Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Thank You SO Much!"


In general, I don't think we say 'thank you' enough to each other.  And 'in general,' I mean on both sides of the pond.  And by "to each other" I mean complete strangers (ok, not complete strangers, but say, someone who gave you great service at a store or restaurant).  But we Americans tend to be quite embarrasingly effusive in giving thanks (when we do) and/or letting someone know we appreciate them.  It's not that people in Britain are not as grateful in receiving random acts of kindness as Americans, they're just not as OTT about it.  For example, I'm pretty sure when I was working those boring summer jobs in a department store that shall remain unnamed (Mervyn's California), I had one or two people say, "Hey, just wanted to tell ya, you're doing a GREAT JOB!" without a hint of sarcasm.  In the US (in a small town), this is normal.  In the UK, whether it's a small town or not, it's totally not normal - it's cringeworthy.

A few months ago, a cashier at my bank branch in Covent Garden was so rude to me, she reduced me to tears (I needed a specific document for my UK visa application and she refused to release it to me).  Already in a panic about the short time limit I had, she made the situation ten times worse with her bad attitude and meanness (I'll also never forget her super bad perm and teased hairdo, or the thick gloopy coats of mascara that made her lashes look like tarantala's legs - NEVER).  I walked out of the branch crying, racking my brain for what to do next.  That's when I remembered there was another branch just down the road.  Taking a deep breath, I decided to try that one instead. 

The line there was long, but at the end of it, I was greeted by a nice no-bad-hair-or-eyelashes lady who first, apologized for my wait, then asked how she could help.  When I told her what I needed, she quickly replied, "Not a problem at all, we've been getting a lot of these requests lately."  Without me asking, she printed out the documents on headed paper and stamped each page as the grumbling line behind me got grumpier and more impatient.  Although I thanked her for her help, it didn't seem adequate.  Especially since I just witnessed someone being nasty to her right as I was leaving.

So naturally, I popped into Hotel Chocolat to buy her some chocolates.  I brought them straight back to her and said, "I just wanted to thank you for helping me, as you have no idea what it meant to me today.  I wanted to give you something to make your day helping grumpy people a bit more bearable."  She looked initially embarrassed and shocked, but smiled and said, "Thank you, that's very nice of you."  And I scurried out of there quickly. 

I'm usually faced with the same embarrassment here when I say, "Thank you SO much," to someone who's just given me extremely helpful directions, gone out of their way to be nice, or done something else I've really appreciated.  Natalie makes fun of me and says I'm too enthusiastic (so does John, for that matter).  But I'm insistent that the person I'm thanking really knows, like, really really knows what a difference they've made.

So I urge you to thank someone today whose actions you truly appreciated - not in a OTT, saccharine, way (or if that's your style, then that's cool - rock it) - but in your own, personal way.  Because giving thanks should never be underestimated.

(Thank you for reading!)



  1. Thank you for checking my blog daily!

  2. And thank you, for reading mine. :)

  3. I think the cashier in the first branch you visited has relations who work in Banana Republic! Genetics?


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