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.