Emily Dreibelbis may not have realized it at the time, but she demonstrated an important rule of business the other day while she was working as a scooper (or "sweetie") at Thomas Sweet ice cream shop on Nassau Street.
When the only customer in the store on a cold, rainy afternoon approached the counter, Dreibelbis, a 10th grade student at Princeton High School, offered a warm smile and a polite "how can I help you." The customer turned out to a U.S. 1 editor (you may be able to guess which one), there to meet photographer Craig Terry, taking the pictures for this week’s cover story.
"Well," he explained to the young scooper. "I have two stents in my LAD artery, plus a 50 percent blockage in another part of the artery. What do you recommend?"
Dreibelbis didn’t blink an eye. "We have fat free and sugar free frozen yogurt," she replied. "And they are very good." The editor related the story back at the office and Thomas Sweet’s nonfat offerings ended up included in Kathleen McGinn Spring’s story that begins on page 42.
As customer service experts proclaim, when you are representing your company to other people, treat everyone as a potential customer and treat every customer as if he’s a king. And that’s just one of many business lessons you may be able to take away from the little ice cream shop on Nassau Street.
This Easter please don’t show up at church without having traveled Holy Week. That’s a lot like going to the wedding reception of a couple you don’t know or attending a birthday party of a stranger. Sure, you can join the festivities but how can you be sure what you are celebrating? Of course, you can speak the expected "congratulations" and offer the customary "best wishes" but how authentic is that?
The Christian church’s celebration of Easter is the conclusion of a long, painful and amazing week. It begins on Palm Sunday (March 16) with the joyful experience of Jesus’ royal welcome into Jerusalem, but then quickly moves to tales of disappointment, portrayal, misunderstanding, suffering, and death. To show up right at the empty tomb is to miss the story and leave you totally unprepared for what happens next.
Do join me and others around the world this year proclaiming "He is Risen!" on Easter Sunday. But please, do so only after you have traveled the confusing and dark road that leads to a very real dead end. This year experience Easter as the end of Holy Week – not a standalone party. It will make for a better Easter celebration knowing the beginning of the story.
Pastor Paul Lutz
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Princeton Junction, popnj.org