Last week a good friend pointed out to me the latest cancerous phrase that has swept the world of service.

This cancerous and thoughtless phrase has been in use for some time, and to my surprise, had slipped under my own radar.

In the world of verbal cancer, this phrase is up there with:

“Not a problem.”

“No worries.”


“How ya going? All right?”

These three phrases lead the scoreboard across the world when it comes to SPEAKING WITHOUT ACTUALLY THINKING.

Or should I say speaking without actually considering the meaning of the words we are actually espousing…

When I visit the local Coles Supermarket…

When I visit the local Coles supermarket the self-serve scanner announces to me:

“If you have a FlyBuys card, please scan it at any time.”

it kind of gives me a twenty-four hour window to scan it… or maybe a forever window?

I’m thinking that Coles probably would prefer me to scan my FlyBuys card more promptly rather than “at any time”

Careless language is just that….

Careless language is just that.  It’s careless.

Careless language implies CARELESS EVERYTHING.

Careless language is truly a “broken window”. It’s one of those things that users become used to, or relaxed about, although it’s really something that should be attended to and repaired. And promptly.

So what is this cancerous phrase?

The reason this phrase is cancerous is because it is lazy and can easily be improved.

This phrase occurs in retail and in service, and occurs at the time that the customer is settling their transaction.

We all know it… the employee keys in the dollar amount required into the terminal, holds out the EFTPOS machine or card scanning device to the customer and then says, as the customer waits with baited breath to swipe or insert or tap their card or their phone…

The employee says:

“When you’re ready.”

[There is always an upwards inflection on “ready”.]

“When you’re ready.”

They all say it.

And yet, everybody could say something much nicer…

What really is happening here….

What really is happening here is that the employee is asking the customer for money, or settlement, for goods and/or services provided and received.

And so it would be better if the employee thanked the customer [in advance] for their payment by simply saying:

“Thank you”


“Thank you very much”

to the customer with a similar upward inflection, in anticipation of the financial transaction proceeding to completion.

And although there are other moments that follow after this where the employee will thank the customer again, I believe that one more additional

“Thank you”

is by no means out of place, and adds to the gratitude of the EXPERIENCE being provided to the customer.

It certainly beats

“When you’re ready.”

hands down.

What do you think?


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business