The Joy of Making People Happy

I am writing this post on a Sunday. This Sunday from 10 am until 3 pm I have been standing at the information counter in one of the old buildings of the Berlin University of the Arts. Every year at the end of term the university opens the doors for the interested public – young students coming from the secondary schools, people from abroad who are interested in continuing their studies in Berlin or older citizens who want to know about the newest development in the arts.

On Friday and today I had the joy of helping those people to find their ways through one of our oldest buildings. It is the place where Fine Arts and Architecture is taught, and just now we have a big exhibition of our Meisterschüler classes (“Meisterschüler” are students who finished their studies but have done so well that they carry on with their studies for one year).

In those five hours I had to answer all sort of questions: “Where are the toilets” (a question very often asked), “what can I do in this house?”, “where is room soandso?” and so on. Most of the people did not leave the space in front of the counter without a big smile on their face and a big thank you on their lips. Sometimes I got the impression that the experience of being helped in a friendly way was something extraordinary for them, that they were not used to it.

I remember myself how often I missed that experience of being served in a competent and friendly manner. Every time I was met by someone who smiled at me and helped me – answered my questions, helped me to buy clothes in which I looked good – I was extremely happy, and the happy feeling helped me over the rest of the day.

Germany is often named as a “service desert” – a place where service and serving other people is not known anymore. We can rant about it, but the better way is to do it better oneself.

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

2 responses to “The Joy of Making People Happy”

    • Judy Adamson says :

      I’m also very sensitive to how I’m ‘served’ in shops! Often the assistants chat to one another while they are ‘serving’me, so when that happens, I’m afraid I’m very naughty! When they hold out their hands for the money, if they don’t look at me, I just stand there until they finish their conversation and look me in the eye! It seems to give them a bit of a ‘nudge’! But on the other hand, if service is good in a shop, I always ask to speak to the manager and compliment them on it. You should see the look of relief that comes over their faces when they realise I’m not there to complain! (Sorry to write such an essay!)

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