Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

02 August 2005

I know you I knew you, I think I can remember your name. Name.

Because I have a Safeway club card, they have my name on file. That means that whenever I buy food there, my name gets printed out on the receipt. That means, unfortunately, that all cashiers are required to say "Thank you for shopping at Safeway, Mr. [insert dreadful mispronunciation of my last name], have a nice day" whenever I pay. It's not just the fact that they mispronounce my name every single time that upsets me, it's the grating insincerity of the whole process. The idea of referring to customers by name is to make them feel at home, valued as a person, like they're part of a cozy little mom-and-pop shop where everybody knows them. But nobody does! Nobody knows who I am! They might recognize me because I've shopped there before, but that's the only interaction we ever have. I'm there to get my diced tomatoes and diapers, and I'm not really interested in chit-chat. If there was any genuine basis to this enforced ritual of pseudofamiliarity, they'd know how to pronounce my name correctly -- and since it's pretty difficult to suspend my disbelief when they don't, it becomes this horrible sand-in-the-guacamole gauntlet of irritation I have to run every time I go there.

Actually, they don't call me by name anymore because, after a year of complaining, they finally took my name off the receipts. And then, today, in the checkout line at the Guerneville Safeway, this happened. Verbatim, I swear.

Cashier: [tearing off receipt, glancing at it, handing it to me] Thank you for shopping at Safeway, Mr. Customer, have a nice day.


Me: Excuse me? What did you call me?

Cashier: Mr. Customer. [chewing gum, no eye contact] That's what it says.



Me: Okay then.


Blogger Slimbolala said...

Good story, Mr. Customer (at least they didn't mispronounce it - or did they?). There's a cashier at my corner drug store who always concludes every transaction with "Have a blessed day." in the most lackluster monotone possible. While this phrase is dictated by her religious beliefs, not her employing corporation, the insincerity is just as pronounced.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Fred said...

My last name is often mispronounced as, "moron," as in, "Have a nice day, Mrs. Moron."

Ha ha ha. It still catches me off guard, too, especially with telemarketers, to be called Mrs. Moron. The conversation usually goes something like this,

Other Poor Soul:"Is this Mrs. -uh- Moron?"
Me: Uh, what, who are you?
Other Poor Soul: I'd like to speak with Mrs. Moron. Is this Mrs. Moron?

And then all of these witty comments pass through my mind, like, "Mrs. Stupid is here. Will that do?" or "Hey, Pa, we got any morons here?" or "Hang on. My cousin, the Idiot, just stepped out. Let me get her." - well, you get the picture. Generally, I just hang up. I never say anything. Then I remind my husband how much I must really love him to become a moron by choice, when I could have just remained a simple Lee. What was I thinking? I'm such a moron.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Wesley said...

At least your account didn't get set up like this guy's.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Myke said...

Big companies are like that kid in junior high. You know, the one who tried so hard to fit in but who was too socially inept somehow. And you would try to be nice, but they would just say stupid stuff, and eventually you had to stop talking to them because it was just too embarrassing. And you had to keep your head down and not look them in the eye as you walked past.

You're going to have to stop looking Safeway in the eye.

10:33 AM  

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