Maybe it comes with getting older, but lately I've been taking note how society's standards seem to be slipping. A few weeks ago I was eating at Mallorca with family, and a man eating a couple of tables over was wearing a baseball cap. Now I wear baseball caps to a lot of places -- maybe more often than I should -- but a restaurant like Mallorca isn't one of them. As Tony Soprano would say, They don't serve hot dogs here.
I thought of this Friday when I was at Kennywood with my wife and kids, as a slouching ride worker walked over to open the gate to let my son and I on to the carousel. He was holding a cup of water in his teeth and he wore an otherwise blank expression. I noticed then that all the park employees wore Kennywood T-shirts -- many without name tags -- that made them indistinguishable from the guests. Maybe it's been a few years, but I remember when the staff at Kennywood all wore the same color polo shirts, and they were just a little quicker to smile and tell you to enjoy the ride.
Now I don't mean to be too hard on Kennywood. We had a great time -- the park is still clean and family friendly, and for the most part we got good service and enjoyed good food. But my experience there reminded me how important is attention to detail, and how everything an organization does speaks to its image. After all, public relations isn't just about how you promote yourself. It's about how you treat your customers. It's about the quality of your product. It's about making good decisions. A well-run organization is always the best public relations.