Friday, May 11, 2007

Blame Tags

Many people, particularly those who work in service jobs, are required to wear a name tag, especially if they also wear a uniform.

When I worked in law enforcement, I had a fancy metal name plate with my first and middle initials along with my last name. It also had a smaller bar that attached underneath that read "Serving since 1986" on it. I didn't mind wearing this, as it was professional looking and, with only my last name spelled out, didn't encourage people to get too chummy with me and call me by my first name uninvited.

People working more menial service jobs, however, are usually compelled to wear a cheap, cheesy looking tag with only their first name on it. This automatically puts the person in a one-down position, much in the same way that adults may call children by their first names, but children may not usually do the reverse.

Some may think that name tags such as these project a friendly image that creates the illusion of "customers as family".

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. The real purpose of name tags isn't to make customers think that the clerks are their friends. Rather, these tags are meant to help a customer to identify a particular employee in the case of a dispute -- they are "blame tags", so the customer knows who to blame. Period.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blame tags? Okay, that's a good one, but I think it goes much, much deeper than that.

Notice the tags suspended on lanyards around their necks, bearing their names, and most importantly, the names of their owners.