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Sure, You Can Call It The Softer Side

As a woman, we know that we’re the nurturer. Whether it’s through motherhood, taking care of a family member, or being a dog-mom, instinctively we have this characteristic. The frustration for many of us comes from the notion that because we’re the more emphatic gender, we’re weaker. That having a nurturing heart makes a woman more likely to get her feelings hurt, or unable to handle negotiations and high stress situations. What we’ve seen demonstrated time and time again, is that feminine attributes actually aid us in being a powerhouse. And, if men utilize these feminine attributes as well, they too can knock out their competition.

Betty-Ann Heggie’s latest blog post dives into this at a business level – looking at how, with wavering support and feelings towards our leaders, businesses still manage to maintain a sense of trust and support among customers. As business leaders, it’s important that these people not only understand their customer, but work to keep them. I know in my own day-to-day experiences, a manager (or sometimes the person hired as the social media voice behind a Twitter account) with very masculine characteristics will make me bristle, whereas a person with more feminine characteristics will give me more positive feelings about the brand. I don’t know the gender behind the email account or Twitter handle, only how they come across. Interesting, don’t you think?

Consider a recent interaction I had with a business about items they were selling in their stores that I didn’t think were appropriate. I posted on Twitter, and their response could have gone one of two ways. A response with Masculine Energy would be one direct and to the point. “We will look into this,” or “Thank you for letting us know.” Instead, the response showed concern, empathy, and a statement showing they wanted to resolve the issue. This is a demonstration of Feminine Energy.

After this exchange, I was left feeling positive about Shell and regardless of the final result (I haven’t checked back), I felt that my concerns were heard and that as a customer I mattered.

This approach also works beyond the business and marketing world and applies in our own households as well. Many households are like my own – mom is the one more likely to talk through a child’s feelings when they’re freaking out and get to the root issue (when my 6 year old is having a meltdown over her shoes, it’s not about the shoes, it’s because she had an argument with her sister earlier that afternoon and everything is elevated by that point). In contrast, in our household dad would be the one to decide my daughter is tired or misbehaving and threaten a loss of iPad time.


It’s a very clear and sometimes amusing demonstration of Gender Physics right before my eyes. Consider the difference in parenting if dad could demonstrate more feminine attributes and listen rather than react, nurture rather than punish. It’s something we both work on in our household. I, myself, could benefit from adapting more masculine attributes when negotiating with a potential client (as a woman, I lean on being too nice, and not aggressive enough when showing my value). As with most things in life, it’s about balance and knowing when to lean on one side of the scale more than the other.

Betty Ann’s full blog post can be found on her (recently made over) blog here, and it’s great food for thought within your own business exchanges or household (which can sometimes feel like a boardroom!) Now, I’m asking you to share your examples of either a great experience with a brand or business when the right approach made all the difference, or perhaps an example in your own family where utilizing a more feminine approach got the results you were looking for! To thank you for your thoughts, you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!






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  • It’s harder to find business examples of this- but I know it happens. It’s all about reading the person and the situation. I know in my household, empathezing with kids usually works a lot better to get to the root of the problem as you mentioned. It’s crazy how many meltdowns are caused by lack of sleep, hunger or something that happened earlier in the day. Usually, when my son gets home from school in a good mood if he is upset, i can usually tell and play with him to get an answer to help him feel better.

  • Just last week, I was at a retailer to return an item and as I was standing in line, I realized I didn’t have the receipt. It must have fallen out of my purse or I may have even threw it away during a clean without realizing. The woman in front of me also didn’t have her receipt. She spoke aggresively, insisted that the item be returned, complained that the employee was wasting her time and argued about the amount she should get back. As I approached the other till, I put on a smile, asked how the employees day was going, apologized about the missing receipt and asked if there was anyway she could help me without the receipt. I had my full refund and was out the door in no time while the other lady was waiting to talk to a manager.

  • The right approach always make a big difference. I always show compasion, patience and love to my granddaughter when she has meltdown and in no time at all she feels better.

  • Wonderful customer service made all the difference when my mom was recently flying. The employee stayed with her after a particularly difficult flight for her until I arrived to pick her up.

  • I always live by the saying that “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” so I am always patient and polite but at the same time, persistent, whenever I am dealing with a “sticky” situation with a business or brand. Seems to work for me.

  • I find this can go 2 ways also, and you have to watch how you word things. My husband is good at this. He treats everyone with respect and usually gets the response we need. If not, then I will intervene. Kindness always is the best way to go.

  • You should meet my son-in-law, talk about having the gift of the gab, he’s amazing. He often gets firms to do what he wants them to do just by being nice, friendly and persuasive. A repair on the van?, that often only costs a case of beer. Amazing. I’m afraid it doesn’t work for me like that more’s the pity.

  • I always treat people with respect and courtesy but if I find the result is not acceptible I often will take it to the next level, but still always being respectful and courteous and open to negotiation.

  • Instead of getting upset and aggressive , I try to talk calmly and restate the other person’s opinion. Hopefully we can come to a resolution where both sides feel validated. It does not always work this way, but I keep trying.

  • Years ago I had an an issue with an order from Sony. They sent me the wrong item that was lesser in value that what
    I had paid and we had quite a few email exchanges where there was much confusion and nothing was being resolved. I was very frustrated yet remained calm and tried to work with them to get things straightened out. Finally when it was resolved they had realized their error and apologized and told me to keep the product and gave me a $250 gift certificate for their store.

  • We recently had a great experience with a brand. After finding a piece of cardboard embedded in a piece of bread, the company didn’t just brush us off. They collected as much information as possible, sent a retrieval kit to send the cardboard and bread bag back for further investigation. They also sent 6 free product coupons for future purchases. In my books, this is great customer service and while we wanted to let them know of this incident for quality assurance purposes, the coupons were just a bonus!

  • Every time I interact with a company I use a more “feminine” attitude and demeanor which is the way I am naturally because I’m female I guess but if I have a problem and I don’t get the results I want then I get a more masculine attitude and I really let it Rip and either way I demand results.

  • When I was first divorced (20 years ago) I had a fabulous experience with the Royal Bank of Canada. My ex was screwing with our shared bank accounts and causing me financial problems. I swallowed my pride and went in to get help. I was turned over to a wonderful woman who in an 48 hour period had separated me from the accounts that I shared and opened my own. She advised me on what steps to take to help me become financially secure and independent. I will always remember the time, patience and kindness she showed. To this day…though in a wonderful relationship…I take care of all the finances. πŸ˜€

  • I have found when dealing with businesses or companies where I have had a sticky situation that the calm, gentle but firm approach has worked well. I have not always got the result I have wanted but I have let the know how I felt about the product or performance of a product.

  • My story is very long, but I’ll try to make it short. Last year my furnace broke down in -40 weather and after an assessment by a furnace company I was trying to decide what to do. I stumbled upon a fellow at the local gas company that gave me all sorts of advice. I thanked him and would ponder my choices. The next day, he called me back to say he was worried about me and wanted to help get my furnace ASAP. He expedited all the hoops I had to jump through. He once again called me the next day to say new furnace was on its way to being installed. The kicker was he didn’t even work in that department, but helped me anyway. Lots of warm feelings in more ways than one.

  • the only great one that comes to mind was about 15 yrs ago I volunteered at a neighbourhood drop in centre in Edmonton, this was in low income housing, we always made a hot lunch on wednesdays for the neighbourhood and on holidays we would cook a huge turkey dinner for those in need, one year I was in charge of getting donations so I contacted Lilydale meats to see if they could donate a few turkeys for the dinner, they ended up sending us 50 turkeys and wanted us to give the ones away that we were not using to needy families in the area, this made so many familys very happy to be able to have a turkey dinner of their own

  • I was at Costco the other day trying to get my tires changed but the lady at the counter was quite rude to me and said that my tires probably wouldn’t get changed for another 5-7 hours. She was annoyed that I thought I could just waltz in there in the middle of the day and expect my tires to get changed like that. I was calm and explained that it was my first time getting my tires done at Costco so I didn’t know what the norm was. One of the auto mechanics overheard our conversation and said that he could actually squeeze me in right now and have my tires changed quicker than that.

  • I once had a Starbuck order mixed up and when I got home I found out the charged me 15 dollars for a latte! I was not only refunded but given extra stars!

  • I find approaching any situation calmly and respectfully gets better results than aggressiveness . Cant think of a specific situation off tge top of my head

  • My oldest teen has been diagnosed with ODD and it’s never a good idea to use an authoritarian approach with her. More often than not I’ve had success with using an open and inviting tone and making sure she feels heard. Her Dad, on the other hand, is in the military and is very authoritarian. I feel I have a much closer relationship with her. I try to use this approach with all of my daughters and they respect that.

  • In my job as customer support manager I get all the complaints and I deal with each one with total understanding of the customer, no matter if I think they are right or wrong. As soon as they hear that I am listening to them they calm down and then they are ok

  • That’s a great experience to share! I don’t usually think of my interactions or approaches as feminine on masculine, but in general I tend to take a calm, careful and thoughtful approach – strong and sensitive. πŸ™‚

  • I think I see the softer (more feminine) approach daily in my place of work – it’s a medical facility so people are scared and often in pain; the gentle approach goes a LONG way verses a more direct approach when you are wanting a patient to do something specific

  • My granddaughter sometimes gets a bit out of hand with her temper and refuses to go along with the rest of the family. I seem to be able to calm her by talking to here patiently about the situation and she usually accepts the situation and goes along with the plan.

  • Being polite makes a difference. There’s a wa to be firm but also polite and you will find most people will respond positively

  • You hit home with your observations about dads demonstrating more feminine attributes! I have been a stay at home mom since I had my twins 6 and 1/2 years ago, followed 14 months later by my third and final child, so my more feminine side has been in good use for some time. Occasionally I wish my husband could connect with his softer side and be more empathetic towards my girls, as I am much more able to calm situations than he is. An example of this is dealing with my one daughter, who just yesterday to had a breakdown, and instead of getting frustrated and searching for a solution, I just held her, listened to her, and told her everything would be okay. It definitely works!

  • I think you REALLY need to listen and search for reviews online…for instance…airlines…quite a lot of stuff going on there and quite a lot of negative for one airline whilst the other ones seem to go out of their way on a daily basis…

  • I think I tend to approach most situations with feminine energy, I often find that being polite and nice gets you further than getting upset about it. I recently had an issue with a food product that I bought, I nicely contacted the company/sent them pictures and told them I wanted to bring it to their attention out of concern for other buyers. They were great, looked into it and sent my a bunch of FPC for taking my time to contact them. Would I of got the coupons if I had of been nasty with the contact, I am thinking no.

  • I love Discovery Knowledge books. Recently I received a duplication of my order an was stressed that I would be expected t pay for the return shipping of some rather heaving books – they apologized for the mix up and told me to keep the extra books fr gifts, donations etc. great books, great company.

  • I was at RCSS a couple years ago and found a tag with something that my daughter would love, but it was gone. I checked the other store to see if they would sell it to me for the price I found at the other store, and they did!

  • I find that a kind, calm, soft, feminine approach in dealing with a company’s product or service issues allows me to inform them of my views and they respond in the same helpful manner to me. Even if my problem can’t be resolved completely, we can usually come to an acceptable compromise.

  • Best thing to happen to me was because of Jiffy Lube. I won a contest to see a concert in Toronto and there was a mistake with the tickets. To make it up they sent my sister and myself to New Orleans to see Keith Urban play there. The put us up in a hotel for 2 nights and gave us spending money.

  • Taking the right approach certainly makes a big difference. When people are upset i always speak in an even happy tone and speak positive the person on the other end usually calms down and also speaks in an even tone….people can be questionable sometimes as to why they are upset in the first i think people spread themselves too thin!

  • I like to go to a local independent coffee shop, as they provide great customer service. They are always response to my needs and special requests, when I have them. I think that is testament to the management style of the owner and the training they provide their employees, to be responsive and friendly.

  • I think having the right approach is necessary. If I ever have a problem with a brand or company, I send a nice and friendly email hoping they will resolve the issues. If you sound rude and hostile, you won’t get any help.

  • I told business that I love cooking with their products (it was pasta) and how kids love them. And that we not only eat but also make crafts with them. We got a whole package just for saying nice words or, how my hubby says that women are talking too much. So basically I got that for talking too much.

  • I’ve found that whenever I need to return or exchange something it’s always better to go in with a smile and a kinder attitude. Even if you’re blazing mad, being calm and more ‘feminine’ always gets a better response. I worked for quite a few years in retail and I always appreciated kindness rather than a gruff and harder approach.

  • I know that I try harder to be reasonable in difficult situations when I feel I’m being taken seriously, on both sides of the issue!

  • Hmm for me it’s always the little things that they can do right – saying hello, smiling that sort of thing. I haven’t had any problems worth complaining about at a shop recently! *knock on wood*

  • I have a very emotional 6 year old son. You can not respond to him in an overly hyper-masculine way or he will just shut down. He responds very well to calm, empathetic speech even if it’s firmer. When certain extended family members take a hyper-masculine approach, he just shuts right down.

  • I like to email or interact on social media with brand/products that my family and i love, just telling them in a kind, calm and feminine approach that i (or a family member/or the whole family) love a certain product, a lot of times they sent me FPC coupons along with other discount coupons which is really nice of them πŸ™‚

  • Be polite as possible and treat others with respect , i was always taught to treat people the way you would want to be treated πŸ™‚

  • ‘Consider the difference in parenting if dad could demonstrate more feminine attributes and listen rather than react, nurture rather than punish.’ This really resonated with me. The other parent questions why our daughter confides things in me and not him. A nuturing, more feminine approach definitely works for me in the home. I let my little one know she is in a safe place where I will listen, discuss and help her work through her emotions and thoughts together. The right approach is important to make her comfortable and secure in sharing.

  • I was at the grocery store and was at the cashier to pay for my items. The cashier asked me for my rewards card, but I then realized I forgot it at home. I told her I’ll come back later that day with the receipt and have the missing points added to my account. I came back and went to the customer service desk. The lady told me I needed $20 or more BEFORE taxes to be able to claim my points. I didn’t know and the cashier never told me. Then a man at the customer service came by and allow me to purchase another item to add up for the about to get my points. He said he could only help with this one time and was super nice.

  • I have found that aggressive behavior begets defensive behavior & basically nothing much gets accomplished. By adopting a friendly tone & manner & explaining things calmly one can get much better results.

  • I believe talking calmly and not in a firm tough voice is the best answer. We all have our bad days. I have worked behind the counter before and its doesn’t help when the customer is yelling.

  • I definitely think that the right approach always impacts my experiences with business, whether I’m aware of it or not, and then impacts my future decisions of whether I want to return to them!

  • I recently had a situation when i was trying to load my prepaid visa at the bank. They were positive that I couldn’t do it at the branch (so that the funds were available instantly) and that I needed to do it through online banking. I quickly apologized and said that there was a misunderstanding – I had loading the visa three days ago at a branch and that I didn’t have an account so, I was unclear what the issue was and asked politely that she seek further clarification from another employee.. She came back three minutes later – loaded my card and said she was sorry – she had never done a reload on the visa’s before.. and wish me a great day!

  • One example of this can be found in schools. Male teachers and female teachers. Some kids act out and there’s usually a hidden problem. The masculine approach is detention. A more nurturing approach is to kindly talk it out. I think of that from my own teenage experiences. I was either in trouble or going home happy, knowing everything was ok and my momma bear wouldn’t have to go in to defend me.

  • We found a brand of bakery whole grain buns that we loved, but we hit a bit of a rough patch where we were getting mould before the “best before” date on a few consecutive bags. We tried everything we could think of to make sure it wasn’t our own doing/improper storage conditions and finally reached out to the company to let them know gently that we LOVE their products, but were a bit frustrated that we were routinely having to toss some of each purchase before the “best by” date. They were apologetic, but more importantly, they were thorough. They asked as many questions as they could to fully investigate WHY we were having that problem, so that they could fix it. They mailed us out a generous coupon package to apologize, but even more amazingly, they emailed us back to say that they’d made a few specific changes to their production hoping that they’d corrected the issue we had. We used a few coupons and behold – there was NO waste. We made it to expiry on each bag without issue. We emailed them back a couple weeks afterward to let them know that yes, in fact we had seen a vast improvement, and whatever they’d changed was working! They were so pleased, and sent out EVEN MORE coupons to us to thank us for taking the time to report back and let them know! THAT is a company that cares.

  • I was at Tim Horton’s this weekend.. super long line-up, only 2 cashiers & one of the was being trained so it was painfully slow. The new cashier had messed up on 2 orders & those people were off to the side, furious & impatient, getting angry with her while she was trying to do the next orders.. My feminine instincts did kick in & I immediately put myself in her shoes, remembering when I myself was being trained as a cashier years ago & how overwhelming it can be. When it was my turn in line I was very kind to her, empathized with her & tried to make her laugh, & I do believe it made a difference in her day & in the way I was served in return.

  • In my line of work dealing with customers we always have to take the more empathetic approach even though most of the times the complaint is out of our control

  • This past July I contacted my cell phone provider about my bill which was charged an extra $82 because of going over data use. I was the cause because of travelling for a family emergency and didn’t even think about using too much data as it has never happened. At first the customer service did not want to even discuss the matter with me. So I very, very politely ( I was seething inside by now) asked to speak with his supervisor. When the supervisor came on the phone I explained the situation about having to leave the province and why and I was very calm, respectful and low and behold not only did he take off the $82, he also gave me a new monthly charge for my service of $10 cheaper than what I was paying…that was a win/win in my opinion.

  • Recently we had a practice fire drill in school and there was a bit of confusion being it the first of the school year. Our principal calmly talked to the students and everybody just stopped talking and listened for further instructions.

  • I think brand that values their customer always brings them back. I once brought back a small appliance that didn’t work, but it was out of box and I didn’t have a receipt. Instead of turning me away, they looked up my information and did an exchange anyways even though I was past their ‘return date’ policy.

  • I know that being nice can definitely get you farther than aggression espcially in retail. I worked a bunch of retail and so I am always polite. Even when things don’t work out they way I want due to company policies etc , I go out of my way to tell the person I am talking to “If I seem mad, please know it isn’t with you”. I know I have been able to get father with this approach.

  • I find that diplomacy makes for no hard feelings and that people get along better when there’s upbeat or calm music in the background while you eat.

  • I went to a new grocery store in my area and was in a hurry. I asked one of the workers if they knew where some items were and as soon as he heard that I was in a hurry, he took my list and took me around the store and helped unload my cart. It was great,

  • I have had wonderful luck with a brand upon seeking help using company’s Facebook page private messaging! Showing gratitude and being kind and appreciative can go a long way when seeking assistance especially with damaged or faulty product replacement. I believe the customer support was quicker than using email!

  • It’s amazing, what a difference a little empathy makes! I find people are always more kind and patient when I’m especially empathetic toward them.

  • We had just purchased our first home, and as it was new construction we bought new appliances. Within three years, our over the range microwave, oven, and washer all broke. The microwave was a catastrophic loss- it started shooting sparks out of the top. The front load washer seal was pulled out and sucked in (then shredded) during a spin cycle, and the motherboard of the oven melted when on the self clean cycle. Realizing that we had lost 3 of 6 appliances purchased from this company, they offered to buy back our stove after I nicely explained that their lack of quality control was costing us thousands of dollars. I was happy with the customer service, but still didn’t purchase any more of their brand.

  • In my family,…when someone is upset or sad about an issue close to their heart and they have trouble coping and need an understanding ear for advice…a woman always prevails!

  • I’m sorry I really do not have a legit example of either of these. I could make something up-but I won’t. I have enjoyed reading this though and hope to gain entry into the contest-thanks

  • “You catch more flies with honey”. So said a co-worker to me. Be nice to customer service and they’ll be nice to you. I had an issue with Rogers and they offered me a terrific deal, but when I got my bill and that deal wasn’t realized, I called customer service and they remedied the mistake. In fact they extended their deal by another year. And the customer service rep was a very friendly woman who actually lived in the same city as I do.

  • When I contacted a company about some bad cookies, the manager responded right away and later followed up letting me know how the company had changed practices to correct the error and thanking me for my help. They also compensated me with more cookies, which I hadn’t asked for. This was a great customer service experience.

  • Just the other day we were at the airport and the lady ahead of us was so rude to the airline employeee, she was doing her job, once we approached we commented that she had did the right thing and that the customer ahead of us had no right speaking to her the ways she the end our luggage was over the weight limit but because we were so kind to her she gave us a huge break on the extra fee and actually didn’t charge us for the baby carriage that we were also checking in πŸ™‚ being kind always brings positive results..respect and you shall gain brainer

  • I recently had to return some items my husband bought for me. When at customer service they were unable to put the money back on my card as it differed from his. Instead the employee happily gave me the money on a gift card instead when i asked. This saved me a lot of hassle of having to make a return trip home to get the other card!

  • A couple of days ago, I started trying to find and talk to the people who have been propping open our fire doors. I would be tempted to lace into them, as it is really dangerous, and it has been going on for a while. All three people I spoke with, I talked nicely, and explained what we are supposed to do (and not) do about fires. Instead of getting defensive, I think I won them over, and now I have to wait and see. In the meanwhile, I called the fire marshall and have them investigating our property management put illegal door holders on our doors, that is causing the problem.

  • I was in a dept store looking for an oil free eye cream and the beautician was unable to find a product, then followed me around as I looked for myself, commenting on anything I was looking at. It made me uncomfortable so I left and found my product online.

  • Wow, what a great way for Shell to handle that situation! Bravo!!

    I’ve heard phenomenal stories about Dyson customer service and how they truly go above and beyond, even if someone owns a product which is very old/outdated. This is exactly what we need more of!

  • In family disagreements, it’s always me that is the go-between, the one that can diffuse the situation. Listening, being kind and thinking before getting upset goes a long way to solving problems.

  • I find that calm and polite is always better and when I ask the person about their opinion or how they would do something, they feel better and help me out.

  • My daughter gets anxiety attacks especially on the first day of school. I was so thankful to see that the new teacher was so kind and helped her ease into her new classroom without any issues. Being a kind person, one that shows compassion makes a huge difference on how others lives are affected

  • I went into a local distributor to find the mechanism for a window crank that had stripped out. I had a wonderful young man say he would look for one, brought me out a brand new whole unit that he said was in the garbage pile and didn’t charge me for it.

  • was checking into a hotel and the clerk was quite rude, terse, and negating. instead of becoming defensive and aggressive, there was a choice to be nice and just work through the perceived problems. the outcome was an upgraded room on their dime. thanks

  • I always believe in using a feminine approach when it comes to dealing with any situation with my family or a business. Like they say, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.

  • I find using a calm, cheerful and understanding approach works in all situations. From working with retailers to dealing with my own kids, if I approach in a negative manner, they respond with such!

  • The right approach in life is everything. I taught my kids to be polite, courteous and to have empathy for others. The world could use a little more compassion 😊

  • I think being courteous and understanding helps find a solution to a problem. I find if you start off angry the service you receive will be similar

  • Just the other week, I called The Brick to inquire about the price of having someone sent over to fix our couch originally purchased from them as one of the cushions were all ripped. Instead of just sending someone over and charging me for the service, they took a few minutes to pull up my profile and reminded me that I had actually purchased an extended warranty that covers this repair and, in fact, does not expire for another year and half!
    Within days, my couch was repaired and looks brand new! Without charge! That’s why I’ll continue shopping there!

  • A few weeks ago I was on the hunt for a pair of shoes. I was looking for specific ones that just so happen to be sold out everywhere. Most retailers I spoke to did not go “above and beyond” for me nor did I expect them to. One particular retailer I went to did in fact go above and found me a pair and would ship right to me door not only that but she gave me an awesome discount. I am forever grateful and will continue my business there.

  • a family had a problem with a toaster-oven just stopping all of a sudden and found it was beyond the warranted period. however, when I called them directly and explained the situation, they made things right by an out-and-out replacement. it was so nice to have that experience. thx

  • Being nice and pleasant goes a long way sometimes as they might refuse your request initially but might change their minds after you are reasonably and pleasant.

  • When we moved back to canada 7 years ago Korean Air took a look at our young family and asked if we would prefer to be seated at the front where they have a pull down bassinet. What a lifesaver for the long flight.

  • Common courtesy goes a long way! I see a lot of sense of entitlement coming from folks, in-store and online. Bashing, demanding…

  • I try to exercise patience and courtesy when it comes to public interactions at a retail store or wherever it may be. People can really feed off your mood and may potentially ruin their day and their experience at work. If you experience a nasty person on the other side, you have no idea what is happening in their life or what happened that day, and believe me, we’ve all been there before. Patience and kindness!

  • I find whenever I treat people the way I want to be treated it is the best way It was this past week I went to the store and the cashier was not in a happy mood and I was talking with them and at the end of my order she was smiling