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But (kind of) Seriously Folks… Mom’s Customer Service

I just caught a cold and feel really lousy. I don’t think it detracts from my masculinity at all to say I want my mommy!

It’s amazing how Mom always used to know exactly what to do when I got sick but, if I’m being honest, her cold remedies were usually way worse than the illness itself.

At the first sign of the sniffles, Mom would immediately administer a sturdy dose of rot-gut whiskey, which is also known in some communities as “NyQuil.” They’ve since changed the formula, but back when I was growing up, NyQuil was about ninety proof and was so potent you could get tipsy by just walking past the medicine cabinet.

Interesting historical note: Archaeologist James R. NyQuil discovered his now-famous cold remedy in 1872 while excavating an ancient archaeological site in southern Arizona. His team unearthed “a foul-smelling liquid” which was thought to be used as an embalming fluid.

Human nature being what it is, the entire archaeological team agreed they should all take a sip “and see what happens.” The few that didn’t suffer a sudden, horrific death were almost instantaneously cured of their colds. This formula eventually became a tremendous commercial success and remains to this day a popular cold remedy and paint remover.

After giving me medicine, Mom would shuffle me off to bed, slather about three inches of Vicks VapoRub all over my chest, and then button my pajama top over it. Nothing helps a kid drift off to sleep like having his jammies pasted to his body with a sticky, gooey substance that smells like axle grease.

Finally, Mom would set up a contraption known as a humidifier, which continuously pumped thick clouds of vapor into my room. This served to distract me from my sticky jammies by transforming my bedroom into a primordial rain forest. All night long I would have terrible nightmares of being chased through the jungle by dinosaurs who caught me and spit axle grease all over my chest. It was awful.

When I awoke in the morning, I couldn’t see more than three feet in front of me because of the thick cloud hanging in the air. The first time this happened, I thought I had died and was floating in heavenly clouds.

Fortunately for all the kids today, Mom’s method of treating colds was outlawed in the mid-1980s and is now only used to interrogate terrorists.

But whatever methods Mom used to treat my colds, I never doubted that she cared about me and wanted the best for me. That level of care taught me a lesson that I would take with me throughout my professional life.

The first rule of customer service is to care about people–your customers, co-workers, and employees. All of them want to know that you see them as people and have their back. They are not the means to an end. They are the objective.

If you can successfully communicate that one point to the people around you, your world will know no limits. Doors will open to you and opportunities will abound.

So, this season be sure to stock up on the NyQuil and Vicks VapoRub and hope for the best. Or, you can do what I’m doing and barricade yourself inside your room until spring.

© 2019 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his website or contact him via e-mail at


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