The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Etiquette Awareness — Paddling Like A Duck

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 10, 2010

Have you heard the expression “Be like a duck, floating calmly on the surface, but paddling furiously under the water?”

I actually saw this in action recently when I took some shoes in for repair. It’s a small shop and I’ve always received excellent service there but I’ve also always been the only customer in the store at the time. On this particular day, there were two people in line ahead of me and while I waited, an additional three came in as well. The man behind the counter was obviously working as fast as he could to take care of each customer but at the same time, service was not being compromised. He greeted each of us with a smile, thanked us for waiting and went on to address our individual needs. Periodically, he would look up and thank the growing line for our patience, explaining that his boss, the owner was not in as he was very ill but he would be with us as soon as he could.

No one was complaining or impatient; we all understood.

When it was my turn to step to the counter, he had momentarily moved to the back area, out of sight of his customers, to put something away. However, I happened to catch sight of him looking at his co-worker (who was diligently working away on a pair of shoes.) This very calm, professional man had his hands in the air, his mouth wide open to mimic a scream and was shaking his head from side to side as he very silently let off some well-deserved stress. Within just a minute he stepped back to the counter with a happy smile and thanked me for waiting, “What may I do for you today?”

It was absolutely fantastic; I felt like I had been let in on a secret. He was obviously aware — and concerned — about his customers but cared enough not to add to the situation in a negative way by becoming flustered and attempting to rush through the process.

He was a perfect duck.


People are not going to necessarily remember what happened but they will remember how you handled the situation. Be like a duck!

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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