Saturday, March 28, 2009

All team members report to clerical for this evening's huddle

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, please read it as the song,"Ants Marching," by Dave Matthews Band (On my playlist, the band is listed as DMB) plays in the background...go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I was in Target at 5:45pm ish this evening when I heard over the loadspeaker, "All team members report to clerical for this evening's huddle. All team member's report to clerical for this evening's huddle."
I think the girl making the announcement said it about 4 more times before she was satisfied that she had made her point. Each time she said it, I cringed a little bit harder. It's the terminology that I can't stand. The employees of Target are not "Employee's," they are "Team Members," and they are not going to "Have A Meeting," they are going to "Huddle." I wanted to shout back to the loudspeaker voice, "Hey, this isn't the locker room of the San Francisco 49ers or the Miami Dolphins, This is Target. Everyone here wears khaki pants and red shirts and never any padding or head gear."
Blink once.
Blink twice really fast.
Y'all, let me be clear: That's just stupid talk.
It reminded me too much of when I was 17 and worked at Chuck E. Cheese. They had a whole code of phrases and words for us, too; things that we were supposed to say that anyone feels stupid saying. For instance, if there was a spill on the floor, and you walked by, you were not supposed to "Bend Over And Wipe It Up With The Towel That You Were Always Required To Wear On Your Bright Red Polyester Apron," you were supposed to stop whatever you were doing and "Magic Clean" the spill. Which, being interpreted, means that you bend over and wipe it up with the towel that you were always required to wear on your bright red polyester apron.
If something needed to be done and you were busy doing something else that needed to be done, you were supposed to, I forget the term now, but I think it was "Make Magic Time," or something. In other words, you were supposed to "Make Something Happen That Is Impossible To Make Happen Because You Are Already Doing Something Else."
And Heaven help you if you ever slipped up and called a customer a "Customer." You always, ALWAYS called them "Guests." These were our "Guests" who were spilling all of their soda everywhere, bringing in birthday cakes from outside and never sharing with us, and demanding more tokens. But Chuck E Cheese was not my home. I know this because when I am home, I never, for instance, clean the bathroom every 15 minutes, (yes, you read that correctly) or dress in ugly polyester shorts, a polo shirt with a picture of a mouse on it, aforementioned bright red apron, red visor (indoors), all of which always smell like pizza and garlic, no matter how often you launder them. At home, I never run to the front of the room and do a choreographed dance everytime I hear the song "Mony Mony" start playing over the loadspeakers...a dance that anyone with half of a brain would feel completely moronic doing in his or her own bedroom alone in front of a mirror, let alone in front of a room full of paying customers. I mean "GUESTS."*
Y'all, have any of you actually ever been offended by the word "Customer?" I'll go first and share that I, at least, actually prefer to be called a customer. I just want to get my thing that I am trying to pay for and leave the establishment. While I am in the place of business, I do not want any of the employees sidling up to me and pretending that I am his or her new best friend, best guest EVER, and he or she is going to personally show me his or her CD collection. Um, pass. I choose my own friends, thank you. Just let me buy a freakin' lawn chair or blouse or Pringles or whatever happens to be on my list, or randomly catch my fancy. Take my money when I walk up to the register, whether it's cash, credit or ATM. Give me my stuff in bags. Let me leave. Call me "Customer." I, for one, have never been offended by that word. I already said that, but somethings are worth repeating. In fact, I feel weird when I hear the employees start talking to each other in "teammate" talk in front of me. Sometimes they get into it, and I think, "man, that guy is probably just lonely, and needs somewhere to belong, with an "inside language/code" that he, and only a select few, are able to understand and properly utilize. He and the few who are also the only ones who are allowed to walk BEHIND the checkstand and stand in that little cubby. Lucky dog. Let me buy my knock off Lucky Charms in peace, and no, I probably don't want to save 10% today by applying for the card, either, thankyoueversomuch.


*In fact, it makes me uncomfortable when employees are forced to do any kind of singing or dancing at what should simply be their after school job. The last time I was at Coldstones, I told the nice employee, "I will tip you, but please don't sing."

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