Thursday, April 14, 2011

We're Not That Different . . . BUT . . .

This morning I had a business call with someone in the New York City area, and he was, well, more New York, let's just say, than New York itself. Often when you make the comment that someone is "very New York," people immediately think you're suggesting that they're rude in some way. Angelo -- the name of the guy I was speaking with -- was extremely polite, and his customer service was so good, in fact,that I thanked him for it.

“Listen, Angelo, I just want to say I really appreciate the customer service you’ve shown me this morning.”

And this is where the major linguistic difference between New Yorkers and Texans suddenly became very evident. Or maybe what became evident was that I’ve been away from New York for a long time.

What I was ready, and kind of expecting, to hear was, “Yessir.” Or “You bet!” These are, I’ve realized pretty much the standard way that most people say “You’re welcome.” (With the exception of “You’re welcome,” which both New Yorkers and Texans do often still say.)

So instead of saying any of the phrases above, Angelo – who, with these few sentences brought me right back to my roots – said this:

“C’mon, Dan, please. Will you stop?”

“Excuse me?”

“Just stop it, okay? C’mon. This is what I do for you, is it not?”

“Uh, yes?”

“That’s right, so c’mon. Just stop it with the ‘thank-you’s’ already, will you?”

“Um, okay, Angelo.”

“All right, Dan. Listen, be good, all right? Glad I could help.”

And that was it. He was on to his next call.

The whole episode made me smile, and, as I’ve done many times before since moving to Texas, I thought of this classic TV commercial that says it all. I don’t know whether it’s in the Advertising Hall of Fame. If it isn’t, it certainly should be.


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