The Secret To Happy Consumers

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.


10 thoughts on “The Secret To Happy Consumers

  1. While I find a lot of what you mentioned annoying, my biggest pet peeve is the over-solicitous interruption – usually when I have food in my mouth (How is everything?) or when I’ve already told them I’m browsing and don’t need assistance (do you want a fitting room?). Also, I don’t give a rat’s ass what the server’s name is. I can see the name tag and I don’t feel bonded with the server just because of a formal introduction. Corporations have such incredibly poor customer service training!

      • We’re supposed to do it…. give our names, as part of our intro… I never do. Never. It sounds so insincere… and people sense the insincerity. If someone asks me or if I develop a relationship with folks over time, sure… no problem… my name is ( ), but not at the outset. Actually, we are supposed to say, “Hi! My name is ( ). I’ll be your server today.” Really? Isn’t that obvious? I’ve actually gotten points off on customer surveys because I don’t do it. My name’s on the check or you can ask me if you have some compelling interest. LOL.

  2. I have to say I don’t mind the Ms. It’s age neutral enough I think but I will shoot daggers for every “ma’am” that comes my way. As to hon, only London cabbies can get away with it

    • Is “miss” age neutral? Why do I always feel ancient when someone addresses me using it? Maybe because it sounds so old fashioned to begin with? Thanks for your thoughts. Happy new year!

  3. Wow. You are very astute!

    Some people just call everyone “hon.” I usually give them a pass once I realize that at least they are consistent. Certain people can get away with this and certain people cannot. It’s like the time I was running for public office and I kissed a baby. It was the creepiest thing anyone had ever seen. Lesson learned.

    One time a snot-nosed kid trying to sell something came to the door of our house and asked my wife if her mother was home. It was great fun watching my wife restrain herself!

    And don’t forget bartenders who card you just to score points. That never works on me.

    • Ah yes, the carding. That just gets super embarrassing after a certain age. Another case of youth acting smarmy and insincere. At that point I just want to smack them, but instead I give them the fake god-do-I-ever-hate- myself-right-now-for-playing-along smile. Thanks for your comment, shoutabyss.

  4. LOL! I am a waitress/bartender….I always say “Hi Ladies, What Can I Get You?” (Or some variation on that theme)… Unless, of course my customers are not women (or, on the rare occasion when I can’t tell). I’m 47 though, so I’m not doing it snarkily (I save the snarkiness for when, usually within seconds, someone manages to irritate me— usually by saying something ridiculous like, “I don’t want anything to drink. Just bring me a water.”— “Sure. Were you planning on bathing in it?”— see? Snarky!)

    Love these rules though, miss! Thanks for learnin’ me something, hon!

    Seriously, I enjoyed this post (and a few of some of the others I’ve had the pleasure of reading) immensely! Great stuff.

    • At 47 you get a total pass on the “ladies” thing. And I have just learned something about water and being a good customer :-).
      Thanks for giving me a little kick in the pants too!

  5. Pingback: Don’t call me ma’am | Campari and Sofa

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