New Year's Evolution

Published: Jan 09 , 2014
Author: Alan Smith

New Year’s resolutions. We all do them. Although I have to say come March time they tend to have disappeared unlike the food belly that sadly gets a little bit bigger and more stubborn with each passing decade.

So what’s the point? I guess they give us a little bit of focus for what should be important to us following a couple of weeks off from the ever spinning, ever faster treadmill that we call life.

I have taken my evolutionary thought this January from the small café that I read about in Nice, France. The so called politeness café, in the South of France has gained international attention by introducing a politeness-based pricing system to encourage customers to be more pleasant.

A sign outside the café La Petite Syrah offers “Un Café” for 7 Euros, “Un café s’il vous plait” for 4 Euros and “Bonjour, un café, s’il vous plait” for just 1.50 Euros.

It started as a bit of a joke as some customers would arrive at lunchtime (remember this is France), and be stressed and often rude, when they placed their orders. But it became a wake up call to many of the regulars who started to really take the sentiment to heart. Some apparently got in on the fun by calling the owner “Sir” and “Your Greatness” in an attempt to get their bills down.

So what is the point? Well being kind and pleasant has no cost. In fact in many ways it creates an atmosphere that is more conducive to creative thinking and may even get better value for you in many buying and selling situations.

I am not saying we should be soft. As Al Capone once famously said, “You can go a long way with a smile and a gun”.

I am going to take that thought with me into 2014. It is not a resolution just an attempt to evolve a more considerate attitude. As Plato said, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. I think that is true.

When it slips, let me know.

Alan Smith


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