too difficult? Will you children not learn the good things from you?

When running a marathon thank the policeman who is on ‘duty’ to look after you. He is standing there from 3 am so that you and your friends can run at 6am. Is it too much to ask?

Say sorry, thank you, please…liberally. It’s free dammit.

We know the doctor who performed surgery on us for sure. Do we remember the nurse’s name? the anesthesia doctor? remember he/she managed your pain!! Of course one of them said “we have done a bad job if they remember us” – but I am sure she meant it in jest!

We need to respect our service providers – nurses, barbers, taxi drivers, servers, doctors, investment advisers, masseurs, physios, pilots, pursers, policemen, – of course they are doing their job. Of course, they are getting paid. Think hard – who are your favorite clients? those who thank or those who do not?

Yesterday I was in a SpiceJet flight from Hyderabad to Patna which got diverted to Kolkatta. I was impressed by the three men at Hyd airport who took all the abuse from the irate passengers. Cannot blame the passengers too – they had been waiting for 2 days – all the Patna flights were cancelled – I mean SpiceJet flights. I was even more impressed by the 4 girls in the flight who did not forget to smile and wish everybody. I am sure they were stressed to. Surprised that they did not breakdown at this continuous abuse by passengers.

Its a tough job out there guys, have a heart. Remember abusing them is increasing YOUR blood pressure too.

Happy new year. Lets learn to respect our service providers.

Only when we respect our service providers will we get a service industry of world standards. If you want American standards, behave politely too.

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  1. Thanks for reminding small but important things which enable us to positively change society around us. Its much better than just cribbing about problems.

  2. Pl add to the list, bai working at home,watchman, lift man,Dhobi, electrician, plumber, postman, courier guy, newspaper boy & last but not least our Refuse collector.
    Our “beloved’ Bill gates still takes out time to wash his own plates.
    Your article reminded me that “this” will be my new year resolution

  3. [Make sure that you talk nicely to your child’s school teacher. She is the only person who can keep your child engaged for an hour, sitting in one place and not asking for an electronic play thing /]
    Forget kids, even me adult cannot find a non electronic stuff to keep self engaged. Yes, it’s a wonder how teacher’s manage in school.

  4. “Talk nicely to the CRPF jawan body checking you at the airport. Just be polite. Make it a point to say hello, good morning, thank you. Is it too difficult?”

    Really? everytime I pass through security check anywhere in India, I’m treated with disrespect by the CRPF guys. Even when I smiled, cooperated them nicely, I get pushed by my shoulder, by these guys. I believe respect should be mutual.

  5. Well said Subra 🙂

    For long time we have been taught (by actions) to look down upon people performing some of the duties you mentioned and we loose value for these people or we simply ignore it.

    Having seen bit of world – I see it as a stark difference when you go outside India; even a sweeper is treated with respect.

    Fortunately coming from a lower middle class family – we were taught to respect everyone; that’s the only thing I would like to pass it onto next generation.

  6. As being A hotelier worked in 5 star properties , i have seen such guests who treat other employees as they owned the hotel this mindset need to change ,

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