Rumor has it that I am somewhat of a foodie.  I love to visit new restaurants around Saint Louis, and when I come across that rare combination of value and taste, my soul is uplifted with a feeling of content that is almost unmatched.

This afternoon, I went to a local sandwich shop.  I’ve been there plenty of times in the past but I didn’t recognize any of the workers.  There was one customer in front of me, and the fellow working behind the counter asked him what he was having.  I can’t remember the sandwich, but there was something off about the fellow behind the counter.

The first thing I noticed when he made the sandwich is that he couldn’t seem to put the customer requested ingredients on the sandwich, and was having a devil of a time with the bottle of mustard.  At this point, I was just hoping that I didn’t get stuck with this fellow when my sandwich was ready.

When he finally got the toppings on the sandwich, it didn’t appear that he was able to cut the sandwich correctly, because when he did, half the toppings fell off the sandwich and onto the floor.  When it came to wrapping the sandwich, well that went about as well as the cutting.  He used four sheets of paper when the sandwich is usually wrapped in one.

I was watching the customer through this.  He was very understanding, but I just felt sorry for both the customer and the worker.  The sandwich had lost all chances of looking appetizing after the worker smashed it into the wrapper.

Good news, I thought.  The worker was done with the sandwich and now he was taking the payment.  Well, he couldn’t remember the sandwich he made, and then when the customer went to pay, he couldn’t count out the change.

Luckily, my sandwich was made by someone else.  Unfortunately, I was shepherded to the other employee to pay.  The employee looked at me, and I looked at him.  That was an uncomfortable 30 seconds or so and finally I told him I didn’t know how much to pay.  He never told me the amount.  He apologized.  I gave him the exact change and hurried out to my car.

We don’t know if this worker had health or mental issues.  He seemed normal and that he was just either having a really bad day or just wasn’t good at his job.  This didn’t appear to be a case of the employee not caring.

I often look outside of real estate sales when I want to analyze my business.  It seems like this method of looking outside helps me to make the decisions inside due to my own potential biases.  The main bias is because I live real estate sales and I am compensated strictly on those sales, I can have difficulty putting myself in a customer’s shoes.  The fact that I am aware of this bias has been massively helpful as we’ve built Deerwood Realty.

As I watched the employee in the sandwich shop, it was honestly painful.  There are real estate agents who fumble around just like this fellow.  It isn’t that the agent or the employee are bad people, it’s just that they should probably be doing something else with their time.  When you want a sandwich from a sandwich shop, you want the best sandwich that store has ever made.  When you want to buy or sell your house, you want to work with the best real estate agent there has ever been.

If you are working with a real estate agent who seems like a nice person, but is just doing a terrible job, be courteous and move on.  You can take no pleasure in watching someone fail at their desired profession.   There’s no point in paying for a service that doesn’t meet your expectations.