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It ought to be a holiday. Today that is. This is the official federal deadline for filing one's individual tax return. April 15 has been the deadline for Americans living in the United States since 1955. Before then, the deadline was March 15 and before that March 1. Other deadlines exist for Americans outside of the country, businesses and nonprofits.

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12/11/2012
Let’s help

We are all in a hurry sometimes. Those times seem to coincide with lines forming, and having to wait, and needing to be two places at once.

If it’s no fun to stand in line, it’s no fun to be the worker at the head of the line trying to help folks as well as they can be helped.

For those of us on the getting-served end of the line, let’s treat the servers — be it at a restaurant, a retail establishment, a financial institution or a service agency — the same way we’d want to see our own parents, grandparents or children treated. Those who are experienced on the serving end of the equation understand that they can help one person at a time, and they need to do their best with each individual as the case arises. Others are new to such work and learn as they go. Crabby customers don’t help an already flustered newbie learn the ropes of good customer service.

Just as in child rearing, when a “no” is so much more memorable than a “yes” or a “good job,” so it is with customer service. Most people are nice — but a single nasty person can replace a day’s worth of great ones.

It sounds cheesy but it’s true: Be nice. Help someone else have a good day. Leave a bigger tip for the harried waitress if you can afford it. Thank the teller for taking enough time with you. Let the sales person know you appreciate it that she went to the back to check on availability of a product you wanted. When you call a business, hold patiently; the customer who has driven into town rightly takes precedence over the person who calls in (even though calling in might save you a trip).

Let’s all put ourselves in the other person’s place, and help each other along through the holiday season.

Be nice!