Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Panera is one of the chain restaurants that are doing well, and eating the lunch of MacDonald's and many of the other "classic" fast food places. But while the food is acceptable and the places pleasant -- there are some subversive minds at work. And it has to be coming from the demented craniums of upper management, where most stupidity ultimately resides -- and is often more evident as a company grows and succeeds. So here's the deal.

Recentlly, they started calling people "guests," instead of customers. This is such a load of happy horseshit that I just can't stand it. I invite "guests" to my house and I may reasonably be called a "guest" at a hotel, but I am not a freakin' guest of Panera -- I'm a customer, a hungry person who wants a bagel and some coffee. So cut the shit and go back to saying, "Can I help you?"

But I should have seen this coming, because a year ago, a Panera manager said to me what I still think is the funniest/most moronic comment I'd ever heard from a service person. After my number was called, and I gathered up my tray, the pudgy manager-type said.....

"Have an enjoyable salad!"

And he said it with such delicious, intense purpose that I think he really meant it!

So is this bad? Yea, it is. The pre-programming of workers is sad and stupid. While it's important to train people not to spit out "Whaddya want?" like Annie Potts did in "Ghostbusters," it's also important not to create dopes who can't think for themselves or learn to interact with other humans like a human.

More on this later.