My favorite sign

Posted by Psi on March 19, 2002

In Reply to: My favorite sign posted by Word Camel on March 18, 2002

: : : : : : From a story in The Courier Journal, Louisville, Ky., March 18, 2002.

: : : : : : CRUTCH PHRASES:

: : : : : : ".Thank you for your patience.

: : : : : : And . . . have a nice day.

: : : : : : The shopworn phrases above are agonizingly familiar to anyone who routinely suffers through less-than-stellar customer service, which is most of us. What's so annoying is not the sentiment -- patience is a virtue, wishing someone a nice day is a nice gesture.

: : : : : : What's so grating is the way they're said, often dripping with monotonal insincerity, indifference and even the occasional touch of sarcasm. So is the suspicion, often justified, that these customer service 'crutch phrases' actually mask bigger problems within the company: a misguided attempt to save money -- or boost profits -- by skimping on the customer."

: : : : : : There is a a sidebar by Bill Lampton, author of "The Complete Communicator," with several responses to "Thank you for your patience." Examples:

: : : : : : It seems you have misread my emotions. Please don't let my calm appearance fool you. I ran out of patience with this problem a long time ago.

: : : : : : Let me clarify something. The only reason I may seem to be patient is because I have vowed not to be as rude to you as people in your business have been to me.

: : : : : : Patient? I don't think you have pinpointed my emotion exactly. You'd be more accurate if you said I seem calm and serene. I really am. Why? Because I know this is my last day of shopping with you.

: : : : : : A link to an article by Mr. Lampton:

: : : : : : Words We'd Love to Do Without at

: : : : : Well, how about signs? Thank You for Not Smoking. I see it everywhere. Thank You for Not Eating Our Soup with Your Hands and Then Tossing the Bowl at the Busboy. I fear the day when "Will the defendant please rise" is replaced by "Thank you for not sitting."

: : : : : The fish counter at my local supermarket often labels some of its offerings Thawed for Your Convenience. That's euphemispeak for This Fish Was Frozen.

: : : : That's food for thawed.

: : : My personal all-time favourite... seen outside a US-Mall based ophthalmologist...

: : : "Your eyes tested FREE while U wait"

: : : ...and the alternative would presumably be to leave your eyes there to be tested while you go shopping...

: : Along the same lines, a bumpersticker: Tattoos while you wait

: was displayed on the streets of New York City in the 80's while Ed Koch was in power. A small ordinary looking blue and white street sign read "Litter is filthy and disgusting so don't do it. I could almost hear Ed Koch saying the words...

My favourite litter sign was on the top of soft drink cans. On one side it said "Do not litter", on two lines. On the other it said "Dispose of properly", again on two lines. Neither phrase seemed to flow nicely, but if you read it turning the can anticlockwise and reading inwards the instruction had the best style of all: "Do not dispose of litter properly".

Much better.