"How are you doing today?" - Seriously?

Posted On: Saturday - March 31st 2018 7:49PM MST
In Topics: 
  Humor  Curmudgeonry  Big-Biz Stupidity  Customer Care

I'll start first with the Curmudgeonry part: Big Business likes total control of the actions of their employees these days. You've talked to people, I'm sure, on customer support (oops, "customer care") lines who are working off of a script. It's probably something like a flow chart, but so computerized that the dot-Indian named Conner may have a real problem if you interrupt with "how are you doing this morning?". He may even have to cntrl-alt-delete out of his system, and start all over. That tends to piss people off on both ends.

The big corps. really want to take judgement and decision-making away from the employees as much as they possibly can. Is it that this is really necessary, since we are after all, nearing Peak Stupidity? Nah, it's probably due to an oversupply of moronic MBA's. The stupid may exist on the other end versus the way the CEO sees it.

Anyway, lots of retail chains have cashiers who are trained to say the same one line to the customers, though maybe it changes every few years to shake up the whole corporate ladder as a new MBA comes up with something. "Have a nice day!" is kind of 1970's and only really worked in California, when there was still something left of it. For a while now, at the grocery store it's been "did you find everything OK?" I don't really get the question as well as I should after many hundreds of times hearing it. No, I usually have forgotten something. If I don't find something, I often ask - does that mean I should answer in the affirmative? I didn't come here for everything, cause some things are lots cheaper at another store. "Well, I'm here." is usually the answer. It's kind of noncommittal, seeing as the girl cashier does not really give a shit what I say. Her job is done.

Now, the most recent thing is just a simple "how are you doing today?" That's a lot better, almost like it's something people might say even if they haven't read and acknowledged the three memos from corporate. A few days back though (yeah, OK, finally to the humor part), after they'd just implemented this new MBA-thesis-inspired cashier-greeting-analysis-team-approved program, a lady customer in line was buying just one item. That's a good thing. I'm not much of a shopper and was ready to get out of there. The one item was tampons, and there was no hiding them, especially from an avowed expert.

The cashier, with no thought whatsoever goes "how are you doing today?", per new store policy. "How the hell do you think she's doing, she's buying nothing but a pack of tampons? It's not like she's stocking up along with the rest of the groceries; this is more a flow issue.", I go thought. Well, how often are you going to get a chance to make a joke like this? It may never occur again before the cashier-greeting has been changed. Therefore, I had to try it on at least to the young man bagging the groceries. Not too awful loudly, I said "hey, I don't think you even need to ask her that today." Yeah, I got a smile - see it's all in the delivery, and I thank the corporate office for their support for this joke.

PS: As someone who is somewhat familiar with computers and software, I can see a nice plug in (no, not literally) to the cash register computer to stop any foh paws that may result from the current cashier-greeting policy. Why not scan a few items first, and then say whatever it is supposed to be? Weird, you say? Think of the benefits though - if a birthday cake is scanned through, the cashier will be told via her screen "Say 'Happy Birthday', yeah right now, dammit!" Maybe it's a larger than normal amount of vegetables and not meat products. The screen will read "Say, 'yeah, hear about those poor seal lions they've been oppressing at the zoo?! We should do something!' - no don't DO ANYTHING - we don't allow any political activities by our employees! Just say that.". Next, the Tampax comes across the red-laser eyes of your scanner - screen says "Just shut it. Don't say a word; it'll only make things worse for you."

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