As the nation’s leading armchair sociologist, I pay close attention to what people are saying, particularly people who are sending me on my way.
I then analyze their choice of words, draw lofty conclusions, and report these findings to you, my dear, devoted readers.
What you do with this knowledge is up to you, but if it involves the bottom of a birdcage, I don’t want hear to about it.
Two years ago, for example, everyone was sending me on my way with this offering, “Have a good one.” At the time, I recall thinking, “Wow, that is bold, telling me to have a good one. What if I don’t want a good one? And, what is ‘one’ anyway?”
And then last year, everyone was bidding me adieu with this declaration, “You are good to go.” Again, I recall thinking, “Wow, that is saucy, telling me I am good to go. What makes you such an authority on me? Maybe I am not good to go. Maybe I am falling apart at the seams, for @#$% sake!”
This year, everything is different. No one is telling me to “have a good one” or that “I am good to go.” Heck, they are not even telling me to “have a nice day.”
No, they are kindly asking, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
At the onset, I was quite touched by this inquiry and always answered with a polite, “Oh, yes, thank you for asking.” I may have even blushed, feeling so looked after by a complete stranger.
But as time went on, and I found myself being asked this question, over and over, I became downright suspicious of its origin. Too many people from too many different stores were all asking me the same question.
And so, sitting in my armchair one day, stewing about how preposterous this question was – at the tail end of shopping! – I came to the conclusion that higher-ups were coaching clerks to ask this question.
I even imagined the corporate meeting to define the strategy:
CEO: “Sales are down! We’ve got to show customers that we care. I know, let’s ask them something thoughtful as they are checking out.”
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PREZ: “How about: ‘Have you lost weight?’”
CEO: “No! That’s offensive. How about: ‘Did you find everything you were looking for?’”
PREZ: “No wonder you’re CEO!”
I must confess that, since my revelation, the urge to respond with a snarky retort has replaced the innocent blushing – but I never go there. No way! My heart goes out to anyone who must repeatedly ask this question. Personally, I don’t know how they do it. Leave it to me and I’d ask something like, “Did you find your good one in produce?”