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Re: CHAT: "have a nice day"

From:Matt Pearson <jmpearson@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 7, 2000, 15:59
>I'm sorry, but I'm just not getting it. If "have a nice day" is offensive, >what is a NONoffensive way to convey the same thing? And what makes it >offensive (or is it just something like broccoli that one doesn't like for >no apparent reason)?
I dislike the expression for several reasons: (1) It's become a cliche--but not enough of a cliche to go unnoticed. (2) The word "nice" is so insipid. When applied to people ("He's a really nice person") the word still carries some significance, but in expressions like "Have a nice day" the word "nice" has become so semantically bleached as to be virtually meaningless. If the best you can say about something is that it's "nice", that's a pretty bad sign. It's a classic case of damning with faint praise. (3) For me and many other people of my generation (and no doubt the previous generation as well), "Have a nice day" is the epitome of the empty 'feel good' bumper-sticker sentiment. It conjures up in my mind the malaise of the mid-to-late 70s, when it was more important to feel good about yourself than to do anything about anything, and when having a nice day was the best anybody could hope for. Later it was picked up as a catch-phrase by bureaucrats, PR people, cashiers, and 'customer service respresentatives', and quickly became synonymous with insincerity. In short, this innocuous little expression carries a surprisingly large amount of negative cultural baggage. Get it? During my brief tenure as a customer service representative, I used "Have a good day". Not much better than "Have a nice day", but at least "good" is more unambiguously positive than "nice". Matt.