Meredith's C-Town post reminded me of the question that would have been burning inside me had I not forgotten it instantly upon exiting Trader Joe's in Cobble Hill: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PEOPLE?
I want to see the corporate training manual because this over-friendly cool-aid swilling chit chat is just plain wrong. And it seems to be as endemic as those hawaiian shirts.
As you know, I am a serious infipstigative journalist, and so I made it my business this morning to do a little research.
That photo above, by the way? On some woman's blog with the following quote: "One of the clerks saw what we were doing and ran over saying, 'Wait, you can't take pictures without a Trader Joe's Guy!'"
I know: I'm a curmudgeon. But, really, I'm not. There's just a fine line between good service and freakish, glass-eyed love-huggishness.
My favorite of the commentary I found online...
"I live in NYC where the clerks are often sullen and won't say thank you (even after the customer says it) so believe me, it's not that I don't appreciate friendly service. I just don't like the "play by play" Howard Cosell "What, ANOTHER bag of frozen blueberries, WOW" kind of commentary, by someone who is ringing up my groceries."
"I consider the perkiness as the price we pay for them not being sullen."
From The Ugly New Yorker:
"Without fail, I’ve always felt like my cashier was hitting on me. Men and women cashiers alike. They are more interested in what I did this weekend than most of the guys I’ve dated in the past year. They engage you in chitchat, they smile at you, they make lingering eye contact. And THEY ALL DO IT."
I'm just not sure what sort of Walt-Disney-themed corporate training that the cashiers are put through to become so obnoxiously involved with their customers at check-out. I'm all for a smile or two, but these people just take it way too far.
So, what gives? Trader Joe's dissidents, closeted crew members, wherever you are: tell us what you know.
[ed note: In a VERY bizarre twist of fate, I have the following confession to make: I kind of dig the over-the-top friendliness of the TJ folks. Much like the "layering" of my toppings at Forty Carrots frozen yogurt, it makes me feel like they care. Even if they ARE just acting their faces off--Erica].