Thursday, November 10, 2005

Flashback: Let me cram that smile up your aisle

Y'all.... As this serious lack of fresh bloggage is starting to get me down, I've dug up a little commentary I spewed out in another forum it seems like eons ago, just to fill some space. Perhaps that's a real faux pas in the world of Blog.. but then again, I also pee sitting down -- your rules mean notihng to me!!! Jeers, H.

“As a Club Card member, you saved $3.18 today, Mr. – ” The impossibly fresh-faced cashier pauses when she sees my ten letter-long last name at the bottom of my receipt.

“So,” I think, “What’s it gonna be today? C’mon, girl, sound it out!”

Clearly not a graduate of Hooked on Phonics, she bails and opts for the ever-popular say-it-fast fake-out technique, rapidly firing off an incoherent string of apparently random vowels and consonants – several of which are not in my name.

“If the checkout girl career doesn’t pan out,” I say under my breath, “you’ve got a future singing scat.”

Not her fault, though. Clearly we’re dealing with an edict from on high declaring that, in order to make me feel all appreciated and small-town neighbourly, cashier gal must address me by my name – be it Russian, Inuit or common harbour porpoise. Not sure what your focus group told you, Mr. Safeway (there is a Mr. Safeway, right?), but a complete stranger bungling my name – from a computer printout, no less – doesn’t make me feel like I’m Pa Ingalls buying provisions at Olsen’s General Store.

Then I’m at Thrifty Foods, where “Smiles in the Aisles” is not just a catchy slogan – it’s a freakishly accurate mantra. Every last employee I see (and some I don’t, I’m sure) flashes me this Vaseline-toothed Miss Canada grin that seems to say not “Hello, welcome. I’m pleased to help you,” but more like, “Hello, I’m trapped in a cult. Please help.”

At the checkout, my smiling cashier – Marcie, according to the smiley-face nametag – is cheerily assisted by another smiling employee (also Marcie), who affixes a neon smiley-face sticker to my only purchase, a jug of milk.

“Enjoy your milk,” she chirps.

Enjoy my milk? Granted, that’s probably the designated one-item shopper farewell on page 1821 of Thrifty's (no doubt rainbow-adorned) customer service manual. But I wonder: what would she say if I my one item were a pack of condoms, a bottle of Imodium… or a jumbo tube of Preparation H?

Give me the basics in customer service – a polite hello, correct change and unsquished Wonderbread – and I’m a happy shopper. Anything more is nice (indeed, mildly flirtatious banter with a supermarket cashier is the most action I get some weeks), but only if it is unforced.

If I want fake smiles, I’ll poke a gassy baby in the belly. If I want to be called by name, I’ll wear the freaking nametag. And whether I enjoy my Prep H.. well, that's my business.


At February 21, 2006 3:41 a.m., Anonymous open365dayz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At February 21, 2006 8:53 a.m., Blogger Havril said...

Goddamn spammers. The "Hi #NAME#" salutation was a clue. Think I'm going to turn on comment verification.


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