My South African friends kept complaining about how bad service is in their country. They shared several examples to which I said, “I’ve had similar experiences in various countries. But I’ve also had stellar service here and in other places.”
In Cape Town, the Stonehurst Guest House provides simple, clean lodging in a lovely Victorian home with a central courtyard. The owner, Jan, is a kind artist who has run the inn for 30 years. Dan, the manager, and Maureen, the housekeeper, are friendly and accommodating. I chatted with each during my 3-day stay and found them friendly and helpful.
But it was something Jan did that made me go “Wow!”
After a day in Cambodia, my American travel companions and I found ourselves modifying our language when speaking to those with limited English skills. We’d traveled abroad enough to know to speak slowly, enunciate every syllable, avoid contractions, use simple words and basic sentence structure. But in our quest for clear communication, we soon matched the syntax of the local shopkeepers we encountered.
Since you were a tyke, you’ve oft heard the adage, “Honesty is the best policy.”
- But then your best friend got mad after you told her the boy she had a crush on told you he didn’t like her.
- You lost your first boyfriend after you told him he had bad breath.
- You ended up in the principal’s office after telling your chemistry teacher he didn’t explain the experiment well, thus your blowing up the beaker.
- You were shunned at work when you told your coworker she’d never get promoted since she kept messing up in her job.
- You got fired because you told your boss his idea of not answering the phones so everyone could get more done would lose customers.
So, is honesty really the best policy?
It’s everywhere. You’ve seen it day in and day out.