It used to be that when you went into an establishment, such as a restaurant or fast food place, there was a certain "flavor" of the place. The Employees (waitresses waitstaff, servers, servatrons, counter people, whatever) were either friendly, grumpy or somewhere in between. Now it seems like whatever corporation runs them is dictating not just how they are to act (and it IS an act), but what they are to say.
There is a chain of burrito restaurants that was started in the Atlanta (not "the A.T.L.") area called "Moe's". The whole concept of the chain is a little quirky, the music they play is only from dead musicians, the food has weird names like "Homewrecker", "Joey bag of Donuts", "Alfredo Garcia", etc. But one thing that made the place unique, was, every time a customer walked into the place, everybody behind the counter would holler "WELCOME TO MOE'S!!!" It was kinda corny, and cool at the same time. Well, the concept caught on, and now so many times, when you walk into a restaurant, someone hollers "WELCOME TO (insert name here)!!!" Couldn't they figure out something different?
Also in Atlanta, there is a wonderful restaurant chain called "Chick Fil-A". I know some of you only know them as a fast food-type restaurant, but here they have actual sit down areas with servers. I noticed a few months ago that whenever you say "thank you" to an employee, their response was "My pleasure". I mean EVERYBODY says "My pleasure". You can sometimes get three or four "My pleasures" out of an employee. Now do you think Chick Fil-A only hires people that say "My Pleasure"? Of course not. The company is dictating to all employees that the only response to "Thank you" is "My pleasure". They can't say "You're welcome", "Sure", or "No problem" (I hate hate one anyway). It sounds like the Stepford Wives. It can get knee-deep in "My pleasures" in there.
American business has dumbed down customer service so much so they don't actually have to hire people with customer service skills, they can just hire someone and order them to say certain things in certain situations. This relieves the manager or HR from actually having to think. I can see an evaluation going like this: "OK, Jane, you get Needs Improvement in "Welcome to Bob's", but Exceeds Expectations in "My pleasure". Why, I once heard you say "My pleasure" 14 times to one customer, keep up the good work." I expect and demand that my employees be friendly to customers, but they are free to use their own words.
This carries forward in other aspects of life, as soon as one company comes up with an original idea, everybody has to copy it. It's like "Oh, Apple made a music player? Let's make one that looks just like it and does the same thing." Speaking of which, how many things can be called i(something)? Make a hit TV show, and there are dozens of clones, many by the same producers.
Now, there's parody, which I love. This blog is a take off on Bill O'Reilly's "The No Spin Zone". Parody and satire is different than just copying something. Mad Magazine and SNL makes a good living making fun of something else.
The fashion fad world is also infamous for the lack of originality. One person wears their shirt 4 sizes too big, and everybody does the same. Hang your pants below your ass and the world will follow. " Boy, that's unique, let's copy it!"
And don't get me started on the spoken word. "Where's the beef?", "I can't believe I ate the whole thing", "Dine-o-mite", etc. These were creations of Madison avenue and Hollywood. One that's taken over the world the past few months is...
Well, let's just say that I'd like to throw "throw (blank) under the bus" under the bus.
That Weird Uncle