Is it really too much to ask…

… that service employees – retail, medical, food service, gas station attendants, whomever – actually act/pretend like they “enjoy” what they are doing?

Listen, I get it – I was a waiter for like fifteen years; some days you just don’t have enough “happy” to go around. But honestly? Is some sort of fully-formed, polite one sentence response too much to ask?

I am always mindful and very considerate of service employees, having been one myself for many, many years. And, in that spirit, I usually try to at least acknowledge that said employees are indeed people – and not machines – by engaging in some small talk, if only as a means to let them know “I see them” and appreciate the work they are doing for usually pitiful wages. However, when I ask, “How are you today?’ and get this in response –

yeah ok cool great


I want to reach across that check out counter and punch you in the face.

I mean, is something more than a mono-syllabic response too much to hope for? And since when is “Yeah” an appropriate response to my question. See?

“How are you doing today?”


What the heck does that even mean?


Even worse are what I call the emo responses…

“I’m surviving.” Oh, do you mean that you are clinging to life via life support equipment?

life support

That’s great. I’m happy there are cords long enough that allow you to return to work. I also love this response – “Things aren’t too bad…” Really? Do you mean as opposed to post-hurricane or tornado bad? Would that actually be “too bad?”

hurricane damage

But probably my favorite response is, “I’m hangin’ in.” Gosh, maybe my mind exists in a dark place but do you know what I see in my mind when someone says they are hangin’? This –


So people – PLEASE – at least show me the same thoughtful consideration I show you by seeming to give a hoot about your job and my question. When I ask you “How are you doing today?”, I’d appreciate an honest response.

You could say, “To be honest, I cannot wait to get off at 6PM” or something like “I’m stoked cuz’ tonight me and the old lady are hittin’ The House of Blues for a concert after work” or even, “I’d be fine if people stopped trying to engage me in mindless small talk and just let me do my job.”

After all, honesty is always the best policy, correct?  🙂

One response to “Is it really too much to ask…

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