Why did I read this book?
Lots of people recommend books to me…but this recommendation came from someone who is an avid
reader like me…I was surprised when he described this book “simple yet quite brilliant.” This gentleman
has hundreds of businesses and I have been fascinated by his company’s origin stories. This is one of
several books he makes his managers read. This book is slanted towards the restaurant business but its
lessons apply to any business. It was funny we had trouble even finding this book. It was quite popular
in the 1990’s… but it is not printed today (wasn’t available on Amazon as a print book). My dad had to
finds a used book store to get a copy. When I got this book, I shook my head…the book is goofy (the
author is holding a pickle with a silly grin on his face) …I basically thought the book would be cheesy.
But WOW….I was wrong. This book is super clever. The personal stories are fantastic and deliver his
lessons in a creative fashion. Mr. Farrell (who owns hundreds of ice cream stores) basically invented
putting candy next to the cash register. Brilliant. Kids bugging their parents when the money is out.
What is the book about?
The author describes his “Rules for Playing the Game of Life,” which I thought was especially clever.
(Remember this was written in the 90’s before these types of lessons became trendy).
- You will receive one body
- You will learn lessons
- There are no mistakes, only lessons
- A lesson is repeated until it is learned
- Learning lessons does not end
- “There” is no better than “here”
- Others are merely mirrors of yourself
- What you make of your life is up to you
- The answers are there
This book covers the basics of caring for the customer…”the customer is always right.” or “The customer
is the boss.” The best way to build a team is to be sure they are focused on the same objective, taking
care of the customer. Every other premise he speaks on touches on the central topic that the customer
is the boss. He then emphasizes the value of hiring the very best people….and continue training them to
keep being the best. The best employees share credit. “There is no limit to what a man can do if he
doesn’t care who gets credit. You need to be willing to sacrifice in order to help others succeed.
When it comes to the customers…. the details are what matter. Consistency, cleanliness, positive
attitude, and creativity. Think outside the box and constantly provide the best experience for your
employees and your customers. Your sales force should be the backbone of your company. Ultimately
this person will be responsible for what the customer thinks about your company.
The title “Give’em the pickle.” plays a fun role in the book. The pickle is that extra thing you give the
customer that they didn’t expect but love. It is the personal touch that keeps the customer coming
back. My favorite story in the book is about a man who had unshaven face and tattered clothes. This
man entered a bank and asked a teller to validate his 35-cent ticket (he indicated to the teller that he
didn’t have cash on him). The teller told the man “Sorry, if you didn’t do business in the bank today, I
can’t help you.” The man told her he would do some business after all. He asked to close his
account…The man had millions of dollars in his account. He got his validation and went across the
street and opened an account in the competing bank. She had a chance to give a customer a 35-cent
pickle and didn’t.
How will you apply what you learned?
This book reminds me of how important the little things are. Dressing the part…keeping your desk
clean…I used to love chaos around me. I would have files everywhere in my office. Books everywhere
in my places. I could never seem to be clutter free. That was a bad habit to have. Although I felt like I
was multitasking I now think I was just being lazy (another consequence of doing drugs…. you just get
lazy about things). I really enjoyed the positive messages this book provides. I found that already
subscribe to a great deal of his philosophies…but it made me want to circle back and work on some
areas I still need improvement. You can find success in what you do when you focus on the details. You
are never too old to keep learning lessons. I feel like this book reminded me of how important the basics
are. When I get out, I want to focus on not only rebuilding my life but also being a great friend, son, and
getting back to outworking others. Remembering what made me successful in the first place is
something I had forgotten. Fun book. Really enjoyed it.