The Sweet Bird Of Youth

This post has little to do with the Tennessee Williams play or the Paul Newman film based on the title.  I just like the phrase, and since I’ve turned fifty I’ve become horribly nostalgic.  I have a new employee at Photoworks.  He is in his early twenties, and I hate him because he has such a bright future.  Just kidding.  I can say he has a bright future because he is so genuinely enthusiastic about his job, and has such an upbeat outlook on life and the pursuit of photography.  When I go to a chain store I get a false “have a nice day” greeting even though it might be 11:00 at night.  “J” as I will refer to him greets every customer with sincerity and when he says, “how is your day going?”  He actually really wants to know.  I’ve had some other staff here in the past that would not bother to make eye contact, and the typical camera store worker is pretty detached and at best a snob.  Why is J smiling all the time, why don’t I smile more?  Shit, I own the joint.  Now the kid is not perfect, half the crap on his ipod is annoying and I’m not even sure I like his photos, oh and he’s running a bit of tab on his own work, but who cares?

I can’t just pigeonhole J’s attitude as youthful exuberance, because there are plenty of mean 23 year old’s walking around town scowling.  I can only say that this “kid” gets it, and that he actually loves film photography so much that he can’t wait to tell every customer about the fine grain of Ektar 100.  So at 50 years old, and after standing in the same spot for 23 years, I am getting some new energy for my job in the form of J’s positive attitude.

Customer service, what a concept.

                                                                                             Just Happy To Be Here

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9 thoughts on “The Sweet Bird Of Youth

  1. Kate says:

    I’ve been a recipient of J’s customer service and I adore him. He’s warm and smiley and this 40-something gal looks forward to coming back because of it.

  2. I met “J” yesterday (day before this post) while picking up some negatives and I totally felt the sincere exuberance you’re describing! A breath of fresh air and another reason to do business with a local shop rather than a chain store. Oh and I too share in the love of Ektar 100’s fine grain.

  3. J is the man. Pay him double whatever it is he’s getting now. Extra special shout-out to Chris too.

  4. Cindy says:

    Happy 50th, Dave. “J” is awesome and I love your whole staff.

  5. Tabula Rasa says:

    This guy makes my day every time I come in! I am new to film photography and he is not only helpful but inspires me to keep learning and take more pics! Thanks 🙂

  6. E says:

    I am new to town, and only a couple of years into film photography in general. I met this guy the second time I came in and he is great. Helpful and his attitude is great.

  7. Jenni N. says:

    This “J” guy is super duper cool and friendly. I loved chatting him up about my obsession with Holga (thumbs up). He seems like an incredible asset to an already amazing staff at Photoworks. Good job all around!

  8. Andy says:

    The image of films reminded me of the old days. I still own a Canon film SLR eventhough no longer use it. 🙂

  9. Neil says:

    I wrote an email about this guy about a year before I knew this blog existed. I don’t know if he still works there but every word is true – he’s exuberant and I walked out with far more film than I meant to buy.

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