August 9, 2011

Do you think that, if we all banded together and focused all our energy really intensely, like Sauron searching for the One Ring, we could get cashiers and tellers and so on to stop saying, “Next guest, please”?

“Oh, I thought I had to buy these office supplies,” I always want to say, “but if I’m your guest then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if I just used them for free, right?”

Or, “Gee, thanks for inviting me over to your establishment to see this movie free of charge!”

Or, “This food that you cooked for me and fed me for free was so delicious; I really appreciate your hospitality!”

It drives me fucking CRAZY.

Don’t treat me like I’m your friend when I’m actually your customer. All it does is make me feel like you’re lying to me.

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10 Responses to Do You Think That

  1. adam807 says:

    Better “next guest, please,” which is at least grammatically correct, than “Can I help who’s next?” which makes me want to stab them in the eyes.

  2. Joel Derfner says:

    I think I’d rather a grammatically incorrect truth-teller than a grammatically correct liar, but I understand your perspective too.

  3. Anonymous_IV says:

    It may feel dishonest but this usage of “guest” is well enough established to be included in the first definition under m-w.com/dictionary/guest: “1c : a person who pays for the services of an establishment (as a hotel or restaurant)”.

    In any case “Next guest, please” or whatever may be company policy, in which case the “lie” is not really the cashier’s/teller’s/… fault.

    As for “who’s next”, it’s ugly but I’m not sure it’s actually wrong: “who” is both object (of “help”) and subject (of “is next”). “Can I help whoever’s next” feels better grammatically but the next “guest” probably wouldn’t appreciate being called a “who(m)ever”.

  4. Joel Derfner says:

    Anonymous_IV, I always assume it’s company policy, which is why I never take out my frustration on the clerk/teller/…; I just go home and blog about it in impotent fury.

  5. Countervail says:

    I blame that damn Beauty and Beast movie.

    Joking aside I do agree. I am a customer, I’m happy to be called a customer, because a customer is someone to be waited on and catered to. A guest is someone you’ve invited to your establishment as if you’re doing them a favor. And most of the clerks in NYC display that ense of entitlement, like they’re doing you a favor by even paying attention to you.

  6. Adam807 says:

    I’m just saying, whatever happened to a simple “Next, please.”

  7. A. Scott Falk says:

    What drives me (and my husband) crazy is the ubiquitous, “Can I help the following guest?” Are you about to give a list of the following guests?

  8. Tom says:

    I keep hearing “following guest, step down”- no (the)- and I don’t even know exactly what that means but it egrages me.

  9. Joel Derfner says:

    Countervail: Interesting–your objection is in a way the opposite of mine. But no less valid for being so.

    Adam807: Apparently the same thing that happened to–oh, God, I want to make a joke about politics but it’s just too depressing.

    A. Scott Falk: Maybe they’re looking for somebody who can pluck the name from their brains?

    Tom: It’s like a nightmare version of The Price Is Right.

  10. Harry says:

    Truthfully, it’s not the poor cashiers fault – it’s probably their company policy. I’d rather be called a ‘guest’ than just have some dimwit stare at me as if I was able to read minds.

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