I wait on at least 10 to 15 customers a day at Nelson’s Jewelry in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Managing this jewelry store for over seven years, I have realistically met 10,000 people in my time behind the counter. Fortunately, I have a large number of loyal supporters who shop with me for every special occasion. For my “A-list” guests, I not only remember their name and their significant other’s name, I also tend to be able to recall past purchase history and favorite family stories as well. However, for the vast majority, or roughly 9,000 patrons, I would be lucky if I remembered a single letter in their last name. Does that make me lazy?
Seriously, there is little better. Guys in monkey masks, bobbing to music.
I don’t think of myself as a lazy employee and on one hand, blame is easily passed, as I can write off my lack of memory to the shear quantity of people I see every day. I mean how could I possibly remember every watch battery customer? However, pry a little deeper into the idea of memorable events and I think the blame is more in my lack of passion for retaining this information compared to other activities in my life. In other words, I am not passionate enough about the everyday customer to remember simple details like his last name or the last piece of jewelry he bought.
Is it possible that passion makes for a perfect memory?
In my other life, I am a baseball coach and have spent every summer since my junior year of college at Northern Illinois University coaching 11-18 year old baseball teams, (twelve summers ago… WOW, feeling kind of old right now) yet I can remember almost every out we recorded during this past summer’s Babe Ruth baseball championship game and practically every win we had during our 20-1 championship season. I am passionate about baseball, love teaching and believe coaching with my best friend, Mike, is one of my major successes in life. Coaching is one of my passions. I remember the details. So, does that prove that passion does equal a perfect memory?
Maybe, or possibly it just proves that some things in life are easier to remember.
In 1989 I was in 5th grade, and yes, now I do feel really old. I am pretty sure we studied United States capitals that year. I am also positive that I heard the lyrics to the musical masterpiece above, Ice, Ice Baby during my eleven year old campaign. While I highly doubt I could name all 50 capitals, (who goes to New Hampshire, seriously) I am solid with the fact that you could turn the karaoke screen off and I would still kill that track like Vanilla himself.
So I can remember baseball games and white-guy raps. Pretty sure that helps with very little professional success, but it sure is fun on 90’s night at the bar. Whatever the case, I do know that I am going to work harder to make every watch battery customer or jewelry repair ticket as memorable as a baseball game I coached in 2005. If I manage to create that kind of passion at work I just might be able to make a few more “A-list” customers in 2011.