Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too Many Muhammads

My new job has a “business casual” dress code every day of the week. For the past six weeks, they’ve been doing something they call “Denim Day” on Fridays, but it’s not what you think. We’re allowed to wear jeans if we pay a minimum of five dollars for the privilege, which is then donated to a local charity, such as Meals on Wheels. I flatly refuse to pay money to wear jeans, as though I’m bribing a prison guard to let me keep a parakeet in my cell.

One problem I’m facing is that this company has a higher standard of “business casual” than I’m used to. The shirts are dressy and crisp, the pants are high quality and the shoes are shiny. Over the years, my “business casual” clothing collection has become outdated and shabby, so I needed to do the one thing I despise: I had to shop for clothes.

My first stop was Casual Male, because I’m long-waisted and require my shirts to be cut long. I’ve never shopped there before. Even though I’m 6”1’ and weigh 230 pounds, it seems that I’m a tiny little elf as far as Casual Male is concerned.

I went to Burlington Coat Factory to take advantage of their low prices, but it seems the bulk of their merchandise is designed to make you look “urban” rather than “urbane.” You don't see many people in the banking profession flashing gang signs.

Finally, I went to JCPenney (that’s how they spell it). In the shoe department, I was greeted by an incredibly attentive and polite salesman. When I made my purchase, he gave me the receipt and explained that if I complete an online survey, I can print out a coupon good for 15% off almost anything in the store on my next visit. “Be sure to enter my name,” he told me, and wrote “Muhammad” on the receipt. I promised that I would, and thanked him for his help.

I wandered around for a little while, and picked up a couple of additional items in the men’s department. When I checked out, the clerk printed my receipt and gave me the same information about the survey. “Please enter my name when you finish the survey,” he asked, and wrote his name on the receipt: “Muhammad.”

So how does JCPenney know which Muhammad to reward for their service excellence? One of them was an outstanding employee; the other was just running a cash register. Who designed this stupid system? Was his name “Muhammad?”

1 comment:

burton said...

All clerks in JCPenney are named Muhammad on Saturdays. Sundays they are named Jay. Monday they are Chris. Tuesday they are Philippe. See what you miss for not shopping for clothes for so long?!