Small Talk or Social Grease


Tonight I want to address a discussion I became involved in on a forum.  Someone asked if people felt that interactions with businesses, either face-to-face or in telephone conversations had become overly familiar and insincere.

2015-08-27 01I felt that this was the case and even quoted the following example which was fresh in my mind.

I had just been to pick up my new glasses and during the process of fitting and adjusting them I was asked

“How’s your day been?” – “fine, thank you” then
“Are you working?” – “yes” then
“Where do you work?” – “name of employer” then
“So, what have you got planned for the weekend?” – “just a quiet weekend at home”.

At this point the glasses were ready and I escaped. I am much closer to 60 than 50 and the interrogator was was a male who was probably in his 30s. I had to bite my tongue not to reply with something the lines of “none of your business” after the first question and answer which I accept as standard. Am I being too harsh? I am quite happy to sit quietly while the fitting process is completed.

I do not mind chatting and some people who know me in real life would attest to that.  However, I am essentially an introvert and prefer not to share all of my details with a random stranger who is not really interested in my answers.  One of the aspects of this particular example which I found particularly annoying was the interrogative style of questioning. I have thought about this and examined my interactions quite a bit since the experience I outlined above.  I have decided that it really all in the delivery.  Probing questions that leave you feeling as though you are being interrogated are not the way to go.  It is clearly an art to set the customer at ease and have a casual conversation.

Like the poster at the top, perhaps I should build up a collection of witty one-liners for times when I feel confronted by the line of questioning.

What are your thoughts?