Rules for the exception
A lifetime ago, I worked at a Starbucks outside of the city of Alpharetta, Georgia. We had this customer, real smooth type. He’d pull in in his sports car out front, leave his wife in the car and come in for their coffee.
His order: Iced Venti Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte, no ice. That’s 4 ounces of espresso, and 20 ounces of milk. As we labored over his and other drinks, he’d meander to the end of the line where the drinks come up and nonchalantly ask the barista “Could I get a Venti cup of ice and a small paper cup?” He would then proceed to turn one drink into two, topping them off with milk from the creamer area.
If you’ve worked in customer service, you feel it: eye-rolling, mind-blowing, what-the-heck, cheap-skate…it’s a vibe. Why did his wife stay in the car? Did she not know and he was duping her too. Or she was so embarrassed at his efforts to save $4.75 that she just couldn’t come in and watch.
We just made his drink and smiled.
Here’s where I’m going. As a teacher, it can be very tempting to set the rules or structures in place for the exception.
“If I give students a choice…”
“If I let them work together…”
“If I let one student…”
We can’t set up the rules or structures for the exceptions. What is best for each student? And in certain instances, what are the consequences, really, of letting something go?