Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 2 July 2019


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I wrote this post five years ago when I was in top gear banging on about the often dire customer service particularly but not exclusively in supermarkets. In five years, I can say that nothing has changed. In fact, in my experiences, things are worse than ever. It seems in a lot of cases, employees are hired because of their miserable personalities and absence of basic good manners. There are glorious exceptions but they are the exceptions, which is bonkers. One of the many retail cliches was/is 'hire for attitude and train for aptitude'.

I am prompted to revise this post because I have just been served by a 'lemon sucker. Please read on.

I coined the term "lemon sucker" on a BBC Radio 4 assignment about customer service. Lemon suckers are employees who by their pinched lips, concave cheeks and squinted eyes give out signals that they are not happy serving the public. 

There is too much average to poor service in shops, hotels, restaurants, post offices, health centres, libraries, etc and service industries should be more selective in recruitment and more meticulous in managing front line service employees. I have also referred to mint crunchers, gum chewers and water swiggers, more and more common on checkouts and service counters, maybe because mastication is now an essential part of the job description.  It looks horrible.  It is horrible.  A sour face, especially distorted by the action of crunching, chewing and swigging has no place in customer service.  

This very morning, it was the health centre receptionist. A smile-free zone. Sigh. Where 
do they get 'em from?


“Woke up this morning, went to the store,
Wondering if I’d get a smile or frown at the door
I got the blues,
I’ve got them lemon suckin’ blues
Will I win or lose
With those lemon suckin’ blues

Shop girl smiles on the left, lemon sucker frowns on the right
I know where I’m heading ‘coz I don’t want a fright
With the blues
With them lemon suckin’ blues
I want to win and not lose
With those lemon suckin’ blues
I’ll vote with my shoes
To sidestep those lemon suckin’ blues”

No comments:

Post a comment