This morning I spent an inordinately long time in the drive through of my local quick service (often an oxymoron) restaurant. I was in a hurry. Aren’t most people who use the drive through? I don’t know if the SUV two ahead of me ordered breakfast for the 5th grade but I was trapped with cars behind me.
When I finally got to the window, I inquired: what was up with the delay?
The guy at the window mumbled something incomprehensible and responded with a tone of voice that suggested I had wished him a happy morning.
As I waited for my food I noticed the sign in the window–How are we doing?–with several ways to communicate that information to management. I considered whether or not to do so.
My frustration could have been greatly diminished with a simple phrase: “Sorry for the wait today.” It would have pre-empted my comment and instantly let me know the service providers were aware. It would have also suggested that long waits are an exception and not the rule.
Even if it had been given after I expressed concern, it would have been helpful.
So simple yet so often overlooked. Elton John was right: sorry seems the hardest word. And it is sad, so sad that service providers don’t use it appropriately more often.