Do You Kiss Your Customers With That Mouth?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

   

It used to be a joke when someone said, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” We need to ask, “Do your customers or associates with that mouth?” 

Ok, anyone who’s known me in say the last 15 year at least, knows I’ve been the girl with THE biggest potty mouth. I could rival most sailors and I’m not bragging, just sadly stating facts. My mother always said she thought I’d be the first one to smoke, drink and cuss. Well, I’m shamefully admit that I mastered the cussing part quite well. When you’re young and you cuss, it’s because you think it’s cool and you want to fit in. What I’m trying to figure out is why you do it when you’re older and supposed to know better. For me, it was habit mostly and the big exclamation point in every sentence. I’m part Italian and from the North, so it’s just part of the make-up and personality (good excuse ey!). Those Jersey Shores girls “ain’t got nothin’ on me!” wlEmoticon winkingsmile1 Do You Kiss Your Customers With That Mouth?

My (pretty much lifelong) battle with expletives really hit home when I had my child. It wasn’t until around 3 years old that it really started bothering me and I started to “get” it. The funny thing was, I was always somehow able to keep it clean when I volunteered or was in the presence of elders, interesting – meaning I knew how to shut it off. A massive turning point was when a friend said something that just struck and actually embarrassed me because she hadn’t really been privy to my full-blow vocabulary, but maybe just enough though to send me a message. Friend said that “using curse words as part of a normal sentence or in every day vocabulary just makes you look stupid; like your vocabulary is limited because you hadn’t learned enough.” Hmm. .. I thought long and hard about that. Me, stupid? I didn’t like thinking about that too much. My behavior immediately began to change and now it’s funny because when someone does curse around me, my ears prick up and it screams out.

So the point of this post … I’m not addressing how we speak to one another on a personal level … that’s for someone else’s blog and rant. What is of interest to me is how we conduct ourselves on a business/professional level. I take note when I read an article in a notable, well-established publication and it blatantly uses the f-word in it. I don’t get that. I’m reading along and all of the sudden there’s an f-bomb explosion or whatever other offensive word and changes the whole experience for me. It just unnecessary. Exclamation points are necessary – f-bombs aren’t. When I read a blog and the blogger uses it, hey that’s their deal because it’s their territory – I’m totally ok with that. However, if a publication does it, it indeed takes me back. I will not retweet it or reference it no matter how good the content. Why? Because I do not know if any of my followers or anyone who stumbles upon my tweet or FB would be offended; so I just leave it alone and pass. I bring this up because it’s happened twice this past week.

Heck, if I wouldn’t forward it to my mother, I’m not forwarding to a customer, client or a business associate … it’s called R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  I respect my mom, I respect my customers and clients, and I respect fellow business associates. It appears that our society today has a grave misunderstanding of the definition of the word respect and the waters are very muddled unfortunately. Hint to business folks, just because our teens and youth speak like that doesn’t mean we have to. (That brings me to a whole other blog topic about “casualness” and how we address each other. That’s a rant for another post.)

Interestingly, I have a client whom I think is a very nice person. His business however, is struggling and we discuss ways to help it. He wonders why he doesn’t get the bids and no one calls him back. Well, there’s a screaming red siren and that siren is his constant stream of curse words. I was totally taken off guard  during  my initial dealings with him because of this. I can say it definitely offends me; yet, I always try and counteract with some positive. I can’t say that if I was seeking him for work on my home that he would be on the top of my list though. Huge, huge turnoff. I struggle if I should say something to him about it, like the reality that it may not be so much the economy that’s hurting his business, as it is his mouth.

So before being so carefree with our customers and peers and definitely prior to writing, perhaps just to keep things in check, maybe we should ask, “Do you kiss your customers with that mouth?” 

Now that I’ve vented a little bit, let me know what you think. Am I a prude or off base? Do you feel the same? What are your thoughts about potty mouths and potty writers? I’d love to hear and welcome all input on this!

In my day, we didn’t have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned.  ~Jane Haddam

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7 Responses to Do You Kiss Your Customers With That Mouth?

  1. Jason from Skyward says:

    Elena,
    Man do I love the message of this post, I’m not offended when folks use profanity in their posts, but it is a turn off for me.
    Funny, I ‘saw the light’ because of my first child too! That’s when my life changed…really when I found God.
    Love the fact that you stand for something Eleana…great stuff!

  2. Elena says:

    Hello Jason,

    What a privilege to have you visit here! Thank you so much!!!

    You know I had thought about writing this post on several occasions and the particular week it was written, I was floored at two very notable business magazines using what I would call “extreme” profanity in two articles. The killer was that it was so unnecessary and pointless. I was taken back that they would publish this; as any “effectiveness” of their point was totally lost.

    I stress my use of profanity in the past because I’m sure it played a role in certain the deterioration of some relationships both personal and business. It’s all about growth to me. My daughter makes me strive to be a better person every day. And … every day I know God sent her to me to save me from myself (if you know what I mean) ;). In her eyes I see God, through her eyes, I see God in everyone … it’s a beautiful thing!

    It’s convicting and a blessing to know you stand for something as well Jason … it makes you commenting here even more of a gift.

    Much kindness,

    Elena

    • Gail Gardner @ Niche Blogging says:

      Obviously I’m out of touch. I did not realize that “notable business magazines” were already in the gutter too. No matter what becomes socially acceptable, I refuse to follow the lemmings off the cliff myself.

      Knowing God definitely changes your perspective. Before that you don’t realize how much you’ve been conditioned to want to be whatever you’re ‘supposed’ to be. For most people that is younger and thinner and sexier. At one point I was hoping men would stop treating women like sex objects, but what happened was society made men more obviously sex objects instead.

      We’re all like frogs in a pot of water…they’ve gradually turned up the smut so that most people just think it is normal. The more aware I get the more disgusting I find where this is already – much less where it will end up!
      Gail Gardner @ Niche Blogging recently posted..Small Business Internet Marketing Starter Package

  3. Elena says:

    Thanks for taking the time to read this post Gail – I’m grateful! I feel slightly bad because I feel perhaps as though I’m talking about of both sides of my mouth on this issue. I use your frog analogy a lot and am greatly passionate about this as you obviously are.

    One of the most wonderful things about getting older is getting comfortable with “who you are.” I’m so thankful to be in my 40s and not be worried about how society views me or their expectations – that just comes with confidence and peace (and my child!). It easy now to look back and see how much I adopted those worldly things and what freedom to no longer be in bondage. You really have me thinking Gail and I appreciate you because you are correct; I know this. Obviously it’s another rock I need to add to my foundation. This is interesting and my wheels are turning … thank you.

    With kindness,

    Elena

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