Escalate This!

I love words. I love the way that you can push little buttons on a keyboard and letters magically appear, arranging themselves in patterns that turn into stories and love notes and Important Points. I love words even more when they flow out of a pen or pencil, each one emblazoned with the writer himself, each curl and dot an expression. I love that if you take just one letter away here, add a different one there, they can change meaning entirely. I love the short ones and the long ones, the foreign ones and the familiar ones, the expressive ones and the not-so-expressive ones. Yes, I love words.

But…

There’s one word that makes my skin crawl. I’m sure it’s been hauled through that incomprehensible marketing/customer relations machine that (I’m convinced) happens around a board room table populated by plastic dolls with fake grins and smarmy smiles, to now be used ad infintum. It’s not its fault that they chose it, but that doesn’t stop my skin from crawling:

ESCALATE

I’m one of those (mildly irritating, if you’re not affected by it, and, I’m sure, hugely irritating for every customer relations person, everywhere) consumers that gives feedback. I try to counter every complaint with a compliment. This works sometimes, other times not.

The not happens when I get that automated reply: “Your query has been escalated.” Escalated to who? And how? Did you print it out, seal it with wax and tie it with a red ribbon and you’re now escalating yourself up the ten floors to the CEO to hand it over? I think not. Your CEO ain’t never gonna see my mail, of that I’m sure. But I can be reassured that it’s been escalated.

Was mine escalated above everyone else’s? Maybe I’m special, and that’s why. See the plastic people in the board room fake smiling at each other saying, ‘we need to make them feel special’, as they eat the gluten-free wraps with curling edges in the middle of the table and swig on the coffee provided by the newly-installed hipster barrista in the foyer.

Or was it not escalated at all, and I’m falling for the biggest trick in the book? I’m going with that, and will be sending a very polite e-mail to the Dictionary People (who, I’m sure, have real smiles – who wouldn’t, working with words all day?), asking them to please remove ‘ESCALATE’ – and all of its derivatives – from the dictionary.

It’s just the kind thing to do.

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