In Germany, Wal-Mart stopped requiring sales clerks to smile at customers — a practice that some male shoppers interpreted as flirting — and scrapped the morning Wal-Mart chant by staff members.
“People found these things strange; Germans just don’t behave that way,” said Hans-Martin Poschmann, the secretary of the Verdi union, which represents 5,000 Wal-Mart employees here.
Hello my beautiful babies. As you may have surmised from my face, I am not in a particularly jovial mood today. While our southern fried chicken has been selling quite well among the nostalgic American expats in Prenzlauerberg, we've run into a bit of a snafu -- and it has nothing to do with owner Joe's unfortunate press statements in support of Paula Deen. No, no...we've been receiving complaints from customers who have been just a tad bit stressed, some might say "aggrieved," by our customer service. I received this hand-written note in the mailbox today:
-Wal-Mart Finds That Its Formula Doesn’t Fit Every Culture, New York Times, August 2, 2006
To whom it may concern,
Hello, my name is Markus and I visited your establishment a few weeks ago. I love southern food and have always wanted to make the road trip across U.S. to visit all those places where they eat that. Unfortunately, I felt very alienated by your disingenuous servers. For example, the waitress smiled at me before I had even left her a tip. Why? What did I do to deserve such a smile? I have not given her love, money, protection or a home. I do not trust people who smile unwarranted.
Kittens, what have I said about unwarranted smiles? Let's say it in unison:
It freaks Germans out.
We must let go of excessive niceties like saying "hi", asking folks how they are doing or acknowledging their presence with even so much as a nod.
Remember what I told you in May? Customers are nothing but walking, talking pieces of poo rolled in money. People in Berlin expect the brutal truth, like something you'd hear from an alcoholic, yet truthful, Mom: "You are fat, ugly and probably at the low-end of the Autism spectrum."
At the very least, we must strive to be as unhelpful as possible. For example, if some poor soul asks you what the difference between a large and a small drink is, simply sigh, look at the ceiling and say, "One is small, the other is large." If they keep pestering you, yell at them loudly to fuck off.
Think like a local, to whom capitalism is just another fad that is currently having its day in the sun. Those stupid tourists, they think, they're invading our stores like a plague of locusts! They're turning Berlin into some stupid Stasi-themed amusement park! How dare they expect good service just because they're paying for something.
I hope you all realize that treating our customers like they are the worst thing that has ever happened to us is absolutely imperative if we want to have a successful business in Berlin.
Thank you and get back to not doing work!