Re: Have A Nice Day (Query, not greeting!)

Sat, 14 Mar 1998 10:32:17 EST

Welcome to Marty Jezer, and what an interesting query! I'm curious to see
what people come up with. MY take would be that neither the "have a nice day"
expression nor the smiley face were products of 60s movements/counterculture,
but were instead pathetically (in the case of the former, at least) co-optive
efforts of the mainstream consumer culture. Maybe Tom Frank has some info on
this (check his "The Conquest of Cool"). I don't exactly trust my instincts
on this because I know that for years I recoiled in revulsion at the bland/
impersonal/consumer-driven "have a nice day" greeting one would suddenly get
(in my memory in the late 70s/early 80s) from convenience store clerks. A way
in which the impersonal consumer culture of huge chain retails store tried to
compensate for the fact that they were replacing local stores run by people
one knew with stores staffed by often disgruntled & underpaid strangers. Sign
of the times!

So I guess my hypothesis is that either (a) these "signs" might have
originated in the counterculture somewhere, as Marty speculates, only to be
co-opted like everything else & turned into a value system that's their
opposite, or (b) as Marty might be doing here, we tend to "remember" things
from the 60s that are really the media/consumer culture's commodities FROM the

Ted Morgan

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554