One of the hazards of everyday life in the South (and increasingly in other regions of this ever so devout country, I’m told) is constantly being told by restaurant and retail employees to “have a ‘blessed’ day.” It used to be something that came mostly from the mouths of older African American church ladies but it’s becoming rather ubiquitous. I do not find it sweet nor endearing. I find it off-putting and insulting.
It’s a little like telling someone to have an “orange” day–not really grammatically incorrect, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. Grammar (and triteness) aside, though, this little greeting is pretty much just a passive aggressive way of introducing religion into inappropriate situations. Cashiers and servers who would be fired or disciplined for saying things that are more overtly religious to their customers feel they can get away with this allegedly more subtle form of proselyting. And they’re right, unfortunately. As a rule, Muslims, Buddhists, and humanists generally do not tell you to have a “blessed” day. This is specifically an evangelical Christian thing. And it’s bad customer service because it involves pushing religion in my face in situations where it doesn’t belong.
Besides, don’t evangelical Christians believe that we are all “blessed” pretty much by default, just by virtue of the fact that a merciful god has allowed us poor wretches to exist in his presence? Isn’t it sort of redundant to tell people to have a “blessed” day when you believe they pretty much can’t help but to be having one already? Isn’t it sort of like telling them to “breathe air?” Yes. That’s precisely it. The only reason, it seems, that a Christian would ever tell someone to have a “blessed” day is (1) to make damned sure the poor slob being so greeted knew that that the person offering the greeting was a Christian, and (2) to hint ever so slightly that the “greetee” might want to concentrate on his own faith just to make sure he recognizes the tenuousness of his relationship with the man upstairs.
In other words, to do a little preaching.
In an inappropriate place like with your customers in a restaurant or a store.
See paragraph #2 above.