The Magic of Courtesy

I ordered a sandwich this past week at McDonald's, from the drive-through window.

After pulling out of the drive-through lane, I discovered that my sandwich was cold. The bacon was uncooked. I circled back through the drive-through lane, and explained my dilemma to the young lady at the window. She distractedly held out her hand, reaching for the bag, looking away from me as she muttered, “Pull around front. We'll get you another one.”

I understand that these things happen, especially at a restaurant run by children. I wasn't really upset as I returned my sandwich – I just wanted it cooked properly. But I can't help but reflect on the different feeling I would have about McDonald's right now, if that young lady had bothered to look me in the eye and simply say something like, “I'm sorry about that. If you pull around front, we will be happy to get you another one. And this time I promise we'll cook it correctly.”

That would've made all the difference-just a simple bit of courtesy. It's magic, especially in business transactions.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • So true. What is scary is that we take notice when someone is actually polite. Being rude is the norm but being polite gets attention. Scary!!

    • Yes – that is a little weird. But it's true.

  • Clarke

    A client told me today of a woman who'd lost her husband. She called a local funeral home and they told her, “Our price is…” She hung up.

    A nurse who'd cared for her suggested she call my client. When she asked for a price, he said, “Before I give you a price, may I ask you a few questions?” He then expressed sympathy for her loss, talked with her about the length of illness, and showed great empathy for her situation. He then told her, “Oh, you asked about price. For the kind of service you're requesting our price is…”

    She was baffled at the difference — a much lower price and much more kindness. She asked my client what she should say to the other people. He told her don't bother to call them if they cared so little for how people feel.

    Cost to the competitor? Several thousand dollars difference in price. Not good.

    A lot more than a hamburger…


  • A total world of difference…

  • This is nice you have made me see the value of a blog Ray never did before. do you really think be without an email and all the tech stuff and succeed in today's world? I am not one to talk I have a website and decided just to sell a house no takers not even on facebook utube or myspace I have to rely on a realestate agent?

    Are only the poor losers on the Internet while the successful people play offline?I'm wondering?