Do you respond to insincere greetings? Are they effective?

Many retail businesses obviously instruct their employees to greet you as you walk in the door. Not a bad idea I guess, but in many cases, if not most, the greetings are mechanical and made without the employee even looking up. I used to respond with an appropriate acknowledgement, but no longer. I figure if the greeter doesn’t have the courtesy/interest to look up from making the ham & cheese sandwich, I don’t owe them a repsonse. Do employees who render these greeting think poorly of those who ignore them?

i just say hello.

If they are ofended by those who do not respond to a greeting then they need to get out of customer service.

When I am greeted at the door I usually look up and respond to the greeting. And I usually find the employee looking me in the face.

It shows up in the reverse with the customer getting mentally stuck until a customary (and unimportant) greeting is exchanged:

Me: 9-1-1, where is your emergency?
Caller: How are you?
Me: Do you have an emergency?
Caller: How are you doing?

…repeat ad infinitum unless I reply with some platitude. At that point the caller feels free to state the problem…

Caller: How are you doing tonight?
Me: Fine. What is your emergency?
Caller: And how are your kids?
Me: They are doing just great. Is there an emergency I can help you with?
Caller: Well, it’s not really an emergency but… my grandmother collapsed. She is not responding. I’m not sure if she is breathing.
For the record, 9-1-1 operators really would rather get to the point. It’s not that we’re unsociable, but we are accustomed to prioritizing everything. And yes, the words “it’s not really an emergency but…” can be followed by absolutely anything, in my experience.

The insincere exchange of platitudes is effective in as much as it does give some people the ability to get down to business.

I generally respond unless they are giving me the finger while doing it.

Its takes me almost no effort to do so. If they don’t give a rats ass that I didn’t reply its no harm no foul that I did. But there is a slight chance they DO care. And if I don’t respond they might get a bit irritated. And lets face it those jobs are not that fun. No use making them any less pleasant than neccessary for the people that do them.

If these things piss you off, go bitch at the manager who makes them do it.

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I worked in retail for about 20 years and feel I was very friendly to my customers almost all of the time (we all have bad days, though). I have to say that I would get offended at times when customers would ignore me. I wouldn’t expect much, but even a smile or a quick “hi” doesn’t hurt if another human being has greeted you. That being said, if the clerk does not even look at you or seem to be genuine, you shouldn’t feel bad for not responding. It’s the same in reverse, too. I can’t stand it when I’m the customer and the clerk doesn’t say anything to me. No hi, thank you, or even eye contact. That makes me crazy.

What you’re calling an insincere greeting is simply an acknowledgment by the store clerk that she is aware that you have entered the store. In return, I would smile or nod or say hello. These trivial social customs really shouldn’t confound anyone. It’s so easy to be pleasant to people, and it makes the whole day go smoother.

I don’t mind platitude statements, but I do find platitude questions annoying, as they screw around with the sacred rhetoricalness of rhetorical questions.

Lately I’ve been treating them as statements/greetings and parroting them back.

“How are you?”
“How are you?” (smile)

“What’s new?”
“What’s new, pussycat?”


I also find that magically, people only don’t ask how I’m doing or what’s up on the rare occasions when I actually have something to report.

The trouble with someone wishing you a nice day is that it puts all the pressure on you. Now, somehow, I’ve got to go out and manage to have a good time, all because some loose-lipped cashier said, “Have a nice day!” What if I don’t feel like having a nice day? Maybe I don’t feel like having a nice day! Maybe, just maybe, I’ve had 63 nice days in a row, and by God, I’m ready to have a crappy day. You never hear anyone say, “Have a crappy day!” That would be no problem at all. Sometimes all I have to do is get up in the morning.

(with apologies to George Carlin)

But seriously, I don’t normally mind meaningless platitudes, like “How are you?” or “Did you find everything okay?” since I know it’s just meaningless courteous bullshit. The thing that really irks me, though, is when they suddenly start making small talk, like commenting on my t-shirt, or asking if I have plans for the weekend, stuff like that. Fer chrissakes, I’m buying toilet paper and foot powder here, now we’re suddenly girlfriends? Just bag 'em up and tell me how much money I saved, goddammit. Oh, and stop asking if I need help out to my car, I don’t look like a fucking cripple.

I do the exact same.

Well this cripple gets a little tired of fielding those questions as well. :rolleyes:

Sorry man, poor choice of words on my part. :frowning:

Throwing into the conversation that I’ve heard from on high (Administration in three different industries where I’ve been management) that greeting customers at the door isn’t for the sake of providing pleasantries for the customer, but for making eye-contact and letting the customer know that the staff SEES them, and KNOWS what they look like. This has been passed on to me specifically as a loss-prevention technique, rather than as a gesture of courtesy.

Knowing that - I tend to treat them as the same thing as a customer - nod firmly, make eye contact, stand up straight, and don’t act shifty or evasive. If they’re just being friendly, then hey - I’m basically friendly (but not conversational) back at them - if they’re being loss-prevention, I’ve done all I can do to indicate that I’m not a threat.