A Boomer friend of mine was in a big box store searching for sparkling water, but without luck. When she saw a young store associate passing by, she stopped him and asked, “Do you know where the sparkling water is?”
“No,” he said, and continued down the aisle.
She called me on her cell, breathless with laughter. “I think I just met a Millennial,” she said.
Millennials get a bad rep when it comes to customer service. Employers consistently find the M gen deficient in the people skills needed for retail. Sometimes that’s because Millennials, especially the youngest Millennials, haven’t spent enough time face-to-face, are self-absorbed (a developmental consequence of being young), or just don't want to be bothered. Other times, they honestly may not know that being "bothered" by customers is part of the job.
Technically, the distracted Millennial had answered my friend's question. She had asked "Do you know where the sparkling water is?" and he said he didn't know. To be fair, he grew up in an era when the-customer-is-king service was going out of vogue and people increasingly took care of their own needs in all but the most upscale retail settings. Yes, he may be hopelessly ill suited for his job, or he may not know that his job includes making sure customers find what they need, whatever that takes.
We'll knever know. My friend didn't follow up with a specific request like "Help me find it." I think she mind have, had she not been laughing so hard.
When it comes to cross-generational interaction, we have to be painstakingly specific with each other. That's part of Generational Intelligence. Otherwise we fall into the gen gaps. Tweet This
President of Generational Edge, Amy Lynch has written and spoken about the generations for 15 years. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV and Comcast to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Amy has been quoted in national publications, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and NBC Evening News, among others.