Please Stop Your Customer Service. It’s Frightening.

There’s such a thing as too much customer service, and Cold Stone Creamery really scoops it out.

Their strange service rituals strikes us as the most unsettling of all the examples given in the Wall Street Journal’s recent article (no sub required to read, btw, because we hook you up like that).

“At Cold Stone Creamery ice-cream shops, young employees scooping ice cream into dishes labeled “like it,” “love it” and “gotta have it” …are expected to sing in unison whenever a patron drops a tip into a cup near the register.

But it just gave the creeps to Jason Feifer, a 26-year-old free-lance writer in Cambridge, Mass….

“It’s unsettling,” he says.

…On a return trip to Cold Stone, he says, he told the cashier that he was going to tip her, but she didn’t have to sing. She thanked him, and he turned away, relieved for a moment. Then the singing started up again. “I’m sure the company thinks it encourages tipping, but I would dispute that,” Mr. Feifer says.

We’d dispute it too, had we had any idea it existed. Either the people at the Cold Stone on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn aren’t co-operating with the policy, or we are cheap bastards. We can’t recall which.

Which over-the-top customer service habits annoy you? We can’t stand the strangers at the powder counter. Leave us alone and let us look at the damn makeup. Do not talk about our skin with us.


Edit Your Comment

  1. AcilletaM says:

    Oh, that’s right, Meghann’s helping out right now. Forgot about that which made the last paragraph really funny.

  2. junkmail says:

    I hate to say it, as I’m usually a big proponent of tipping, but on the rare occasion that I actually visit a Cold Stone, (their ice cream is way too sweet for my tastes) I avoid tipping due to the obnoxious singing bit.

  3. bambino says:

    Basically every time you have to say you’re ‘just looking’ in retail.

    Also, every damn time they say ‘Hi! Welcome to Cici’s! Have you tried our buffet?!’ at Cici’s Pizza.

  4. Trae says:

    When I go to Cold Stone, I demand that they not sing if I tip them. Usually they acquiesce… but yeah – it creeps the hell out of me.

  5. Triteon says:

    Just to open up another (old) line of commenting: why again am I tipping? Are they bringing the ice cream to my table or something? Or are they just doing their job, standing behind a counter scooping my frozen dairy delight?

  6. acambras says:

    If you feel compelled to tip at ColdStone, do so as you’re just about to walk out the door. Then you don’t have to listen to the creepy singing.

    I wonder if they’d keep singing even after you’ve left.

  7. thrillhouse says:

    I’ve never been there – what do they sing?

  8. acambras says:

    I think it’s some sort of song that someone in their home office wrote especially for ColdStone — like Olive Garden’s “hospitalino” song that we used to have to sing whenever someone lied and said it was their bday.

  9. acambras says:

    I meant “hospitaliano,” not that it reallly matters…

  10. MeOhMy says:

    It’s a corny gimmick, but I can’t say I find it particularly creepy.

    I don’t really mind the welcome wagon at the entrance to the store, but the sales pitch should be 5 seconds or less. “Welcome to , please let us know if you need anything” is OK…anything more than that…too long.

    In my bygone days of peddling bagels, I once had a customer ask me if I was new. My immediate response was “Did I screw up your order?” No…he just couldn’t figure out how I could be so cheery at 7AM on a cold, rainy Saturday. I guess some people like service with a scowl. You can’t please them all :-)

  11. Trae says:

    There isn’t a single song that they sing – at least not in my experience. They must have a list or something.

    As for whether or not I should tip – yeah, I find counter job tipping really weird honestly. Of course, all I ever do is end up just dropping whatever change I have from the transaction in the jar just so I don’t have to worry about it… hence why I find getting a song even creepier when all I’ve dropped in the tip jar is 15 cents…

  12. surfacenoise76 says:

    Ugh, the same thing occurs at a chain called “Moe’s” (yuppie faux Mexican). As soon as one enters, the wait staff (quite literally)yells “Hi! Welcome to Moes!” It’s horribly annoying.

  13. jconli1 says:

    “Pieces of flair.”

    I work at a very busy upscale motorcycle shop and parts distributor, both on the phones and in the showroom. The day goes by so much faster and more enjoyably when I just interact with people genuinely… as I would with strangers at a party. Some folks want conversation, some want to be left alone… its not hard to figure out.

    I can’t stand the idea of management pushing scripts, behavior “suggestions”, or required-interaction checklists. Be it in person or over the phone, when someone is clearly faking an interaction it makes me feel detached and unimportant (just the opposite of what their managers want), but then makes me pity how dehumanized their company is making them.

    …and there I am furthering the machine with my tasty desert.

  14. jconli1 says:

    (or dessert)

  15. RapperMC says:

    At Moe’s Southwest Grill, I HATE that every time I walk in the doors, they all shout, “WEEEEEELcome to MOOOOOOOEEEEEE’SSSS!!!!” If I wanted that much attention when I walked in a restaurant, I’d walk in shirtless. Or pantless.

  16. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I used to work at Hollywood Video, a small one that often broke corporate policies because no one cared enough to stop us. We were supposed to call people the day after they signed up for an account and welcome them and ask if they had any questions. On the off-chance that you actually got someone on the phone, it was almost never the person who signed up, usually an elderly parent who was terribly confused. They usually just asked us why we were calling if there wasn’t something wrong. We quickly just started calling our turned-off cell phones and pretending instead.

  17. Trae says:

    jconli1 – I totally agree. When I worked in retail, I found I got my best results when I just acted normally, gave my genuine opinion when asked, and didn’t BS people.

    And my managers never noticed I’d thrown out the company script because I always made budget and had good attachment numbers (You’d be amazed at how far your credibility goes on selling Service Plans and accessories when you don’t demand that people need every single thing and instead just point out what you think it s a good idea and explain why logically…)

  18. DougDascenzo says:

    Which is more disturbing: that Cold Stone employees have to sing (and act enthusiastic about it), or that some guy made a web site about the songs they sing?

  19. Prophaniti says:

    My girlfriend and I stopped in to a Cold Stone in hopped up on their Louisville, KY a few months ago. The line was atrocious.
    Having never been to one before, we just figured they were singing because of some kid’s birthday party.
    The line was long enough that we picked up on the pattern of tip = sing (and were haunted by the lyrics all the way home).

    I worked in food service for a while and so I usually leave a good tip. But not this time. No, I’m not some soulless demon…I was just trying to do the humane thing.
    If they are forced to act cheerful and sing, I figure they’re even more cheerful (and grateful) if you don’t make ’em sing.

    As junkmail said, it’s too sweet for my taste. Not the singing…the ice cream.

  20. HankScorpio says:

    There is a Qdoba/Chipotle imitator in my area called “Moes’ Southwest Grill”. Whenever someone walks in, the whole staff yells out “Welcome to Moes’!”

    Although I like their food better than Qdoba or Chipotle, I refuse to go there due to the yelling.

  21. B says:

    Wasn’t this the basis of a King of the Hill episode?

  22. latrevo says:

    I’ve long thought of writing a letter to ColdStone asking them to please stop the super-creepy singing. When I see someone put a tip in, I want to sprint to the counter and offer to double it if they’ll just not sing! Glad to know I’m not alone.

  23. Triteon says:

    Why do the crew members sing when they receive a tip?
    The “Entertainment Factor” is meant to lend a fun, festive…

    Fromt he same website where they say: “We Will Make People Happy”
    Apparently not, CSC.

  24. Trae says:

    Maybe the emphasis should be “We Will MAKE You Happy.”

    (Cues chants of “One`of us… one of us…”)

  25. magic8ball says:

    Mostly I just find it kind of odd when someone behind a counter won’t deviate from their script, even when it’s evident that the script is wildly inappropriate to the situation. Example: I went into Babies R Us, and didn’t end up buying anything except a Mountain Dew. The woman behind the counter wants to know, “Is this from a baby registry?” Um, no. Clearly it’s not. Yet she persists. “Do you need a gift receipt?” No, thanks.

  26. OnoSideboard says:

    8ball: Hee!

    I find counter tipping awkward from both sides of the counter (this is coming from someone who worked at a coffee shop for years and relied on counter tipping to help pay my bills). It’s like, this weird dance between the customer and the cashier. The customer wants to make sure the cashier sees the tip being made, so if the cashier is distracted while handing back the change, the customer often waits until she turns back around to make the drop. Then eye contact is made, and there is this expectation that the cashier will thank the customer. Even though the tip was the customer thanking the cashier. It would be like having your waiter at a restaurant check out the tip you left on the table and then run out to your car to thank you. It’s especially awkward when the tip is a handful of change, and the cashier knows it because she just gave it to you.

    When I was the cashier, I would make eye contact and smile but not verbally thank the customer. When I ‘m the customer now (and yes, I always tip), I make sure they see me tipping but refuse to make eye contact once the drop is done.

  27. spanky says:

    Wow. I am so never going to Cold Stone Creamery.

    I don’t know if Home Depot is as bad as they used to be, but it always pissed me off when they’d ask what I was trying to do. They’d always say ‘trying,’ too.

    They may sell an extra wrench or two here and there by interrogating their customers, but I’d think that they’re losing much more lucrative customers by being annoying and condescending.

    I mean, they could just ask customers if they need any help or advice on their project, rather than just jumping in and asking nosy questions. (Of course, their policies may have changed. I almost never go there anymore.)

  28. tokenfemale says:

    I couldn’t find anyone the last time I was at Home Depot and genuinely needed help, so I think they’re a bit less staffed than they used to be.

    I get annoyed when I call a credit card company (other companies do this too) to complain about something, and after the call – “thank you, can we help you with anything else today?” No…if you could have, I would have already mentioned it. In fact, the New York Times did it to me last week when I called to CANCEL. I canceled my paper. What else would I possibly want them to do?

  29. Ass_Cobra says:

    I’m imagining that the cold stone creamery folks break out into some kind of weird barbershop rendition of the corporate fight song. I imagine it is much like when Ted (the Lawyer in Scrubs) breaks out into cartoon or 80’s TV show themes with his acapella band, The Worthless Peons. Please on one ruin this for me.

  30. Marcus says:

    Hank– Thats great– a Qdoba “imitator.” Down here in Georgia, Moe’s was all we had for a while, now we’re finally getting “Imitators” like Qdoba and Chipotle.

    Can’t go wrong with a Queso burrito from Qdoba… oh lord yes.

    Anyway. I think what bothers me about this sort of customer service is that it’s corporate-mandated–it’s the customer service equivalent of giving your girlfriend roses after sleeping with her sister. Its a nice gesture, but it doesnt do a lot to help the cause.

    For me, this is a cheap attempt by companies to appear customer-centric while maintaining the same ol business practices. Not that I’ve heard horror stories about cancelling your Coldstone account, but the notion of forced, official, cookie-cutter cheeriness really concerns me.

  31. Chaoticfluffy says:

    My local Cold Stone (the staff of which is populated entirely by frighteningly chipper blonde college girls as far as I can tell) has a number of different songs. The one that came to mind when I read this post was this really strange bastardization of “zip-a-dee-doo-dah.” I’ve scrubbed the actual lyrics from my mind, but it’s basically the original song changed to tell us all how WONDERFUL it is to eat ice cream!!!ZOMG!!

    Seriously creepy, especially since the girls seem to have no sense of embarrassment about it as most normal people would when required to scream out a song in front of thirty-odd people staring at you in horror.

    Also, agree with tokenfemale about the “can I help you with anything else?” Not only my credit card company, but my computer tech support line and my bank also do it. Can you help me with anything else? Um, no, but now I feel like I have to think of something to keep from disappointing you! (I usually just end up stammering a “no,” quickly thanking them, and hanging up before they can thank me for thanking them)

    • Twonkey says:

      Well, considering how many times customers have come up with one final question for me after I’ve helped them with whatever the hell it is that they called me for, now I just ask “Can I help you with anything else?” to head off what nine times out of ten is going to happen anyway.

  32. srah says:

    I’ve thought about asking the Coldstone people if they will agree not to sing until I leave the store if I give them a tip. I never understand why people tip them, unless they’re n00bs who don’t know what the horrible results will be.

  33. John says:

    Coldstone is great, ice cream is great, and tipping is great!

    Take that!

  34. Mojosan says:

    Fer crying out loud.

    Lighten up Francis.

  35. nick says:

    I think that singing the same few jingles repeatedly for eight hours straight has rendered the Cold Stone employees ‘immune’ to the effects of passing time.

    It reminds me of when I used to work at American Eagle Outfitters, and the same 30-second commercial would play on the TVs in the back ALL DAY LONG. You had to learn how to block out all external stimuli to avoid losing your mind.

    By the end of the day, they probably don’t even realize they’re singing anymore.

  36. etinterrapax says:

    The Coldstone singing doesn’t creep me out, but it doesn’t gladden my heart, either. Too forced.

    If I had to choose a customer service practice that irritated me the most, I’d say I have a blanket issue with replacing genuinely helpful service actions with useless but cheap ones. A smile at the door does not change the fact that stores won’t deliver purchases to your home any more, and that you can’t even count on, say, dressing room service when you’re shopping for clothes. If places started offering actual services instead of fake ones intended to charm you out of your money at minimum cost to the company, then you’d see a store packed with shoppers.

  37. jacques says:

    I’ve got two Home Depots close to me. One’s better-staffed, but has a 4% more sales tax. The other is like a ghost town for orange smocks. Guess which one I go to?

    (It’s actually the Lowes down the street – better quality workers and lower prices)

  38. steve says:

    The first time I went there they did the singing bit; thankfully, the second time they didn’t.

    The ice cream IS really good there, so you should definitely visit there at least once. If you see their lips start to move, ask them to not sing.

  39. lmbrownmail says:

    I went to a Coldstone once to get a specific flavor that they carry one month out of the year. No, I didn’t tip. They are counter personnel and did not provide me with what I would consider a tippable service.

    I think tipping has gone too far! I mean – should I start tipping the person that rings up my sales in stores? The person that hands me my cleaning at the dry cleaners? The person that greets me at Wal-Mart? Where do you draw the line?

  40. LeRainDrop says:

    One customer service ritual that’s been bugging me lately is when, upon check-out, the employee at the counter asks me if I want to sign up for the store credit card to save 10% today — especially when my purchase is like $4. You mean I can save a whole $0.40 now, thereby blocking my ability to get a real discount when I’m actually making a significant purchase with you?!?! That’s so worth it!

  41. KesCaesar says:

    I’m in Chicago, and I go to two Coldstones: the one by the Rock and Roll McDonalds and the one in Oldtown. It discouraged me from tipping, that’s for sure.
    After a while, I started going when no one was in the store, and asking them to PLEASE NOT SING.

  42. heathalouise says:

    It drives me nuts when I go to a Starbucks that decides they need to know my name in order to make my drink, and then they tell the barista, “Grande latte for Heathalouise!” I can understand needing a name if the place is busy, but making a whole production of it creeps me out.

  43. sixtoe says:

    When I walked into the ColdStone in Stone Harbor, NJ, they started to sing, and I got out of line and walked out of the store.

    Then I wised up.

    Now, I go in with a fistfull of dollar bills. Hundreds. And boy howdy do I tip. One dollar after another. For hours upon end. Until the entire staff is bleary eyed and bleeding from their entrails. Then I vault the counter and feast on their frozen delights until I pass out or the assistant manager turns me away with a shotgun, whichever comes first.

  44. ivanjrn says:

    If you really wanna see creepy, check out the new thing Boston Market is doing. I hate it. I just want to go and get my meat loaf and mashed potatoes yet they feel compelled to announce to everyone what they’re bringing in from the kitchen. The worker will walk out and announce he’s bringing corn bread by saying “HOT corn bread!” and then the staff is supposed to repeat “Hot fresh cornbread!” They’re supposed to do it in an almost singing rythmic tone also which just drives me up the wall. I used to go eat there, and I haven’t gone back just because it annoys me so much.

    I have to agree with the person earlier who mentioned that some companies force scripted interactions or try too hard to create an enviroment. These are things you can’t fake unless the employees genuinely feel them, and chances are that if you’re forced to yell “hot mashed potatoes” everytime someone brings some out of the kitchen you’re not going to be too happy. I know that I always saw most of the employees do it underwhelmingly while the manager and a few others were really chiper.

  45. x23 says:

    “Seriously creepy, especially since the girls seem to have no sense of embarrassment about it as most normal people would when required to scream out a song in front of thirty-odd people staring at you in horror.”

    ex-cheerleaders perhaps?

  46. Vinny says:

    Save the cheerleader, save the world.

  47. John Stracke says:

    Actually, the “can I help you with anything else?” question is pretty practical. Call center workers are paid to get you off the phone as soon as possible, so, without that question in the script, they’d be more likely to say “Thankyougoodbye” to everybody, including the people who really do have another issue to tackle. Even if you’re calling to cancel your subscription, well, maybe you’ve got another subscription to cancel; or maybe you want to give a gift subscription.

    Most likely, there was some corporate consultant who heard about people getting cut off after their first issue and having to go through the queue again. It was a rare problem, but it was something the consultant could tout as Something To Fix.

  48. Melsky says:

    A few years ago, a Southern California supermarket chain started training their employees to look people in the eye, smile, and aproach customers asking if they could help. Customers started thinking the employees were trying to pick up on them.

  49. CaptainRoin says:

    Am I the only one that hates it when you go to a drivethrough and the whole “Welcome to Taco Bell…. would you like to try a….” thing comes on and 90% of the time you can tell that it’s a recording. Every time I have to say “um….. no.” to whatever it is they are offering. Its just unsetteling when the real person actually says something and you can tell they are different.

  50. DougDascenzo says:

    Much worse than the “Can I help you with anything else” is when you call a customer service center (for instance, Comcast) and they try to upsell you on something else.

    As if it isn’t bad enough that you had a problem with your service that required you to call and sit on hold for 10 minutes, they then have the audacity to get you to try to buy something else? Obnoxious.

  51. UASteph says:

    CaptainRoin – no, you’re not. I *hate* that, mainly because I’m usually pleasantly surprised at getting such a nice person on drive-thru, so I answer back just as nicely. And then I hear the real person and realize that the teenagers must be in there snickering at the idiot being courteous to a recording.

    It also gives the message of “You’re not important enough for us to actually speak to, so here, listen to this recording of a nice person until we get around to your order.”

  52. Ishmael says:

    What bugs me? The over-done, pushy customer service at Bath & Body Works. I went in yesterday specifically to get some hand soap. I got stopped (acutally stopped, she stepped in front of me) by a girl working there, who said “Hi! How are you today? What can I help you shop for?”


    And then the 20-minute sales talk when you try to check out about ‘if you buy x more things, you can get something free!’ or ‘don’t you want to try our new scent?’ or ‘have you tried this product, because its on sale today for 3 for too much damn money!’ I don’t think it would bother me so much if they would just say hey, we’ve got this sale going today, did you notice? instead of the pushy sales pitch.

  53. acambras says:

    Yes, they are really aggressive at Bath & Body Works. At least I know I can always get help in there if I ever need it.

  54. acambras says:

    “Your burrito order is very important to us — please continue to hold.”

  55. MeOhMy says:

    The CSR asking if there’s anything else they can help you with…what is wrong with that? If THAT bothers you, I think you’re going a bit over the top. The irony is that I’d bet good money the folks that find this practice to be annoying would be the same folks who would be STARK RAVING MAD when they had something else they needed help with and had to wait on hold again if the CSR DIDN’T ask this question.

    I’ll add inappropriate sales pitches, though. When I call to complain, it is not appropriate to attempt to try to sell me something. I recently had got some new credit cards. The activation phone call is NOT an appropriate time to try to sell me on your scamtastic credit protection scheme!

  56. alicetheowl says:

    re: “Can I help you with anything else today?” Well, if you’re on the phone with your bank, that’s your cue to joke that they can give you money! I thought EVERYONE knew that!

    (The husband works for a bank call center. He somehow manages to at least chuckle like he means it every single time someone says that. So about a dozen times a day.)

    The singing at Coldstone definitely creeps me out, but the Corporate Script is a bit much, too. I used to work at Suncoast, and there was a very clear script you had to stick to, with every single customer in the store. As far as I was concerned, it was harrassment.

    I went into FYE the other day, and they were employing the EXACT same script. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. And there’s only so many times you can politely say, “No thank you; I don’t want your ‘rewards’ program” before you want to shout, “You’ve scared me away from EVER shopping here again! Are you happy?”

    But, having been on the other side of the counter, I’m aware it’s not their fault. I held my tongue.

  57. Cobwebs says:

    My daughter works at Coldstone Creamery. Most of the songs they sing are pop songs that have been rewritten to feature their ice cream flavors (e.g, “Nights in White Chocolate.”

    She’s ineffably perky, likes when they sing, and greatly appreciates tips. I’m sure that some Coldstone workers feel “forced” into singing, but most of the kids who work with my daughter are in high school and seem to think it’s kinda fun. Incidentally, you can tip individuals, rather than putting money in the communal tip jar, so if you’re particularly pleased with the service, give whomever helped you a tip. (And tell them they don’t have to sing.)

  58. Yozzie says:

    I’ll second the compulsory corporate script thing. I used to work for Books-A-Million and they insisted we answer the phone with “Thanks a million for calling Books-A-Million! This is Retail Monkey, how may I help you today?” I said a big N-O to that one, both for my dignity and the callers’.

    They also ran a discount membership program, and lord, was there a script for selling that mother, complete with laminated cue cards with sample customer interaction, etc.

    One day, the mystery shopper reports come in, and I get called out for not offering a discount card with the requisite speech. Managers’ brows were furrowed. This was a Bad Thing! I looked at my manager and said, “Sure, you could write me up for this, but I DID sell 150 of these yesterday.” End of discussion, end of corporate script.

    I realise companies want to standardise the upselling process across their stores, but it almost always works better if you do without a script, and try and make what you’re selling fit the individual customer’s needs as much as possible. Customers are much more likely to have good feelings about a store if they feel like the customer service people are ordinary people too, not ServBots reading off little corporate-issued cue cards.

  59. Prophaniti says:

    The worst Corporate Script I’ve ever seen: Games Workshop. I worked there over the Holiday Season a few years back.

    Reasons to hate the script:

    Theme song from Conan plays in the background all day, yet you’re not allowed to disembowel the idiots who walk in.

    The Corporate pre-scripted introduction of “Are you familiar with my hobby?” is usually answered with the customer’s pre-scripted “No thanks, just looking.” Even though the question and answer are in no way related…yet again, no disemboweling allowed.

    You are required to ask if they’d like a Demo. During which, you are required to be as enthusiastic as a ferret on a sugar-high. Usually you run the kid through a demo, and then have to do it all over again when the “wallet” arrives (namely, the parents).
    Let’s face it, parents like quiet. The level of enthusiasm a sales rep is required to show scares ’em off much more than the price of $100.00 for a handful of unpainted plastic toys.
    On the other hand, the ban on disembowelment is a good thing…parents hate you after you explain that the boxed “starter” set is NOT enough to play a real game.

    People who already play are not allowed to play a game in the store unless the models that they paid for are practically “showcase” quality.

    Finally, sales reps have to deal with the religious nuts who accuse ’em of promoting the Devil’s work with Demons and Witches. Granted, it’s really funny to see in person, but that thrice-damned disembowelment rule is replaced by a much less satisfying call to security.

  60. 1.) the post office workers are required to say “does this have anything liquid, fragile, perishable or hazardous? and then they always ask if you want a phone card. no, i do NOT want a damn phone card

    2.) at petco, the always ask you at checkout how many pets you have and what their ages are. feels very disingenous.

  61. Jeff says:

    Just thinking about the singing at Cold Stone makes me want to barf. You know when you’re watching a movie, and someone is being a complete idiot, and you get that “I’m embarrassed for all of mankind” feeling? That’s the feeling I get at Cold Stone.

    On the other note, the only thing I can think of that really annoys me in retail is the question “would you like the receipt with you, or in the bag?”, followed by the cashier holding both my purchase and receipt hostage awaiting my answer while giving me the ol’ plastic smile.

    Really, you helped enough in ringing up my purchase, I don’t need you to deliver my receipt to its final destination. Whether it ends up in my wallet, the garbage, or the bag, I can do it myself, effortlessly. It’s with me either way. From your hand to mine will be sufficient, thanks.

  62. acambras says:

    I used to work at a call center where one of the clients was a maternity clothing catalog. So we would take orders for maternity clothes, nursing bras, etc. Then we were supposed to ask all these questions like “when is your due date?” and “are you having a boy/girl/don’t know?” I quit asking after the first couple of times because it felt really creepy to be asking, and I imagine it felt creepy for the person on the other end of the call, especially if it had been a guy asking all these questions. Kind of like, now that I have your home address, tell me about your fetus and when s/he will be born so that perverts or kidnapers can arrive at your home in the middle of the night…

  63. E-Bell says:

    “2.) at petco, the always ask you at checkout how many pets you have and what their ages are. feels very disingenous.”

    Are you sure that’s not PetSmart? The first time, it seemed like an innocent question. Every time after that, it got annoying.

    So, next time a PetSmart cashier rings me up for a bag of cat food and then asks me how many cats I have, I tell her “none.” Usually, they just ignore that answer and continue checking me out.

  64. aztodc says:

    I happen to love the service at Cold Stone. I find it refreshing that employees actually seem to enjoy their work and say thank you to the customer. I would hope more businesses would focus their attention on a creating a fun, relaxing atmosphere where the customer is treated with a smile. The all too common practice of ushering people in and out without as much as a hello is what “creeps” me out.

  65. Qoo says:

    Went to Culver’s recently, and was greeted with, “Welcome to Culver’s, this is George Jetson, how may I help you?” I nearly bust a gut laughing and asked him how Jane and daughter Judy were doing. the guy told me I was the first person who had called him that day. He told me he had been Stonewall Jackson, Abe Lincoln, Friedrich Nietsche, and a number of other personalities.

    A lot of the US retail scripts aren’t as annoying to me as the highly formal, overly polite language (“keigo”) used when shopping in large department stores in Japan. It just seems robotic to me.