Have a nice day. The overly cheerful young woman bid as I left the teller window at my bank. I responded with my customary “you too.” I wondered how many times she would spout that overused, hackneyed catchphrase during the course of her workday. Is it just me or is everyone else a little weary of this worn-out, tedious expression. I realize that businesses want their employees to be friendly and ebullient, and have a nice day is a safe and pleasant way to end any business transaction or communication. But where’s the originality and innovation in society these days? Is ingenuity and novelty dead?
Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit and see what happens. Here’s a list of alternatives that are slightly different, but just as vanilla in content. I don’t believe any businesses out there would object to these: Have an awesome day. Have a great day. Thank you and have a great day. Good luck and have a great day. Talk to you later. See you later. Nice talking to you. I look forward to talking to you again. See you later alligator. Have a great trip. Hasta mañana. Hasta luego. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. These offer a tinge of creativity without the fear of offending some poor, hapless soul.
Another pointless observation of mine is that the tone and sincerity of the farewell expressions depend on the establishment you are leaving. At my bank the men and women could not be friendlier and come across as competent and sincere. They almost always leave me with a satisfied, cheerful feeling as I exit the bank–my kudos to banking personnel everywhere. So their “have a nice day” doesn’t irk me as much as those that have no feeling or genuineness.
On the other hand, when grabbing my sack of greasy, fattening grub from the drivethru window at the local gagand- bag, I’ve often noticed a lack of heartfelt retorts from the pimple-faced hooligans sneering at me. They often appear bothered and annoyed by my presence. These slugs muttering “have a nice day” drooled out in a monotone voice almost make me laugh. You might want to work on your sincerity dude.
When a clerk, food server or phone voice spouts, “Have a nice day,” I assume they are actually thinking, “Really, I don’t give a crap what kind of day you have. But please inform my supervisor that I was friendly so he stays off my back.” What I’m sure it does not mean is–“I will cry myself to sleep if I discover that you had a less than satisfactory day.”
I never use “Have a nice day;” however, my parting shots are just as meaningless and empty. I try to shake it up occasionally, but usually settle for “Have a good one, see ya next time” or “Rock on dude.” (That last one is for close friends, only because it’s so lame.)
Here’s another short list of polite alternatives to the mindnumbing have a nice day: Godspeed, Talk to you later, Ta ta for now, ciao, see ya, Live long and prosper, Cheerio, Y’all come back now, So long, Farewell, Bon voyage, Aloha, Peace out, Be well, I must take leave of you now, Adios, Arrivaderci, Au revoir, Hasta la vista, and Fare thee well.
As a substitute, you are welcome to use the corny line my dad repeatedly spouted for years when saying his goodbyes to my friends. “Great day for the race!” To which most people responded, “What race?” My dad would flash a wry smile and proudly pronounce, “The human race!”
Pete Whalon, author of “The Siagon Zoo” has called Southern California home since age five.