April 14, 2009

Smile: Make It A Great Day

Saw this written on a license plate frame this weekend. The idea that just a smile can make someone's day has always bugged me. Smiling, or a stranger smiling at you, is not going to make your day any better if someone died or you lost your job and have been unemployed for a month and a half with no real prospects...*

Killer Smile: I has it.

I was endlessly annoyed while working as a cashier and middle aged men would ask me to smile as I rang up their purchases. Would smiling on command make my day better? Would it make standing in a booth for four hours scanning vitamins and pens and shampoo as fast as possible any better? Or would my smiling on command simply make these men happier?

A simple smile (though undoubtedly uplifting from that special someone or a hot guy at a coffee shop) is not going to make or break your day. Who has gone home at the end of the day and sobbed, wondering why no one smiled? Does this happen and I'm too caught up in, oh, living my life, to keep tabs on who is or isn't smiling? I was not trained "service with a smile" or "the customer is always right" where I cashiered. I did not offer a service to my customers, and no, ringing you up is not considered a "service." A waiters' smile is going to make your dining out experience better, and you'll tip him better for being friendly, but a cashier's smile is not going to affect your happiness with the product you purchased.

This being said, I'm not knocking people who try to live by those feel-good cutsie sayings if it makes them happier. To each his own and whatever rocks your socks and all that.

*I has a job now.


  1. Hmmm.... I think of it like this. Yes the simple act of a smile is not the change, but we have a choice to make it a good day or a bad. A good attitude can change a bad day into a good one. So yes the smile isn't what actually did the changing, but it is a place to start to having a positive attitude and choosing to be happy.

  2. I moonlight at a movie theater, getting paid minimum wage to peddle popcorn and soda to affluent seniors who come to see the latest Russel Crowe movie and complain about how dirty he looks.

    We have a tip jar. Comments regarding the tip jar include:

    - 'here, go to college'
    - 'here's an extra quarter, cause you're smiling'
    - 'here's a tip: That's a great book you're reading. ... I don't have any more money, so that's your tip'

    I always try to smile at people I serve, not because I like them, or because I want more tips, but because I think maybe they could use a smile from a PYT to brighten their day. This theory has never failed to disappoint me, and people are never any nicer to me because I smile at them. So fuck smiling. If you're having a good day, take it out on someone. If not, take it out on someone.

  3. I lol'd at your last lines, Jooliak. I would always smile at people, too, but if I was simply not in the mood I didn't pretend. It never mattered.

    And I'm thrilled I was never a waitress and never had to pretend every day in order to make more tips. Gotta love the "tips" some people think are hilarious. Oh, and I was trying to remember Russel Crowe's name the other day, but couldn't for the life of me. Thanks!