31 July 2009

I Hate You for Making Me Say This

I hate saying stupid things. I count as "stupid" the silly things we now have to say to purchase various items or use certain services. It has always struck me as mildly manipulative, for example, that a McDonald's patron has to say "I'd like to super size that, please." Because really, all you are doing is repeating what some advertising executive came up with as a way to brand McDonald's and grab more market share.

OK, call me cynical.

But there are other things I feel silly saying just because. I hate saying "Grande" or "Vente" when I order at Starbucks, especially the latter. I suspect that my reluctance to say those two words is the real reason behind my regular order of a Tall Non-Fat Latte. "Tall" is a normal word. I can say "tall." (Never mind that what that actually means is "I'll have the small size, please." So now, tall = small. Interesting.)

I have always claimed that I order the "tall" because the other sizes are just too big for me. I can support this claim by pointing out my almost mythic inability to finish an entire cup of coffee. I always leave some to linger and get cold in the bottom of the cup. It drives the spouse nuts, which is just an added bonus.

But it's possible that real reason I don't order those bigger sizes is actually that I do not want to say Grande or Vente.

I also hate saying the words "Food Court." It sounds so made up, so Disneyland, so artificial. I was at Costco with the kids the other day, and the cashier referred to the Food Court. This is a dingy counter with two or three very small windows that you have to crouch down into in order to talk to the poor unfortunate "food service provider" on the other side.

A "court" it is not. It's a food counter, and that's it. My saying the words "food court" does not dress it up, nor make the food taste better, nor make me believe I am eating somewhere with character or atmosphere. It kind of actually makes me feel ridiculous, which I resent.

Ditto for any "just say PICKLE PARTY to receive a 10% discount!" That's just an example, but you've seen these promotions. Come on people, just give me the discount and don't make me jump through your pickle hoops. I am not a trained seal -- I am a potential customer and would like a little respect.

Language matters. Don't you think?

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3 comments:

Viv said...

I also feel foolish saying ,"chicken mcnuggets," it always makes me cringe. I figured it was just me though.

I also have an inability to finish a cup of coffee. Mine seems to stem from many small children. It seems the smell of coffee makes my children remember all kinds of things they need me to do. This phenomenon isn't enough for me to turn durn the Venti though.

Jen said...

I enjoy ordering food in the branded language of another restaurant. Like, going to Wendy's and asking for McNuggets. Or asking to Biggie Size at McDonald's.

Papa John's Pizza around here used the term "Papa-Size" for a while. That one hurt a bit.

GabrieleBriggs said...

My recommendation is to fight back by having a double espresso macchiato. Just the right proportion of coffee and foam. Molto bene!