Decoding service-speak: 5 employee insults you need to know

Aaaron Amat/Shutterstock
Aaaron Amat/Shutterstock
Spend enough time around customer service agents and you understand that what they say and what they mean are often two very different things. That’s never more apparent than when they are talking directly to you.

Fortunately for these employees, they’ve developed a secret lexicon of words and phrases that can only be interpreted in one way by the general public, but that to them mean something quite specific and often insulting.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance. Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

For example, let’s say you’ve just boarded a flight and you’re sending a message from your phone as the cabin doors close. Flight attendants are roaming the aisle to ensure all seatbelts are fastened and electronic devices are turned off.

Just as you hit “send” and start powering down your smartphone, you feel a hard tap on your shoulder and see a grimacing crewmember looming over you.

“You need to turn off your phone all the way, hon,” she intones in a singsong voice.

Now, if you were to read a transcript of the conversation, it would seem as if the flight attendant was being perfectly polite. But you know better. You know what the employee meant by “hon,” and it wasn’t hon.

By the way, that’s not a hypothetical case. I’m writing this on a plane and it just happened to me. Message received!

Here are a few other phrases to watch for.

“For your convenience”
Whenever a company claims to have done anything for your “convenience,” look out. Did they add a tip to your bill for your convenience? Remove an essential service or amenity for your convenience? Are they adding a fee for your convenience? Odds are, they mean the exact opposite – it’s actually done for their convenience and, usually, their enrichment.

“Your call is very important to us”
This phrase, sometimes also “Your business is very important,” is often used when telling a customer to get lost. You’ll hear it just after the automated phone system cheerfully announces that you have a two-hour wait time to speak with a customer service agent. “Your call is very important,” the voice adds. “For faster service, please call back between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.” No one ever tells you your business is important unless they’re inconveniencing you; usually after a dealership has refused to take back the lemon it sold you last week or an airline pockets your entire airfare after your plans change. It’s nonsense, of course.

“At this time”
Whenever a company uses “at this time,” it indicates you’re about to encounter corporate intransigence of the highest order. For example, yesterday I asked a well-known hotel chain to help me answer a reader who had been denied a room discount. A representative from the corporate office emailed me a few hours later to offer a terse explanation of its decision and then added, “We have no further comment at this time.” When a representative uses “at this time,” she really means, “If you don’t like it, you can stick it.” Got it?

“Have a nice day”
Did you really think they wanted you to have a nice day when they said that? Duh. If, in the course of a customer transaction — and this is especially true if it’s an unpleasant one — someone tells you to “have a nice day,” chances are they mean the reverse. It’s the ultimate “[expletive] you!” saying for customer service agents who are not allowed to use salty language when dealing with customers. But the true meaning is impossible to miss. Since I live in Orlando, we also have a theme park version: “Have a magical day!”

“We look forward to welcoming you back”
I see this phrase tacked onto the bottom of so many form letters addressing someone who was otherwise treated in a horrible way by a company, that I now understand what they actually mean: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance!” Of course, they’re not allowed to say that. But when they look forward to welcoming you back, it gives them the satisfaction of knowing it’s what they meant.

Granted, it’s possible that when an employee says something has been done for your convenience, or that your business is important, they actually mean it. Context is everything. But I’ve heard these phrases frequently convey rage or insult toward a customer.

What’s the best response? Reflection. When someone calls you “hon,” you can call them “hon” right back. Just make sure you get the inflection right, hon. If someone says they’ve added a gratuity for your “convenience,” you can always remove it from your bill for “their convenience.”

Have a nice day? No, you have a nice day.

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93 thoughts on “Decoding service-speak: 5 employee insults you need to know

    1. Or “hopefully.” I had a boss who told me he’d fire anyone who gave him a status report that included the adverb “hopefully.”

      1. I just love people who ignore inconvenient realities. Even if by some miracle your business’s internal workings are all superb, there’s always going to be some partner or vendor with a spotty record where you end up crossing your fingers hoping they hold up their end. And even if that all goes well, you still end up hoping the marketplace views your efforts favorably. Like I heard somebody once say “You can make some of your own luck, but anybody who thinks you can make it all is a damn fool.”

        1. Yeah, the guy was a jerk, but he did have a point. I shouldn’t tell a client that “hopefully we’ll get that done for you on time.”

  1. Well… I guess I’m a really jerk. I tell people to “Have a nice day” all the time. I also say “thank you” when food is delivered.

    Then again, I also turn off my phone as soon as I see that boarding has slowed/stopped realizing that the cabin door is about to close. At the very least, I turn off my gadget as soon as they make the announcement instead of waiting until I get a personal invitation to comply with a crew member’s instructions. Lucky for all of us this is going away with the new FAA policy.

    1. It’s the tone in which expressions are delivered, not the actual words themselves. I believe that Chris made that point early on with the comment about a transcript. There’s a difference between “Thank you!” delivered with a friendly expression or smile that reaches to the eyes and “Thaaankkkk yuuuuuuu” delivered in a singsong voice with a smirk on the face of the person “thanking” you.

    2. We will still have to turn off our cell phones even after the airlines begin to follow the FAA policy. So you will still have those passengers who need that personal invitation to hang up.

          1. Simple follow up @elliottc:disqus … What would you preferred her to say? “Hey idiot! We told you before we shut the door that you needed to turn it off and then after we shut the door. Do you need a personal invitation to do everything? How about you get some time on the concourse to finish that email while you wait on the next flight?” Methinks you’d take what you got… It also sounds a lot better too. 🙂

          2. How about “Sir”?

            “Hon” or “Sweetheart” reminds me of the gum-chewing, sarcastic character of Flo the waitress on that old sitcom, “Alice”. It’s done for effect and it’s done to be a smart-ass.

  2. I truly despise it when people other than my husband call me “Hon”, “Dear”, “Sweetie”, “Darling” etc. I don’t like it when people try to be chummy and try to call me by my first name, which they invariably mispronounce. I’m sure I’ll spend the rest of the day thinking about the nuances of customer-speak, so I will wait to see what others will contribute.

    What I’m REALLY waiting for is for Raven to chime in. I’m sure he’s got some great examples from his girlfriend, after having worked for Di$ney. C’mon Raven, it’s going to be a craptastic day for me, so brighten it, please!

    1. I don’t mind people mispronouncing my name the first time, but they’d better get it right after being corrected. It’s funny to watch people in action with that. The good ones will hear what you said and nail it from that point on, the next tier down will realize they probably won’t get it right so they switch to general terms to avoid making the mistake again, and the bad ones will be so into reading their script in their mind that they’ll butcher it repeatedly, oblivious to the fact you’ve told them they’re saying it wrong.

      1. How do they mispronounce Joe? And now I am curious how to pronounce Jeanne. I’m a Michael, so pretty much everyone, even another countries, gets it right. Thought I have a friend from Kentucky who says Maakel, but that’s just her accent and I find it funny.

        1. I believe he was talking about the Messina…

          And my name sounds funny in English to me. The correct pronounce in Portuguese is like Elliot, without the “T”

        2. My name is pronounced with one syllable. You really wouldn’t believe the variations I’ve heard on it and the people who insist that *I* am mispronouncing my own name. Jeannie (as in “I Dream of . . .”) is pronounced with 2 syllables.

          I do have a friend named Mike who used to call me “Jeannie” because he says that there’s an “e” at the end. I told him the “e” is silent. Didn’t help. So I started to call him “Mikey”. He now correctly pronounces my name. 🙂

          1. I hate the people who insist someone is stating their own name incorrectly. I have to admit, I thought yours was the two syllable version until you said it wasn’t, sorry. 🙁

            What gets me are people who call me Mike, even after I tell then I don’t wish to be called that. They just keep using it. On the other hand, I have no problem with Mikey.

          2. jeanne, i hear you!! why do people think that because the name ends in “e” that it somehow must be preceded with an “i” when pronounced?
            or they can pronounce it correctly, they just omit the final “e” when spelling it – or in your case, the final “ne”.

          3. Well, there was Bette Davis…who pronounced it “Betty”…
            And then there is Bette Midler, who prounces it “Bet”

          4. true, kara, but they are/were celebrities whose names are widely known. i have another friend “jeanne”, and i asked her if it was one syllable or two when i first started corresponding with her. my godmother was also “jeanne” – only one syllable, but i had a co-worker who pronounced her name with two syllables.
            to me, it’s just a matter of courtesy to ask.

        3. Messina isn’t my real last name. Suffice it to say that it’s a real treat for me when somebody pronounces it right the first time!

      2. I figured Joe is Joe, but it’s Messina they’re messing up, right?. Messina is pronounced as in Loggins and Messina? (I am really showing my age here.)

      3. I gave up worrying about getting the name right. Invariably its Mr. Carver or Mr. Clark. As long as you don’t call me late for dinner 😀

  3. The canned responses may be irksome, but the worst response of all, when you have taken the trouble to write up a problem, is no response at all. When companies go online, there is an irresistible temptation for the corporate bean counters to fire all the CSR people and let the website handle everything. Don’t do that!

    1. Amen, Alan. In early September, I got tripped up by an error on Walmart’s website. I emailed them about it right away and was promised a response “within 24 hours.” Nothing. Over the ensuing two months, I have sent five additional polite emails, including two to the Executive Vice Presidents Chris lists in his “Company Contacts” section, and one to the CEO, Mike Duke, himself. Still nothing, and the error is still on the website. Incredible. I guess most people just go away. Not me. 🙂

  4. My soon-to-be-bride was a Di$ney Cast Member awhile back. She always says, “Have a magical day” really means: “Screw you, the horse you rode in on, the priest who blessed the event, and the rabbi who made it kosher!”


    1. Haha, I worked for the mouse too, and this was the very first thing that came to my mind when I saw this article! It must be said with a big smile too!

      1. The comic geek in me says that’s the favorite expression of the X-Men known as Beast. I’m sure it predates that.

        1. I should have known that someone as erudite as yourself would know that! I had to go look up the origin of the phrase when I first read it years ago, and it is much older than Hank McCoy.

  5. Another one that seems to be gaining in popularity in response to emails:

    “Your concern has been directed to the appropriate department for review.”

    In other words, they hit delete so fast you should be happy you got a response.

  6. Yep, in the south when a female says “Bless your (little ol) heart” what Raven said plus, “Eat s— & die”.
    Southern gals are are so sweet when they tell you to get bent.

  7. And then there’s the southern-speak — “bless her heart” means “that rancid witch,” “brainless idiot,” “(insult of your choice)” in most cases.

  8. When someone says to me they can’t help “at this time”, I smile nicely, even on the phone, and ask “what about another time?”. It doesn’t always get me anywhere but it throws the CSR for a loop. A variant would be “if you can’t do anything now, what about in 5 minutes?”

  9. Disingenuousness is a good word for this. A lack of sincerity with a tinge of lying. Happens all the time, nowadays. The words are there, but they are vacuous.

    Just last night, after taking me over 20 minutes, and three complete “ring-ups” of my purchases at the Walgreens cash register, the manager on duty apologized for the mistakes preventing me from getting the $10+ in savings on AARP discount day. He said one thing, but his lack of eye contact, his body language, his tone all said another. As I left the store, he said, “I am sorry,” and I responded, “No, you’re not.”

    1. It’s the law in many places. However, carefully read the menu first, before ordering. Sometimes it is plainly revealed there will be a required gratuity. Can you remove a “required gratuity?” Seems doubtful. It’s like that pesky “service charge” or “resort fee” at hotels, when they are plainly revealed before you book.

      1. A very cursory read suggests that the law regarding automatic tips is in flux, some courts finding that the very nature of a tip is that its voluntary. Apparantly, not to be dissuaded, some restaurants are calling it a service charge, the rationale being a service charge is not voluntary and thus enforceable. I’m skeptical that will work as most groups probably do not give a tradition 15-20% about the service charge.

        1. I thought that you could ask the restaurant to remove the tip and then pay the bill plus what YOU want to tip. Otherwise, if you don’t pay the bill with the tip included, you’re skipping out on the bill.

          1. To clarify

            Regardless you must pay the base bill. As far as removing the automatic tip, you can always ask. I would not expect a restaurant to agree, that’s why this is so murky. Depending on the local law, you might be doing a dine and dash. Personally, If the restaurant refused to remove it, I would put in on a second card then the charge.

            And is that ethical. Yes. It’s not a voluntary agreement if one side has the power of the criminal courts, e.g. filing criminal charges if you don’t comply.

  10. “By the way, that’s not a hypothetical case. I’m writing this on a plane and it just happened to me.”

    I agree with most everything Chris wrote in this article, but the line above really shows there is another side to all this: It’s ALWAYS worse when it happens to you. If it’s the person across the aisle getting this same speech, unless it was in the absolute worst tone imaginable, Chris would agree with the flight attendant and wonder why the person didn’t put his phone away quicker. (And I’ve seen flight attendants have remarkable patience as somebody just had to finish a call or text even after being politely asked to shut off the phone.)

    1. I watched someone cop an attitude (and say really nasty things to the person on the other end about the FA in a loud voice) after the 3rd time a FA asked him to turn off his phone while we were taxiing and well after the safety briefing. I honestly wondered if we were getting ready to turn back.

      1. I saw a guy after the third warning to end is call tell the FA he was working on a deal worth more than she will make in her lifetime, and if she ruins it for him, he will ruin her. Sadly the FA walked away and did nothing. I was seriously hoping we would go back to the gate and meet the police. That guy was one serious A$$. I am sure there is a nice warm place waiting for him.

        1. This is why I keep a porn groove on my phone. I would’ve played it while he was trying to “close his deal…”

          But then, I’m a snarky bastard.

  11. I have to say, I recently used “Have a nice day” in just the way you described. I was being treated very rudely by a potential customer. He gave me an opening to end the conversation so I laid down the “polite” words and hung up. Just because I am in service doesn’t mean I will accept nasty treatment. I am still a person and deserving of common courtesy until I’ve done something to deserve otherwise.

  12. I recognize many of these terms and agree. Especially “for your convenience”. I am a bit surprised that Mr. Elliott was told to turn his device “all the way off”. It is my recent experience that the flight attendants walk down the aisles and seemingly don’t notice a thing. I’ve been on United flights recently where people have played games on their Ipad right from leaving the gate through to takeoff. I was on another United flight where the plane was landing, and this guy was sleeping with his head on the tray table. Flight attendants walked by at least twice, didn’t notice or do a thing.
    That said, the story certainly rings true for the most part.
    However, there are also a great many pleasant customer service transactions where I do believe the customer service agent does want you to have a nice day and has had a pleasant experience with the customer.
    I recall when I recently purchased a mobile hotspot and wanted it unlocked. I had called the very next day after buying it. The girl was very pleasant, agreed to “make an exception” and unlock it for me. She ensured I had the correct instructions and it was a genuinely pleasant experience.

  13. Regarding “Have a nice day”, I’ll defer to a quote from Billy Connolly:

    “Which would you rather have? Someone say ‘Have a nice day’ and not mean it, or someone say ‘F**k off’ and mean it?”

  14. I had no clue that when I said “Have a nice day” during all those years in the service industry, I was actually wishing the opposite. I think it’s presumptuous to assume that the staff has any ill will towards the customer after an unpleasant experience (unless the customer has become abusive).

      1. “If, in the course of a customer transaction — and this is especially true if it’s an unpleasant one — someone tells you to ‘have a nice day,’ chances are they mean the reverse.”

        That isn’t what it sounds like to me.

  15. Customer “disservice”.

    A warm welcome, smile, and handshake, to reaffirm you’ve been taken.

    Since when is a Mandatory 20% Gratuity a “Convenience”?
    – How “Convenient”. I pay 20% whether or not your service is Good.

    We accept Credit Cards FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE (Bills).
    – Gee Thanks. My wallet feels lighter already.

    Your call is Important to Us – Please continue to Wait.
    – Is that BEFORE or AFTER you’ve hung up on me and transferred the call 10 times?

    We look Forward to Welcoming You Back:
    – The feeling is mutual. See you when “Hell Freezes Over” and I get a glass of Ice Water.

  16. I can’t get hung up on what they say. I’m not their friend, nor will I ever be, so what they say in the context of this report means nothing. Is the problem solved, or isn’t it?

  17. My favorite is the service speak we don’t get to hear, such as referring to pax as “Self Loading Cargo” My flight attendant friend told me a whole list for things they say behind our backs, sadly I can’t remember most of them. She also said they always dare each other to say “Crotch Check” on the intercom, and often do.

    Some of the above terms are actually used for good as well as for bad. For example, I was at a Fairfiled Inn in Wisconsin and had my clothing dry cleaned via pickup and delivery. When I got back, I asked for them at the front desk, and the employee said it was slow in the afternoon so he ran them up to my room for my convenience. I thanked him and told him to have a nice day, and he told me to have one as well. Also when I was checking out of the Ritz a few months ago (A free stay on points I might add, Chris, 😉 ) the concierge who had been assigned to me said it had been a pleasure and that she looked forward to welcoming us back.

    A far a the phone hold message stating, “Your call is very important to us.” What they really mean is, “Your call is very important to you, and we don’t really give a $#!&.”

    1. For the love of whatever deity of your preference please don’t call the stay on points ‘free’ to Chris; I can’t handle that again. 🙂

          1. Chris,

            Better than arguing “Free”, maybe a reversal in approach is better.

            What loyalty, products, or purchases were necessary to accrue the points? If at any time money has exchanged hands, then strings were attached. A smile and good graces weren’t enough.

    2. Points are “Earned” or “Acquired” in exchange for loyalty. You aren’t given these perks for good graces and a smile.

      I.E. Signed up for a credit card, made purchases, stayed at hotel, bought airline tickets, so on and so forth.

  18. Yesterday, I called the customer service of a retail chain asking for information about a delivery which was supposed to arrive at Oct 31. The guy told me he will open a call, and they need one week to answer me… in a delivery which was 5 days late!

    And, of course, he ended the call with a “Have a nice day sir, we appreciate your business!”

  19. I voted “yes,” but a better description would be “annoyed.”

    Worker: …… hon.
    Traveler: Thanks, Babe.

    Worker: … for your convenience
    Traveler: What you should do is……(serve larger portions, leave on time, etc.) for your convenience.

    Worker: We look forward to welcoming you back.
    Traveler: After such treatment: not in this lifetime.

    Worker: Have a nice day.
    Traveler: Thanks, but I have other plans.

  20. I’d also appreciate it if customer service people would lose “dear,” “darling,” “honey,” “sweetheart,” “doll,” and “sugar” when speaking to me. It’s one thing if someone in my personal life uses those phrases, but customer service people, you are NOT in my personal life. You are there to render me a professional service. Please keep it professional.

  21. This writer must be a real piece if he thinks that people are being sarcastic every time someone says “thank you” to him. Maybe if he feels he needs special attention for everything and can’t follow basic courtesies, he’s setting himself up to test the limits of patience for the customer service people.

  22. Meh – I say ‘fine’ when I’m not and ask others how they are when I really am not overly interested. Gotta let some obvious fake niceties slide.

    1. I recently had a serious medical issue, went for lab work and as I was led in to room for the blood draw. As I was being escorted, the tech actually ask me ‘how ya doin taday’. Really? In medical facilities, maybe that isn’t the correct greeting!

      1. I usually am honest with that – I am anxious and unhappy and I say that. The last person was lovely in response and I left feeling somewhat soothed.

  23. “Hon” has ALWAYS offended me, no matter who’s saying it in whatever context. If I’m not married to you, if you’re not a relative, please don’t call me “Hon”.

  24. Let’s add to the list, “I’m sorry to hear that.” As in:

    Clerk: “Did you find everything you’re looking for?”
    Me: “No, I was looking for the item in the ad.”
    Clerk: “I’m sorry to hear that.” Period. End of sentence. End of conversation. No offer to give me a raincheck or call someone to see if there’s more in a back room or something like that.

    Last year I actually said back to a clerk, “No, you’re not.” just to see if the clerk was listening. No, she wasn’t. Normally I would never be so rude, as I’ve worked retail when I was younger. I did ask for a manager and apologized to both the young lady and to the manager for lipping off to the clerk. The clerk did say she wasn’t listening, so I felt less bad.

  25. i’ve got one more. the CSR who’s (finally) taken my call and is trying to type information on [her – for some reason it’s usually female CSRs who do this] computer and wait for whatever the next screen may be, yet keeps saying, “one second, please”, then repeats it constantly!! even though we both know it’s going to take longer than “one second”.
    she can’t type that fast, then she has to read the next screen to figure out what the next step is, so the constant – like every 5 seconds – “false assurance” is irritating.

  26. Great article Chris. I work in a call center and many of my “clients” do not get my gender correct. This first few times they call me honey, sweetie or dear I gently advise them of my gender. After that I just accept that they are hearing what they want to hear and ignoring the rest.

    When I use at this time It means “Until policy changes” which can happen and occasionally does. At the end of my calls I genuinely wish my callers a nice day for one reason. Even if I was not able to solve their issue (and many times I can’t) I do want them to have a nice day. I don’t take negative responses directly to heart because I know it’s directed to the agency I work for.

    I did have one caller recently who after explaining what happened and how replied to me with two words. The first starting with F and the second ending with U. I calmly replied thank you. He realized what how he was acting apologized and we were able to handle the rest of the call civilly.

  27. My husband and I were giving our drink order in a diner. He ordered coffee with honey and cream. She brought the coffee and cream and asked if there was anything else. As she turned to walk away, he said, “Honey.” She whirled around and snarled, “What???” And before my husband could say anything, she said, “Oh, yeah. Honey.” She then laughed over it and we still do.

  28. from the makers of “have a nice day” comes- “is there anything else i can help you with”– from someone who did not help AT ALL.
    i know it’s a script, but it should be “is there anything else i can do to dispoint and piss you off?”

  29. response to @AH —
    I agree, that’s why I will preface a lot of typing at the ticket counter with ….”so sorry, this will take a few minutes”….or make some kind of joke like “it seems like I’m typing a manuscript to War and Peace but I will be done in a short while”……at least let people know what’s taking so long and why.

    Unfortunately, I have a “help” desk I frequently have to call and they never do this; in fact, when you ask for help they just start typing/ clicking on their keyboards with no explanation, advising a time estimate of what they are doing or why. The silence is maddening until finally they say – okay just ignore and retrieve your record…….no apologies, no explanations, no instruction. I usually have to pull it out of them what they did to fix something. Very rude, very unprofessional and sorry to say, these are my “coworkers” in the same company !!
    –(sorry this is directed to commenter AH about CSR’s who keep saying “one second please” (annoying) – you’ve already used your one second at the word “one”.

  30. I believe Winston Churchill said it best (something to this effect)…..”the definition of diplomacy is being able to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions”.

  31. Buh bye= BYE

    have a good day= have a good day
    You have a great day now= I hope your day sucks

    I sincerely say what I mean and mean what I say buy, I’m a rarity im service these days. I actuality care about my customers because if I didn’t why am I there?

  32. I try the “Have a nice day,” only if “Thank you for calling. I’ll pass it along” or “I understand. I’ll pass it along” don’t work. Bear in mind, I work in a newsroom and if I can get the caller’s question answered, I will. If I can’t, I’ll try to get the caller to someone who CAN help them. If they absolutely refuse to either A: End the call and let me get back to work or B: Get abusive (as in using profanity), then the “Have a nice day” comes out. Our dear, now retired receptionist said, “All the drunks have the newspaper on speed dial.” LOL. I have threatened to embroider that and hang it in my cubicle.

    “Bless your heart” is not always derogatory, even in the South. If said to one’s face, in response to someone having a rough time, it’s sincere. It’s when you hear two women (usually) say, “She’s ugly as a mud rail fence, bless her heart,” that it starts being ugly. It’s a highly nuanced phrase. 🙂

    I had this nimrod call me from a media outlet in Noo YAWK (which shall remain nameless). It was 7:15 a.m. CST and none of the reporters had made it in yet. They rolled in about 8 a.m. I told the caller the reporter he wanted to speak with would be in about 8 a.m., to which he replied, “It IS 8 a.m.! It’s 8:15!”
    I said, “Yes, if you’re on Eastern time, that’s correct. However, we are on Central time and it’s just 7:15 here.”
    Instead of saying, “Oh, I didn’t know, I’ll call back” or similar, I got, “You’re not on Central time!” (if you can believe it).
    That tore it. I was on deadline and I snapped, “Listen here. Just because I’m from Alabama doesn’t mean I can’t tell time! We’re on CENTRAL time! You know, like Chicago! Ever heard of Chicago? Well, we’re in their time zone!” (Granted, we are on the eastern edge of the Central zone, but we are definitely on Central time.)
    I got a very quiet “Oh” on the other end, and I threw out, “You have a niiiiice day, now!” and hung up. I told my editor and he just rolled his eyes.
    It’s that kind of thing that makes me throw my excellent customer service skills out the window. LOL.

  33. From strangers, I cannot STAND these silly terms of endearment. They are fake and insulting.

    Customer service people should be taught to be as formal as possible.

    Formality is a form of respect. Sir or ma’am will do. I am not your friend. And I do not intend to come to your home for tea and cookies. So don’t call me “hon” or anything else.

    I tended bar for 5 years. There were certain terms that would assure a customer would get my best efforts to ignore them. Those were, “yo” “chief”, “buddy”, “dude”, etc. I took the time to let the customers know my name. I expected them to use it. Otherwise, they could get their beer at another establishment.
    The point is, manners in a customer/vendor situation, cut both ways.

  34. When traveling I have my retired USAF Id Card in a holder with my passport. The initial person saw the card. Thanked me for my service. Next up was a very complete pat down. Just about had a cavity search. Found that to be a very creative way of thanking me for my service.

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