The Power of Preconceived Notions

During my tour of duty in the hospitality industry as a waiter, bartender, and restaurant manager I heard a variety of stereotypes about customers that affected the quality of the service they received. What I found most interesting is that the stereotypes were shared across racial and cultural lines, and in many cases, passed along by the very people whose groups were effected by such misinformation. These stereotypes, like most, are incorrect and do more to hurt matters than they do to help. While my experiences clearly contradicted these widely-held beliefs, they reinforced one universal truth.

When sellers have preconceived notions about buyers, the result inevitably leads to a less than desirable service experience for the buyer. For example, if a restaurant professional believes that black people are bad tippers, the service he/she is going to deliver to that group of people is going to be less than memorable. As a result of this less than memorable experience, the people receiving this service are less likely to leave any meaningful gratuity and more likely to complain(as rightfully they should). So, the cycle feeds itself and it becomes impossible to make any real distinction between the cause and the affect.

Think about it during your next business interaction. What notions do sellers have about you?