How Growing a Beard Can Get You Better Customer Service

I started growing a beard at the end of December. It started while away on vacation at the end of the year, just about the time I began writing this blog. When my wife and I got stranded for an extra week I decided to just roll with it and keep growing out the beard and it’s been going since then, about three months now. I actually never thought I could do it, thinking that my 25% Filipino heritage would be just enough to keep the facial hair spotty and at bay. Much to my surprise, it’s growing in pretty nicely, albeit a bit scraggly, but I’m OK with that right now.

If people ask why I did this, I’ll usually say that after living in Brooklyn for a while, growing a beard or getting a tatoo is inevitable. I like to say I went with the less permanent option ☺

Today if people ask me, I have a second part to the answer. I get much better customer service thanks to the beard. OK, I can roll with it if people might think this is my imagination and can accept that there’s maybe something about me that makes me more open and available to receiving improved customer service now that I have the beard. However, since any one of these explanations is quite a stretch, I like to just roll with the explanation that having the beard is directly correlated to receiving better customer service, at least here in Brooklyn. It actually may scare people in other parts of the country and have the opposite effect, I haven’t had a chance to test that theory just yet ;)

I started noticing this phenomenon about a month ago. That’s about the same time the beard started to go from an experiment to a commitment. People in coffee shops who would never even look up from the counter would now at least greet me with an interested “What’s up…?” Things started to pick up when I said “Take it easy…see you next time.” to a barrista and the barrista replied, “If it’s easy, take two.” Now I KNEW I was on to something here. The other day, in the same coffee shop, after I asked about Central American coffee options and confirmed my committment to making a serious cup at home using a Chemex, a different barrista actually went out of his way to grind me a three day sample of a new batch of Peruvian coffee they had just received. Right, I realize that Peru’s not exactly in Central America (full disclosure, I had to look that up when I got home), however this is a far cry from my experience when first moving to the neighborhood, beardless, and a different coffee shop even refused to grind the beans for me. Just this week I even got offered a frequent coffee buyer card at a local food market that I’ve been going to for years. I didn’t even know they had a frequent coffee buyer card before that. Thanks, beard!

So anyway, there it is. I’m not saying this would work for everyone or even that it’s really happening for me, although it really seems like it is, or at least I like to believe it is, for one more reason to convince myself to keep the beard. It may be time to see if the theory holds up when doing other things and not just buying coffee. However, at least for now, the beard’s going to stay and I’ll continue to enjoy a better level of customer service as a result ☺


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