I work for a marketing firm these days, so we get some pretty weird promotional stuff. The image to the left is a fairly poor scan of our most recent acquisition, courtesy of Kenberma Products, Inc.. If I make a purchase of $200 or more, 50 of these babies (actual ribbons, not unlike the ones you received in Boy Scouts for winning the pinewood derby, except these say nothing about your status as a “winner”. Quite the opposite…) could be all mine.
I always sort of felt bad for those folks in retail with the “Trainee” badge. Every customer they meet will groan mentally, and not a few verbally, at the prospect of having to deal with someone who can barely work the register. And, really, that little “Trainee” badge should be all anyone needs to see to at least understand that, unless they want to cause a scene or go elsewhere, they’re just gonna have to be patient. But, I’m sorry, this ribbon screams out to me “special needs”, knowhatimean?
I don’t think the fine folks at Kenberma see things my way, though. Here are some excerpts from the marketing letter that accompanied the ribbon:
“Everyone knows that new employees occasionally make mistakes… and may not be as speedy as your more experienced associates. The problem is, your customers can’t always tell who is new.”
“Like our name badges, “I’m New” ribbons promote better relationships between your customers and your employees. And that means more satisfied customers – and more business – for you!”
“Somehow, just seeing a profession-looking badge on an employee makes customers feel more comfortable.”
Of course, as we all know, it’s all about making the customer feel more comfortable. Employees, especially the teenagers that’ll be forced to wear ribbons like these, are dime a dozen.
To my boss’ great credit (he’s actually a pretty cool guy to begin with), he took one look at these and just scoffed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Then we all proceeded to tape it to the new guy.