December has been a typically busy month spent in more stores and restaurants than I care to admit. Thank god it’s almost over. Yes, a good reason for this burn out is simply excess shopping (good cougar) and excess eating (bad cougar). However, a bigger issue is this: I have never felt older and as belittled as I did in the weeks leading up to Christmas. What the hell is up with the service industry anyway and when did I start to get categorized?
Here are my top five most detested one-liners regularly served up to me in service world.
1. Hi ladies, what can I get for you?
For me, you can get some f-ing corporate training on how not to greet a group of women who have the misfortune of being seated in your area of the bar. What’s up with the “ladies” bullshit? I don’t want some 20 year old boob factory smarmying me up with some condescending grown up speak. Now if you’re 40 and I walk in with a friend and you ask me woman to woman if you can be of any help, okay. I can accept that. This “ladies” crap coming from a young thing hustling tips doesn’t work for me. Male waiters, you don’t score any points on this one either. Being called a lady doesn’t turn on my cougar radar and make me want to hunt you down and shag you. It makes me want to smack that oh so overdone, big tip expecting smile off of your baby skin face. Cut it out!
2. Right this way, miss.
Okay, miss what? Miss “you’re old enough to be my mother?” Miss “I’ll park your walker for you?” Miss “you’re never going to be able to get a date ever again?” Miss “she’s old but maybe she has some disposable income she can lay on the wait staff if I shovel out some fake respect?”
I don’t know when exactly I crossed the line from a neat “right this way” to having a “miss” thrown on the end, but I despise it and I want to knock every fucker out that lays it on me.
And for you gay guys who think it’s perfectly okay because we both know I’m never going to score with you anyway, it’s actually worse. When you, who appreciate beauty and youth throw “miss” in there you might as well just say “wow, you’re one ugly old lady.” Stop it!
3. Can I put you on hold for a moment, ma’am?
Let’s save it for the cowboys, shall we folks? There’s no inoffensive way to throw ma’am around unless you have a drawl and are wearing a cowboy hat and chaps. If you’re serving me over the phone and have a foreign accent, I’m going to guess that you’re not in the appropriate attire. It’s perturbing enough to be put on hold, but being called “ma’am” just before you stick it to me further with the elevator music is like a double burn. End it!
4. Are you finding everything you need, hon?
I’m sorry, do I know you? Intimately?
5. Hey, how’s it goin’?
I had to throw this one in just for the sheer annoyance of it. The trendy chain stores selling childrens clothes are the offenders here. It’s obvious that the twelve year old employees are instructed to greet every customer (e.g. parents buying clothes for their kids – the only people shopping there) in this hang-loose, easy going, we’re too cool for school kind of way. Sadly, I was in these stores enough to determine that every time I walked through the bloody door I was going to meet another fresh faced high schooler and get the same, disinterested, pat greeting. I’d totally prefer you smile at me sympathetically and keep your stupid naive mouth shut, and don’t ask me a question you really can’t handle the answer to.
What I’m strongly suggesting is that anyone serving me simply stick with a salutation that is both intelligent and unspecific in it’s address. Please don’t add anything cute, anything defining, anything totally insincere, anything intimate. Please let me enter and leave with my dignity. Whether I’m 20, 40, 60 or 80 be attentive but please, please, please don’t label me and keep it gender neutral and age free. This way, we can all get along.