Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Mangling the language at Manchester Airport

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Do I want to be processed? No. I’m not a number. Or a ready meal. Who wants to process me? Sarah Barrett, Head of Customer Experience at Manchester Airport (I’ll come back to that job title later). Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours she explained how she and her team are listening to customers and doing everything they can to improve the service provided at the airport. Fair enough. But she needs to start with the language she uses. I don’t want the way I am ‘processed’ to be improved; however, I’m quite keen for the airport staff to improve the way I am ‘treated’ or ‘looked after’.

Oh yes, that job title. ‘Head of Customer experience’? Whatever happened to good old ‘customer service’? I don’t go to the airport for an ‘experience’: I go there to get on a plane.

The programme also featured the airport’s new body scanners. Except, said an airport official, they prefer to use the term ‘imaging technology’. Why? To sound more important? Why would anyone prefer to use seven syllables when four work so much better? Body scanner — you know what that is, I know what that is. Imaging technology? Er — dunno. Could be anything vaguely technical or medical … or something.

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2 Responses

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  1. LOL @ “Head of Customer Experience.” Good to see we Amurkins don’t have the market cornered on silly, euphemistic titles. I think “body scanner” is disfavored because it sounds more intrusive.

    Michael Farrell

    17/01/2010 at 6:33 pm

    • Yes, probably. But that won’t stop people (and the media) using the term. Thank goodness.

      Deborah

      17/01/2010 at 6:58 pm


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