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“Thank you for your business”

March 7, 2016

As a customer, I love hearing a clerk or store-owner tell me: “Thank you for your business.”

Unfortunately, I don’t hear that very often these days. Instead, I’m noticing an ironic twist between clerks and customers. Instead of clerks thanking customers for their business, the clerks often say nothing…then, more often than not, customers fill-in-the-blank and say “thank you” to the clerks!

I have to admit, I sometimes find myself doing the same thing. When that happens, I wonder why we customers so easily slip into this behavior. Why do we thank clerks for the privilege of shopping at that store?

Don’t get me wrong. I like politeness. It just seems that the situation is bass-ackwards. I think it’s easy to get sucked into that vacuum of silence at the cash register. It’s a moment when it seems that somebody should say something…and we feel that that “something” is a “thank you”…and if the clerk doesn’t say it, then WE will say it!

On days when I have more presence of mind, I sometimes respond to that silence by saying  “Okay” or “Have a nice day.” I feel it’s a polite way of responding to clerks who don’t thank me for my business.

I realize this whole topic may seem a bit trivial. I guess it is. But as I see it, most of our days are filled with trivial things. Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked: “Manners are the happy way of doing things.” So why wouldn’t a store want a customer to be happy? Why shouldn’t a clerk thank a customer for patronizing a store–and not the other way around?

This morning, I shopped at two national retailers. Neither clerk thanked me for my business.

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