Be Natural: Artificial versus Natural Flavoring

Remember the Seinfeld episode “The Invitations”? It is most famous for George’s fiancee Susan dying from the poison glue on your wedding invitations. But there is a side plot where Kramer gets made at his bank. The bank promises customers $100 if an employee doesn’t say “Hello.” Kramer gets upset when the teller says “Hey” to him instead of “Hello” and demands his $100. There is a really funny scene where Kramer is meeting the bank manager and a bunch of employees go by saying “How you doing?,” ”What’s happening?” and “What’s up?” Kramer ultimately settles for $20.

We’ve been in our office building for nearly seven years, and for most of that time have used the bank in our building. It was a small local bank but provided very good service and had excellent deposit availability rules. Earlier this year, the bank failed and was taken over by Huntington Bank. While the name on the door changed overnight, the branch experience didn’t change at first. Over a couple of months they repainted and redecorated. They also got rid of the free cookies for customers, which I still think is short sighted.

Another Huntington change: the employees have to say “Welcome” when you come in the door. And they do. And I keep thinking it just seems totally artificial. I’m wondering if they’ve done surveys and ask people “What do you think of when you go to Huntington” and the response is “I’m always welcomed.” Success! The real question is “Do you like it?”

I can tell you it is creeping me out and I don’t like going there. I’d much prefer “Hey” or “”How you doing?” or “What’s happening?” or “What’s up?” to hearing “Welcome” every time I walk through the door. Feels like “The Stepford Wives.”

Go natural. Everyone sees through artificial.

Be natural. Don't force being artificial on people because it will seem like a Seinfeld episode.

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Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies. Joel writes observations on different matters and especially on working with and using LinkedIn. He thinks he has a sense of humor.

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