I’ve recently started watching a TV show called “Hacking the System”. I’m only five episodes in but I’ve noticed a pattern: when Brian Brushwood uses social engineering to try to get an edge, his tools of choice are kindness and friendliness.
In situations where he was the customer in several situations he has been disarming, humorous, and friendly rather than forceful and aggressive. I’ve also seen him stand in as a waiter and use the same tools to get better tips.
So far I have seen him in a variety of situations attempt to get upgrades on flying, get into the first class lounge, find a hotel room when the hotel had told him they were full, get better service at a restaurant, get better tips as a waiter, and even talk his way out of a speeding ticket. In each case he used a form of kindness to get better service.
As I watched this series, I realized he was using many of the same tools I used I do every day. By being nice I have found I’ve always gotten better service and occasionally gotten out of trouble I had gotten into.
Simple acts of daily kindness to the people around you are good on so many levels. You make the lives of everyone around you easier and you may also get better service or earn unexpected benefits.
I’ve also generally found that rudeness and/or an air of entitlement will usually backfire. People who feel that they are entitled to better treatment or are too good to follow the rules often find themselves getting worse service. They may think that by acting superior they will get ahead but I’ve found it generates resentment from the staff you’re working with and the other customers.
In closing, I’ve always found when working with others, whether it is the waiters at the restaurant you’re dining at, or the police officer who pulls you over, kind words, humor, and compassion will go much further than smugness, anger, and rudeness.