THE MASSAGE IS THE MESSAGE

THE MASSAGE IS THE MESSAGE

From Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work

The Massage Is the Message

The only real way to differentiate yourself from the competition is through service.

Jonathan Tisch

I like to cook. I especially like to cook when there’s nothing at stake: no guests to entertain, no relatives coming to dinner. Then I throw a little of this and a little of that into a pot, and if it doesn’t turn out, it’s just Pepto-Bismol for two and a couple of poached eggs on toast.

But this was Thanksgiving—Thanksgiving in a new country, a new city and with new friends. This was important—so important that I had even prepared much of the dinner ahead of time. By Thanksgiving day I was feeling a little smug. Pies were made, the turkey stuffed, sweet potatoes casseroled, and the house in that once-a-year state of cleanliness. Then in the early afternoon, I received a call reminding me that two of my guests were vegetarian. I’m sure they could have survived on the vegetables and salads I had prepared, but I was feeling so ahead of the game that I decided that while my turkey was roasting, I’d make a quick trip to Alfalfa’s, one of our local vegetarian markets, to pick up a vegetarian entrée.

We live in the country. On a busy day, a car goes by our house once every hour, so I was ill-prepared for the number of people in town who also had last-minute shopping to do. Traffic was snarled and drivers snarling. I was starting to run late, and I hadn’t even been able to get into the store’s parking lot! But the minute I did, everything changed.

The manager of the store was in the lot, directing traffic and showing people where there were empty spaces. I parked and rushed into the store. Inside, store personnel were everywhere, handing out tidbits of food, offering suggestions, and helping people find what they were looking for. I quickly got what I needed; but even though all the cash registers were open, the lines were very long. I could feel my teeth clench at the thought of my guests arriving to a burnt turkey and no hostess.

The gentleman in front of me was also experiencing some panic, or so I thought, because an attractive woman was massaging his neck and shoulders. “What a lucky guy,” I thought. Just then, the woman turned and said, “Would you like a neck and shoulder massage while you’re waiting in line?” Would I! As she worked on me and I began to breathe again, I thought, “Isn’t this great? An enterprising massage therapist plying her trade where she is most needed.” When she finished, I asked her how much I owed her. “No, no,” she said, “the massages are courtesy of the store.”

Now I ask you, was that inspired service or what? The rest of the day was a piece of cake, or pumpkin pie if you will. And the dinner, on a scale of 1 to 10? About a 14.

Maida Rogerson

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