A coffee shop in Nice, France, has made the news with their chalkboard sign proving that politeness really does matter.
The Petite Syrah in Nice on the Côte d’Azur has made international news with its sign show above — where a polite attitude will get you a coffee for just 1.40 euros.
Un café – €7
Un café s’il vous plaît – €4.25
Bonjour, un café, s’il vous plaît – €1.40.
The cafe owners say it started out as a joke but in an attempt to turn it around on customers who say that servers are rude, the managers decided to “hit impolite customers where it hurts, in the pocket.”
We know the French are polite but what about tourists? We’ve all been in a hurry and probably forgotten our pleases and thank yous more times than we can count, but this little reminder made me smile.
I’ve always believed a measure of our character is how well we treat those who can do nothing for us. I don’t know if the people at the cafe can do anything for us or not, but generally speaking, ask yourself how often you start up conversations with people at work you can network with versus that elderly neighbor who lives alone, or the janitor at work. Aren’t we all worthy of a little bit of common courtesy and respect?
As MLK, Jr. taught, nobody is above anybody else and dignity isn’t about the type of work you do but rather how well you do the job.
And beyond the cost of your coffee, why not let this lesson translate to other areas of your life? You do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Would it really pain us to phrase a question politely or tack on a thank you at the end? Probably not. In fact, the politeness in France seems over the top to me but I’m adapting and I have to say, even if it’s a bit of a put-on, it does boost one’s mood to be surrounded by people who at least appear to be polite.
When someone does something for you, even if it’s their job, take an extra second to be polite and say thanks. We’re all guilty of being busy, so if you forget to say thanks or were short with someone or snapped, apologize later and let them know that you do appreciate them. There’s nothing worse than doing a thankless job, trust me on that.
If your spouse always gets you your coffee in the morning or clears the dishes, say thanks. If s/he’s always the one to take out the trash, say thank you. If s/he’s the one to always vacuum without being prompted, verbalize your appreciation and show them you notice and care.