Monday evenings is our big night out.
It's the night some in my crew set aside to get away from 'regular people'.
It's the night politicians, business owners and titled people get together to talk about things which we cannot in public.
A month ago - while sitting in the town's posh new lounge - we made a bet that we could NOT give away $1000 to people who were just doing their jobs.
The bet was simple; just hand out $100 bills to anyone who provided good service at any point in one's day-to-day life.
The car wash, laundry, restaurants, bars, grocers, Wal-Mart, whatever...
All we had to do was keep track of to whom we gave the money.
Since most in our crew were Black we had planned on going only to Black-owned businesses and showing our appreciation for their services.
But this proved to be a challenge.
In the whole month NONE of us were able to give money to Black employees.
(This is not a complaint about lower standards at Black-owned businesses - our findings were that there is a dearth of service at ANY business.)
My first hundred went fast. On my way home from the club at 3am I stopped for gas. Another customer threw his bottles near the trash can and drove away. One of the guys behind the counter excused himself, opened the door for me as I was leaving and began to clean up the mess.
Simple, nothing special - just a kid doing his job.
As I handed him his hundred I just told him that he was benefiting from a bet.
He thanked me and I was off...
I don't particularly like Chic-Fil-a. There is nothing wrong with the place, I'm just not a chicken sandwich kind of guy. I don't even have a problem with their political positions. I even like that they choose to close on Sundays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
But what I DO like about Chic-Fil-a is their dedication to service.
After being disgusted with the service at a neighboring restaurant and leaving I decided to cross the parking lot and settle on chicken sandwich.
The sandwich itself was good enough but the service was outstanding.
Even though the overweight girl behind the counter was named Diamondnetta (or something of that sort), she was attentive, articulate, polite and focused.
No nail poppin', gum gnawing, dismissive attitude - the young lady was on her job.
As I changed my order from take out to dine-in so that I could check out their other employees I noticed that EVERYONE was on their job.
It was the manager who ran my food out to my table and offered to refill my lemonade.
Obviously Diamondnetta was getting a quick hundred.
But NO - she refused?
I explained my bet but she explained that she was just doing her job.
I told her that I was just going to donate to charity and she smiled and said a quick thank you.
This had to be a fluke.
A couple of weeks later I was only able to give $100 away, another $100 was on reserve and I still had eight hunnys burning a hole in my pocket as our bet was winding down.
I HAD to get rid of some money.
I stopped at another Chic-Fil-a and it was the same story. EVERYONE was on point.
And again my chosen employee turned down her $100.
By the end of our bet one from my group was able to give away money to an employee from a local deli, from Walgreens and she tried (and failed) at Chic-Fil-a. Another guy gave an extra hundred to his dry cleaners. And I forget the rest.
To a person, everyone commented on the service and their attempts at Chic-Fil-a.
Whatever this chain is doing they are doing right.
Even drawing from the same labor pool as us they are able to obtain superior results.
This bet caused all of us to rethink the way we run our businesses.
Are our service levels where they need to be?
Do we pay our employees enough?
Are we making things harder than they should be?
While some of our businesses are doing better than other's - we ALL have room to improve.
While we couldn't agree which charity got our remaining money (we split the six thousand and change between three local organizations) we could all agree that Chic-Fil-a IS the shit.