Eclectic thoughts on harnessing the power of suggestion for your own benefit in everyday transactions. Part I
“Have a nice day!”
How hacked-off have you felt since shop staff, from coffee shops to department stores started thanking you for your custom by that irksome Americanism? (Unless you’re American, I suppose)
I know I did.
Moreover, studying NLP and hypnotherapy language patterns to the extent I have, makes me just a little bit more sensitive to the features of speech. After all, it’s one of the ways I elicit what is really going on in a client’s mind, which they probably hadn’t even noticed.
Until one day, I sought to unpack what that phrase contained to generate my less-than-favourable response. Scowling, mostly.
After all, they’re just doing their job and some shiny-suited middle-manager thought it was better than a simple “Goodbye!”
(As an aside, what has been the buyer’s remorse and subsequent return rate on goods since staff ceased reinforcing the value of the purchase with a Goodbye/Good buy homophony, surreptitiously weaving its spell on the unconscious? Hmm…)
You can see where this is going. So stay with me. All good things to those who wait…
So, parking my initial annoyance that culturally, we were becoming America’s stationary aircraft carrier in the west, I examined what it might mean.
What possible objection did I have to the wish that I go and have a nice day? It’s a pleasant wish. I concluded that it was the insincerity that accompanied the delivery, the paralinguistic features of the speech utterance that created a schism between delivery and intent. And hence my conscious reason for rejection.
But I had heard the words. And the unconscious mind doesn’t give a stuff about nuance – it can be very black and white in these matters. So, breaking the putative semantic components down into their base form, I am simply being ordered to have a nice day. Hmm…
So, why don’t I?
Because I had taken against the falsity of the speech act. It wasn’t genuine but neither is thanking waiters for bringing my coffee twelve minutes after ordering it but I still adopt common courtesy.
Which meant I was every bit as guilty as the poor shop assistant doing their best to earn the minimum wage.
I realised I was spurning a gift. A human being, complicit, no, essential for completing my transaction, orders me to have a nice day.
Then it dawned on me – what will happen if I acquiesce, even surrender to the suggestion. So I did. This is how it went:
“Your receipt’s in the bag. Have a nice day!”
“Yes, I will, thank-you. You, too! Goodbye.”
It transformed the transaction. I left the sales assistant with a smile on her face, by acknowledging acceptance of the command and reinforced the pleasure of my purchase with a Goodbye/Good buy, which elicited her much-missed farewell, on my part.
In conclusion, if you feel like getting some value added, after making a purchase, be it a coffee, fuel for your car or a new outfit and the vendor bids you a nice day – accept it vocally.
You’ll be surprised at how good you feel…
Mark Gosbee, July 2015
How about ‘In sickness and in health’? Using NLP and hypnotherapy suggestions to feel better. Coming up soon in Part II.
To be continued…