Inter-Stella

In the recent film Interstellar, a team of astronauts are sent far from Earth to try to find a new home for humanity. Due to the effects of gravity, time appears to run differently for the astronauts and for those left on Earth. With each message the astronauts receive, greater and greater amounts of time appear to have passed for the senders, so the astronauts observe increasingly marked differences in the speech and appearance of the senders.

So it is for me – currently back in the UK for a biannual visit. Because I am not here all the time, those gradual, creeping changes that would probably go unnoticed for people here all the time, stand out like a sore thumb to me. One such change is the now widespread habit of padding out simple exchanges in retail outlets with empty and meaningless platitudes. Whereas the process of ordering a pint was once as simple as :

Barman – “What can I get you?”
Customer – “Pint of Stella please”

We now have…

Barman – “Hi guys how are you today?”
Customer – “yeah I’m good thanks how are you?”
Barman – “Yeah I’m cool – what can I get you today?”
Customer – “Pint of Stella please”
Barman – “Great”
Barman – “Do you want any nuts with that at all?”
Customer – “No thanks”
Barman – “OK – is there anything else I can help you with?”
Customer – “No”
Barman – “Did you find everything you were looking for today?”
Customer – “err yes I guess so”
Barman – “That’s great”

Now I don’t mean to sound uncharitable, but what an utter load of bollocks. Some twonk at head office has decreed that its front of house staff go through this upselling/data mining charade everytime a customer walks through the door. Does it sound friendly, welcoming and warm? No. To me it sounds utterly insincere, which is actually the exact opposite of its intended purpose. Especially when the script is obviously out of sync with reality, like asking the knackered driver of an HGV if he’s “been anywhere nice?” or is “Having a great day?” Of course he’s bloody not. He’s having a shit day – and you’ve just made it a little bit more shit by pointing out the shittiness of it.

Do we in the UK always have to slavishly follow this US drone speak? Whatever happened to bloody common sense

Have a nice day y’all

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