Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Have a Nice Day!



“Have a nice day!”

I don’t recall when customer service staff in Australia started saying this, probably about 20 years ago, but I remember it really bothered some people at the time. It was seen as too American.

I can’t say I cared one way or the other, and to be honest, I wish we’d just stuck with “have a nice day” because the crap we have to put up with now is much more annoying.

I’m all for a bit of chit-chat at the checkout - I find it quite soothing while I’m handing over an arm and a leg - but I’m not up for the scripted ‘filler’ type of conversations.

At 9.30 in the morning at the supermarket checkout, “How has your day been so far?” leaves me a little blank. “Yeah, great thanks. I had cereal and some coffee. Actually two cups. Stayed in the bathroom a bit too long, and then I couldn’t find my favourite bra, so I only had time to put vegemite on the kids’ lunch rolls instead of chicken and mayo like I’d planned to. Walked the kids to school, saw some rabbits on the way, walked home, got in the car, found a parking spot, filled my trolley with much more than I’d intended, and now, well, here I am!”

It just pisses me off when they come up with those brainless scripted questions. Half the time I get someone friendly who just picks up on something I say in passing and we have a general chat about that. And that’s always good. But the other half give me a blank look, and serve me up something annoying like “So what do you have planned for the rest of the day?” I really don’t know what they expect from me, because I’m pretty sure if I ran through my plans for the rest of the day I would leave them in some kind of semi-comatose condition. So I just say something like “Nothing exciting” or “Just the usual” and leave the premises feeling like a giant boring loser on her way back to Loserville.

I’m reminded of the days many years ago when I regularly visited the hairdresser at night, because I worked quite long hours. After a gruelling 2-3 hour session of foils and cutting, I was handed over to the apprentice to dry my hair. At this point it would be close to 9pm, but every time without fail she would say “So where are you going tonight with your new hair?” She always seemed disappointed when I sheepishly confessed that I was just going home. To this very day I still can’t figure out where she expected me to be going after 9pm on a Thursday night.

And then there are the up-selling questions, particularly at the petrol station. “Would you like a chocolate bar and bottle of coke with that petrol?” Nope, I just paid a king’s ransom for the petrol, so I don’t need a $3 chocolate bar that I could buy in the supermarket for $1. But thanks for the offer.

Bring back “Have a Nice Day”. It might not always be sincere, but at least I can just smile and wave. 

Or better still, given that I’ve just emptied the contents of my wallet to pay for your products, if you can't manage to come up with something interesting, just say "hi" and "thank you" and leave it at that.






photo credit: Have a nice day via photopin (license)

18 comments:

  1. I'm definitely on your team with this one. I don't find the scripted questions engaging either. So I respond with, "Extremely gratifying....How's your shift?" They look a bit stunned at that.
    And hairdressers should not speak unless it is to ask what you want done or how you like your coffee. Everyone knows hairdresser appointments are for catching up on celebrity gossip magazines.

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    1. Not surprisingly, Wend, I have not been offered a cup of coffee at a hairdresser since I left Albert Park.Apparently they don't do that kind of thing in the Western Suburbs. Mind you, they don't charge as much either.
      I don't even have to speak much when I'm getting my hair done because the staff are too busy bitching about other staff members or previous customers. It's like theatre. I keep going back though - can't help myself.

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  2. I'm hearing you sister! Drives me absolutely nuts!! I always say something either totally outrageous (usually a complete fib) or just turn it right back at them and pepper them with questions, leaving them little time to process their task of serving me, let alone achieving their goal of being my new best friend. Or sometimes I say "Oh, that's an interesting question - why do you need to know?" then I walk out and say "Have a nice day"..................I am the shopper from Hell! Loving your work, btw...........xx

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    1. Ha ha, thanks Rhonda, I never picked you as the shopper from hell. And we've both been on the other side of the fence, with more performance pressure in challenging circumstances too. I'd like to think we were more professional and sincere than that!

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  3. The vapid conversations (if you get anything at all) at the checkouts are really annoying. I'm a little naughty and will usually have my headphones in listening to music so sometimes I'll just listen to that instead of trying to make idle and pointless chit chat!

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    1. Thanks Kirsty. Music sounds like a good alternative. I do like genuine conversations, just not the meaningless ones!

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  4. I ALWAYS trip up on the up-sell! Can't resist a 2-for-1. (stopping by with FYBF).

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    1. Hi Tonia. I would def go for the up-sell if it was actually a bargain, but that doesn't happen to me very often!

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  5. I agree, I'm often not in the mood for meaningless chit chat with a stranger who really doesn't care what I answer anyway. I wish we could have a banner above our head which stated "not today" to save everyone.

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  6. Lol, yes, Vicki, or a sign saying 'not available for comment until you say something genuine or interesting'.

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  7. Ha ha! I often just turn the tables and say "good, thanks, how's yours?" That's a guaranteed conversation stopper which means I can pay and go. Works every time :)

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    1. Hmm, so simple yet effective and polite. Why didn't I think of that? Thanks Sammie.

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  8. Oh my gosh, I must be the only one that enjoys a good old chat, even if it does start with 'how's your day been'. Probably because I work at home by myself and if I'm not, all I have is a 3 year old to talk to. Anyone wanting to have a chat is good by me! :)

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  9. Lol, Eva, I know where you're coming from. No, the chatting part is great, if there's genuine input from both sides. I just have trouble with the insincere open-ended questions from someone who is not really interested.

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  10. I couldn't agree more, Gael. I want my customer service to the point and polite, not chatty and friendly and learned by rote. I have other people in my life to have a conversation with and, trust me, if I wanted a coke I would have bought a coke. I'm amazing like that... x

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    1. LOL, Bron. I'm good at doing the up-buying myself without the up-selling.

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  11. That must be the standard check out question. Got much on for the rest of the day? My reply is usually "Not much". b o r I n g. I do like it though when I get a "have a nice day". Immediately uplifts me, so the rest of the day, just got better :)

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    1. Me too, Alicia. I've never had much of a problem with 'have a nice day'.
      And thanks for the retweet and follow on Twitter too.

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