The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Etiquette Awareness — Move It Along

Posted by Corey Kaster on January 8, 2010

Coming from the hospitality industry, I learned very early on the difference between “back of house” and “front of house”. Front of house is where you are literally in front of your customers and everything you say, do and often times think is on display for anyone who is watching — and judging — you. Back of house is the area marked “Employees Only”, those mysterious doors staff members disappear through, sometimes never to be seen again.

All sorts of things take place “back of house” — whether it is an employee lurking to avoid a customer or supervisor, someone busily working on things for front of house needs, a coffee break, or a place to release the mental frustration of dealing with the public.

During the holiday rush, as I was making yet one more trip through the grocery store, I watched as a store employee pushed a large cart through the crowd, remarking to the employee walking with him that it was “like herding cows … moving them along.”

Well, moooo … cows have ears too!

This was a definite back of house moment that took place in the wrong location. While I understood exactly what the employee meant, he was out of line to express his feelings publicly.

Interacting with the public is extremely difficult, especially at holiday times when people are rushed and not thinking straight. But that is part of what you sign up for when you are in the customer service industry. There are ways to cope, words that will diffuse a difficult customer or turn the situation from a negative to a positive so that everyone may come through it in one piece.

And, if necessary, you can always mooove yourself to the “back of house” for a mind break!


As individuals, we are stewards of customer service every day, whether we are in front of or behind the sales counter. We ALL relate to the public. Good customer service skills are not natural for most people; they must be taught.

If you are interested in offering your customers an exceptional experience in terms of professionalism, courtesy and friendliness, please contact me; I offer a comprehensive training course that will be customized to suit your specific needs.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”


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