I guess I noticed it at Starbucks the other day. One of the barista’s greeted me and then every other customer who walked through the door with a bright, “Welcome in!”
“Welcome to Moe’s!” began in 2000. I’ve only been in that restaurant a few times, but I’ve seen it on TV commercials, too.
It’s trending everywhere. A person at the register of the pet supply store I frequent never fails to greet me. They used to say, “Welcome to Pet Supermarket.” But now it’s, “Welcome in!” I might not see the person who is working behind some boxes or shelves, but they always see me.
I hear it at Ace Hardware, Dollar General, ABC Wine and Liquors, the UPS Store, Racetrack and Circle K convenience stores, Subway, the dry cleaners, and the Chinese takeout restaurant.
Now I notice it when I don’t hear that greeting. The always straight-faced guy at the Pack and Ship simply points to the place you’re to put your package. At the post office, you get a straightforward, “I can help you.” At the barbershop, it’s a familiar, “Hey, how’s it going?” At the Honda dealership where I’ve been taking cars for service for many years, I hear, “Good morning, Mr. Douthwaite.” Employees at big box stores are few and far between, so don’t expect to be greeted there. And I rarely am.
Since it seems like no one has enough help, you may not find someone at the front of the store when you walk in. They may be stocking shelves or helping other customers. It’s a way of letting you know someone’s here in the store.
Maybe they’re just being friendly. Maybe they want you to know someone sees you. Maybe it’s just a phrase that has worked its way into everyday conversation, offered up without much thought.