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Welcome to Subway!

“WELCOME TO SUBWAY!!!”

Holy shit that scared me!

I looked around to respond to the man who shouted, but there was only one woman behind the counter.

Another customer walked through the door, an alarm beeped, and from the back office, out bellowed another “WELCOME TO SUBWAY!!!”

As I did seconds earlier, the startled person behind me looked around like an idiot, as if God just spoke to him, and responded tentatively, “Thank you?”

What the fuck is this? I’m noticing that a lot of businesses are adopting this corporate-mandated, exuberant, immediate greeting as customers walk through the door, and frankly, I don’t get it. Whatever it is, I’m sure it all started with some sort of customer service, brain-storming, focus group, initiative bullshit session: “How about we greet everyone as soon as they walk in the store. They hire retards to do it at Walmart, and look how well they’re doing. So we should do it too!”

When I used to sell cars, one of the managers had dinner at TGI Fridays for his birthday, and he thought because the waiters sang Happy Birthday to him, that we should sing to our customers when they buy a car. After the first deal of day, the manager called the entire sales staff into the showroom, and we all gathered around the unsuspecting customer. Then the Manager, clearly oblivious to the customer’s discomfort, proceeded to lead us all in a chorus of, “We sold you a car! We sold you a car! You’re gonna go far! You’re gonna go far! We sold you a c…”

Before we could finish our song, the terrified customer bolted up out of his seat, jumped into his old car, and sped off the lot.

We found out later that customer was extremely racist and didn’t appreciate the black manager patting him on the back and singing in his face, but still, it didn’t excuse our absurd attempt to “enhance” the customer experience.

The bottom line is, great customer service isn’t achieved with songs or mandated greetings. It comes from actually caring about the customer. If you want your employees to be friendly, hire friendly people instead of hiring miserable people and trying to train them to act friendly. Shouting out greetings at inappropriate levels from the back office doesn’t make people feel welcome or comfortable. It just scares the crap out them; not to mention how ridiculously disingenuous it is. You may as well scream, “I’M FORCED TO SHOUT WHEN YOU WALK IN!!!” I’d at least respect you for your honesty.

By the way… the mystery man who shouted “Welcome to Subway!!!” never even came out from the back.

2 Comments

  1. They do that at Quiktrip gas stations too. Everyone who walks through the door get’s a loud “hello” from someone at the counter. If they’re busy, you still get greeted but it’s more of a ‘lo than a hello. Always cracks me up.

  2. Eric Schneider

    I KNOW! I work right next door to one. They call you “Buddy” or “Bud” there, they don’t smile when they say hello, and they never say hello back if you say it first. Honestly, what’s the point?

    Thanks again for your continued readership, Buddy!

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