Words and Civilisation: Sales Assistants’ Language

You wear a brand new purple T-shirt and notice, and the end of the day, that the colour has run over your white underwear and even rubbed off on your skin.  The following day, you take it back to the high street store, complete with receipt, and ask to speak to the manager.  You explain politely what happened.  Nine times out of ten, this is the reaction you get –


“We haven’t had any complaints.”


You then have a fraction of a second to select your own response.  Do you go for –

“Well, you have one now”

or “I can’t be responsible for other customers”

orAre you suggesting I am lying?”?


Could major high street stores possibly train their staff to reply, “I’m so sorry you’ve been inconvenienced.  Please allow me to apologise on behalf of the company…”?


*   *   *

You pay for your goods at the till, and say, “Thank you.”

The cashier replies –


“You’re welcome.”


Grrrrr… The sales person has not just done you a huge favour.  You have just paid for the item.  You thank him/her for selling you the goods.  He/she, in turn, should thank you for buying them, and thereby keeping him/her in gainful employment.


*   *   *

You’re browsing in a shop.  The cheerful sales assistant comes over.


“Are you all right?”


“Yes, thanks.  How kind of you to enquire after my health.  Why? Do I look pale? (the sales assistant looks perplexed) Oh, sorry, did you mean to ask me if I needed your help?”


Another version of the same question is


“Are you all right there?”


Why? Is there a more comfortable place to stand and browse?


And now, on a point of grammar.


The cashier hands you back you change in the form of a small, shiny copper coin.


“One pence change.”


For the love of all things aesthetic… One PENNY!!

Scribe Doll

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1 Response to Words and Civilisation: Sales Assistants’ Language

  1. adrian says:

    I agree, what ever needs to be paid for with 1p or 2pm, or even 5p ……. round everything up to 10p and get rid of that loose change. Though I do miss those onepenny chews …….

    And you didn’t even mention receipts – receipts for a pack of crisps (I didn’t like them, I changed my mind/they tasted bad) ……. receipts for my soul ……..

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