We’re working on a new Freakonomics Radio piece about what might best be called “retail etiquette.” It was inspired in part by this blog post, about how the quantity and quality of employees affects a company’s bottom line; and by this e-mail from a listener named Dawn Nordquist:
I’ve noticed that, at the beginning of the podcasts, a short banter between the two of you is included regarding thanking the listening audience. Thanking the listening audience aside, what are your thoughts/observations on thanking in commercial transactions? I have recently been struck by how often I am not thanked when purchasing something. The only recent literature that I could pull up on this was a 1999 article “Thanking Behavior in Service Provider-Customer Encounters: The Effects of Age, Gender, and Race” (Martin and Adams, Journal of Social Psychology 5, 665-7). Do you know of anything more recent? Do you have any thoughts on whether thanking routines are changing in the U.S.?
We’ll do our own review of the literature (although please do suggest anything appropriate), but what we really want from you is stories. We’re looking for noteworthy stories, positive or negative, from both sides of the counter, meaning you as a customer or you as an employee. If the latter, did your company’s rules on retail etiquette seem thoughtful/ridiculous/onerous? Or maybe you’re the person who sets the rules in your firm — we want to hear from you too.
Thanks as always.