Wednesday, June 23, 2021

At My Earliest Convenience

I can neither pinpoint the origin nor attribute the first use of the expression "at my earliest convenience." 

But I can say with authority it makes me scream to hear it.

And I hear it all the time.

Sure, common expressions regularly creep into the nonsensical, and no one bats an eyelash.

People once said, "I couldn't care less," to express indifference. 

Now they say, "I could care less."

They say "irregardless," when there's no such word.

They say "my kids' PJs are inflammable," unaware they're upsetting child protective services.

Those slips are innocuous.

But this bastardization of language is different.

It's tactless, malicious, officious and moronic. Obnoxious. Inhospitable. Boorish. Befuddling. And most of all, belligerent.

When did it creep into use? 

And why didn't somebody stop it?

When I hear "at my earliest convenience," I hear "me, me, me—it's all about me."

Screw you.

The blog Grammarly would excuse innocent users of the expression, claiming the phrase "sounds impolite" but hardly amounts to a "grievous business faux pas."


It's a grievous business faux pas. 

Use of the phrase should be punishable by imprisonment.

Recurring use, by hard labor.
Customer service in America has already tied for last place with customer service in Stalinist Russia. 

In the present environment, I don't need to hear that you'll get back to me at your earliest convenience. 

That says "never." 

As in, "Get lost. Take a hike. Go, and never darken my towels again."

Grammarly recommends business people who use the phrase "at my earliest convenience" alter it slightly to be more specific. 

"Please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you within 178 hours." 

I recommend they go jump in a lake.


When it's convenient to me.

The customer.

POSTSCRIPT FOR EMPLOYERS: Create a document for your employees like the one found here. Threaten them with dismissal for any use of "at my earliest convenience."
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