New customer service rule - would you want me to do this to you?

I work at the circulation desk at my school library. I am a “Circulation Desk Student Assistant”. In other words, I check out books. And assorted other things… actually mostly I do homework and use the internet and knit (don’t ask).
Recently we’ve been really big on “Customer Service”. First they said we need to look up and smile when people walk past the desk. No problem there, I can do that, the door makes noise so I know when someone comes in and they’re gonna be walking past me in a second. Sure, most of the time they aren’t looking at me so I’m smiling at the side of their head, but hey, that’s okay.
Then they decided that when someone checks out books we need to say “Did you find everything you needed today?” and some variation of Thanks for using the library, have a nice day/night. Okay, I can do that, I tell people have a good day all the time. That’s fine.

Today we get a memo saying that we need to start using people’s names when we thank them and tell them to have a good day. We need to scan their school ID card to check out their books, and their name is on the card and it pops up in a window on our screen, so we see it, so we’re supposed to say, “Have a nice day, Mary” or “Thanks for using the library, Bob.”

I don’t like this. I feel weird. I don’t know these people! What if their card says Katherine but they go by Katie or Kat? My card says Antares, but nobody calls me that. What if they’re an international student with a really long weird name I dont’ know how to pronounce? What if there’s a group of students but only one checks out books, won’t the others feel neglected if I only say “Have a good night, Lucy!”? And personally, I would be weirded out if someone did it to me. It would be creepy! “Oh, god, they know my name, they know my name! I don’t know this person, but they know my name!” I’ve had this sometimes before when I buy stuff with my debit card and they say “Thanks for shopping here, Antares.” I don’t like it, and i don’t want to put other people through it.

So, you guys’ opinions? Would you want to have to do it, and if I did it to you, would it freak you out? Can I complain to my supervisor about it?

Personally, I don’t like it. At a department store I frequent, the sales staff is REQUIRED to do this on any non-cash transaction: “Thank you, Mrs. Jones”, etc. The staff are mystery-shopped about once a month or two and checked on their name usage with customers.

It makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable. I’m not a really private person, but neither do I want to feel patronized. I’m not there to chit chat, I came in because I needed new underwear or jeans.

I’m not too fond of this practice, either. It’s a little too personal for my taste. I mean, if I go to the drug store to buy something like Vagisil or Preperation H, I wouldn’t want them to say my name with a wink and a smile…

I’m supposed to do this at Ralph’s whenever I can. However, I really don’t like it when people do it to me at other stores, so I don’t do it to them. Are we supposed to be fooling people into thinking we know their names or what?

And it gets really sticky at Safeway when me and my girlfriend use the club card that’s in my mom’s name. I pull “Mary McC’s” card out of my wallet. The poor cashier then does several mental handsprings to try to figure out which variation of McC to use on which person. I’m perfectly happy with a “Thanks,” and I really don’t even need that. Of course, some employees I’ve become friends with, and I don’t mind them using my name.

Check me in the “Against” column too. I hate my given name, which sometimes appears on formal documents, and I prefer not to be on a first name basis with every single person to whom I hand my Visa check card. Mr. Wheeler is fine, but leave my first name out of it, K?

This kind of thing bugs the living hell out of me, actually. I’ve gotten to the point of reading the clerk’s nametag if they call me by name. They say “… thanks for shopping with us, Mr. TVGuy, come again!” and I’ll say right back, while staring at the nametag, “no sweat, RACHEL I love shopping here!!”

Flipside (and slight hijack) - what about those stores at which you are a regular, yet have never learned the names of the staff, nor they yours. At my local Starbucks, none of the staff wears nametags, and I always pay in cash. I’ve struck up what could almost be considered friendships with several of these people (we ask about each other’s parents, and how we’re doing at work and such) and I don’t know a single one of their names - they don’t know mine either. I’m not sure that’s not jsut as creepy as being called by name by a total stranger after they read it off your credit card. :slight_smile:

:smack: (I HATE it when I screw up my coding…)

I do not like this. Someone in a store did this the other day, based on the name on my credit card. My first thought was “I handed it to you to pay for a purchase, not as an introduction.”

I understand it’s meant to be more “personal” but to me it feels overly familiar.

I don’t like it, either. At least at stores if I used a credit or debit card, I can rationalize it as a (albeit slightly pathetic) anti-theft measure, ie. do I respond to the name on the card. But at a library I wouldn’t even have that, and it would just be weird.

Against it.

Particularly since they are “making” you say it. Totally contrived.

Do sales/customer service trainers and policy makers think saying a clients name is suppose to build some kind of bond to a product or establishment?

What’s worse is when they punctuate each sentence with your name. Now kevja, knowing you’re always looking for ways to improve your data collection process, we have a new product, kevja, that will make your life and job much easier, kevja. kevja, if I could show you a way to do that, kevja, would you be interested, kevja.

arrggghhhh to the 10th power!

Interesting that not one person has checked in to say “I like it when a complete stranger uses my first name for no reason! It really makes me feel like part of the family!” It seems people are universally annoyed by this practice, so I have to wonder what kind of an idiot would make a rule like this. Can you imagine the meeting where this decision was made? Who could possibly have thought it was a good idea, and how did they make their case to the rest of the monkeys at the table?

I don’t like it either. I feel vaguely uncomfortable if a total stranger just says my name, as if they’re stalking me or something. I would like to say something snotty like, “I don’t recall giving you permission to address me,” but I’m usually so surprised by it that I just walk away vaguely confused. And I realize the person behind the counter doesn’t like doing it any more than I like hearing it.

I don’t like it. I have a sort of long and hard-to-pronounce last name, and at stores where the cashier has to use my name in their ‘have a nice day’ script, either there’s a long pause while they look at my name and think “oh crap, how do you say this?”, or they barely glance at it and just mangle it completely, or they skip it and address me by my first name, which I find too familiar. Regardless of what happens, they’re uncomfortable, I’m sometimes uncomfortable, I know it’s just some job requirement BS that some higher-up person is making them do and I’d rather they just skip it. I appreciate the attempt to make customers feel taken care of, but sheesh, that’s not it.

(BTW, hint to the local Dominick’s supermarkets, which are apparently losing money badly enough that Safeway would like to sell - if all of your stores had as responsive of workers as the one at 63rd and Rte 83, maybe you’d be in better shape. At the other stores the stockers and other workers seem to avoid you, but at this one if I look confused at all, someone’s asking me if they can help me find something, and often they even take me to where the item is instead of grumbling out an aisle number like at other locations. Now let them stop addressing me by name and I’ll be extra-happy.)

The anti-theft thing might be workable with trained staff. Students in a library is not the place.

Against for most of reasons stated.

DeniseV, C&P that send it in. Does no good here. :wink:

I hate this trend, too. I hate it even more when I’m shopping with my elderly mother, the woman who taught me to always address my elders by a title and last name, and a clerk who’s young enough to be my daughter chirps, “Thank you, Mary” to her.

We have a lab tech in the hospital where I work who calls patients by their first names no matter how old they are. I was in the room once and just had to ask if he knew such and such person well enough to use their first name.

It’s very disconcerting when a 30 year old guy calls a 76 year old patient by his first name.


I’m with you on that one, Quasi. I almost decked my nephew for calling his grandmother by her first name.

Another gripe that I have is when I’m giving testimony for the prosecution in a trial and the defense attorney asks if it’s okay to call me Zoe. I guess I could always respond with, “If you feel that you know me well enough…” But I don’t want to alienate the jury.

Antares, if your supervisor isn’t the one who gave you the memo, show her or him this thread with your complaint.

It really creeps me out when people call me by my first name and I don’t know them. Thankfully this hasn’t happened when I shop.

When the style was to wear a necklace with your name spelled out on it with letter beads, I had one. I was at a convenience store one day and the guy behind the counter smiled and said ‘Thanks Flutterby’ and I jerked back giving him a strange look. He then asked me if that was my name and I was like yah but how do you know that? He indicated my necklace. I haven’t worn that since.

Your first name is Antares? That is so awesome. If I had a name as cool as that, I would insist everyone I met call me it every sentence.

I have to admit that I like this practice. I think it’s cute to get called by my name. I don’t have any sort of respect issues, though. However, even I am smart enough to realize that this is a bad idea.

[Total Hijack] Cool name btw AntaresJB, I actually used to go by Antares on the board myself. Topaz Antares actually. Heh… that’s all.

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