Whether I'm entering a bookstore, grocery store, buffet pizza place or Chinese food restaurant, I keep hearing these stock greetings with some variation of "Hi" and "Welcome to [insert name of business]." While it may be nice to be recognized, I've become annoyed with these kinds of faux, stylized greetings.
I don't mind when the cashier at Taco Bell says a spontaneous "hello" and takes my order. The "hello" is genuine, even if it's for the sake of ordering some Mexican fast food. I do mind when I enter a place that makes excellent, inexpensive Chinese food and the attendant taking the orders says, "Hi, welcome to [insert name of business]," the same way to every customer. They say this in a way that sounds like they have been brainwashed into saying this.
Now these kinds of robotic greetings have sprouted up in my favorite bookstore. I don't know if this is at all of the bookstores in town, but one in particular I frequent has a stand set-up in the front for a greeter. I've seen the same guy the few times I've been in there since this new set-up has been installed. He has this very dry tone and says "Welcome to [insert name of business]" in the same way that the Robot from Lost in Space would say it.
I know these businesses are trying to make their atmosphere a little more customer-friendly, but I'm finding this to be a deterrent from going into these places. As someone who's worked in retail before, I hated doing those stock greetings to anyone and everyone. I never minded whenever people would look for me and ask a question. I took (and still take) the attitude that people like to shop on their own time with the least amount of hassle or interruption. When part of my greeting extended into becoming more of a salesman trying to sell stuff that people didn't really want, I had to get out of that place.
I think about how many times this greeting has to be said at these places. Not only would saying one long-ass sentence over and over wear me out, but after the first hundred times of saying it, it would probably turn into one long-ass word. Sounding more like gibberish than English, I wonder what the advantage is. An attendant at a sandwich shop once said to me, "wouldyouliketomakeitabananamalttoday?" Um, what?
Can anyone show me statistics that prove that people actually like to hear robotic, formulaic greetings over and over again? Probably, but we're humans and humans aren't machines, even if we place more of our lives into them, be it cell phones or computers. I'd like to think we interact with other humans when we don't want to interact with cold machinery. So, turning humans into sounding more like machines makes me wonder about where our culture is going. If this is meant to service every customer, then sincerity is getting thrown out the window.