Monday, June 14, 2010


I wanted to complain to the manager. I felt as if I had just been sold a can of Pepsi but there was nothing inside.

But it wasn’t Pepsi I was complaining about. It was the greeting, if it could be called that, upon entering the store.

“Good morning, sir,” she said. “Welcome to the store.” Her words had the printed pleasantry of the outside of a Pepsi can, but her eyes, empty and dead, said there was nothing inside. She popped open her mouth but only dead air came out. She was an empty can. She was commercial but no fizz.

And I wondered, why bother?

I ended up talking about it with a few friends later that day. Mostly, they seemed to want an excuse for her empty greeting.

Maybe her goldfish died that morning. Maybe she was not looking forward to putting gas in her car because it was so hot and humid. Maybe her boyfriend left his socks in the middle of the floor that morning. And had we enough time, we could have come up with hundreds more possible excuses for her behavior.

What surprised me most about the discussion, was that no one came up with the more likely reason for her hapless hello. Maybe she was just an empty person. Someone for whom the marrow of meaning in life had been sucked out, leaving only the shell of a person waiting to wither and die. Yes, I know. That sounds really harsh, and I concede that it is. But I have met people like that.

However, I don’t blame her for the soulless salutation. That blame rests squarely upon the shoulders of her manager.

Yes, people have events that can alter the rest of their day, or even the rest of their lives. But if you’re the “greeter” of customers entering the store, and you’re little more than a dried-up lemon waiting to pucker the moods of those you meet, then it is the manager who needs to place you somewhere else in the store, or send you home.

On the other hand, I also realize that most people don’t even bother to care about such things. Customers are more concerned about getting to the sale item than whether or not their greeting is sincere or not. And maybe they’re right.

I may be just making much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, if you’re selling me a can of Pepsi, you need to be sure there’s something inside.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thought... I am one of those people who would really prefer to not be greeted at all. I am a member of this "new" generation.. but when I enter a store, I expect things to be efficient, not necessarily friendly. That being said, I wholeheartedly agree that if you are going to *have* a greeter.... they darn well ought to *greet*. Otherwise, it's just a waste of everyone's money and time.