ON my first day at work as a bank teller, the manager called me to his room and said in the tone of a father giving advice to his child: “Always be alert and careful when you are handling cash. Avoid small talk with the customer when you are counting money lest you lose your concentration and incur a cash shortage. You may be a teller, but you don’t have to say much most of the time.”
I nodded, and he continued: “Make a point of being courteous to every customer – remember that every bank account is of account. Courtesy is good for the person you’re dealing with, good for your own well-being, and certainly good for the bank’s balance sheet. Try to get more ‘smileage’ out of your work.”
Before he ended the conversation, he added: “I hope I can safely rely on you to work extremely hard.”
“I think I can depend on me to do my level best,” I said.
When I returned to my ergonomically designed work station, the chief cashier handed me a bundle of money and said: “Count this bundle of one-ringgit notes to make sure there are one hundred pieces.”
“May I use the machine to count the pieces?” I asked.
“No, you may not,” he said in a measured tone. “Count them manually. With practice, the task of counting paper money will soon be a piece of cake for you.”
Later, I related the counting chore to another colleague during our lunch break. “When I counted up to sixty-four, I said to the chief cashier: ‘If it is right this far, it’s probably right all the way. I’m returning the bundle to you now.’”
“I don’t believe you said that to the chief cashier,” he said. “You are pulling my leg, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m just trying to relax a bit.”
As I was about to leave the bank that day, I overheard the manager ask the chief cashier: “How is the new teller doing?”
“I think he will soon reflect in his work the confidence the management has in him,” the chief cashier replied.
“Ah,” I thought, “that’s music to my ears!”
Small talk: Light conversation on unimportant matters.
Make a point of: To treat (something) as important.
Do one’s level best: To make one’s best effort.
Make sure/certain: (i) To confirm. (ii) To ensure. (You should go early if you want to make certain of getting tickets for the show.)
(A) piece of cake: Something very easy to do or obtain.
Pull someone’s leg: To make fun of someone in a friendly way, especially by trying to make him believe something untrue.
Music to someone’s ears: Something very pleasant for someone to hear.