Last week, I wrote about Stupid Signs that we sometimes see around town. In our mad rush to get things accomplished each day, we usually don’t even notice them.
But what about expressions people use that set your teeth on edge? It could be a phrase used by a “talking head” on TV or a speaker at a boring, mandatory work meeting. You might even hear someone close to you throwing them around, but you’re too polite to say, “Please don’t ever say that again. Thanks.”
What am I talking about? I’m talking (or rather, writing) about expressions like these:
1. “At the end of the day…” This one is really old; I remember it from my IBM days in the ’70s, back when my job was processing orders for keypunch and card reader machines. That was ages ago! At meetings, the managers would try to get the masses fired up to sell more products and be nicer to the customers so that we’d all be successful “at the end of the day.”
Can’t people just say, “in the end” and be done with it? Unfortunately, no one ever consults me on language matters like this.
2. “It’s all good.” What does that mean? Everything isn’t all good. Oh, no, toilet’s plugged up and my cable was turned off. Son got suspended from school for a week. Don’t worry, it’s all good.
Even Gwyneth Paltrow used it on the cover of her new cookbook:
“It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great.”
Here’s one for you, Gwyneth: Stuff It.
3. “As we move forward together…” You can go ahead and move forward, mister, but I’m on my own schedule. Unless, of course, it means a raise, in which case, I will move forward to wherever we’re going together. Maybe to another meeting or workshop. Together.
4. Last, as a conclusion to my b#t@hing session, I would like to mention some words that should be sent out to pasture permanently. They were pulled from an online customer satisfaction survey from my bank.
I gave the employees an outstanding rating because I knew heads would roll if someone got less than the highest rating. Heaven forbid the customer service is rated “Very Good” or “Average.”
At the end of the day, that’s not good enough.
Anyway, here are the words that need to be banned:
5. “The employee was empowered to help you.”
You’d think just being an employee would “empower” someone to help you, wouldn’t it?
6.“Engaged you in discussions to find out what’s important to you.”
I don’t want to “engage” in a discussion with anyone at the bank, unless it’s to tell me they made an error in my favor, and I actually have a thousand dollars more in my account than I thought. Besides, what about the line of ten customers behind me who are on their lunch hour, tapping their feet impatiently while ”engaging” is taking place at the counter? Engage, my a$$.
7. “Proactively asked about your needs and suggested solutions that would benefit you.” Here’s what I need: a bank that pays more than .0003 interest on my savings account. Can you do that? No? Then don’t ask.
That’s all I have for now, and boy, do I feel better.