Older supermarket workers, at Britain’s Tesco, are being given a guide to youth slang to help them understand younger colleagues and customers, in the form of a pamphlet handed out to staff. The pamphlet is being tried out in some of Tesco’s 1 500 stores with a high proportion of employees over retirement age.
Key phrases in the guide include:
- Bad: Good (but this can also mean bad. When in doubt, just nod).
- How’s it hanging?: How are you today?
- Laters: Cheerio, goodbye.
- Minging: Ugly, unattractive.
- Phat: Wicked (in the good sense), cool.
- Slammin’: Pleasing to the eye.
- Talk to the hand: I’m not listening.
- Wack: Weak, boring.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “It aims to help bridge the generation gap and offer a guide for older members of staff looking to chat with younger colleagues and customers.”
Lionel Gardner, 70, who works at Tesco Extra in Eastbourne, East Sussex, said: “It’s a great idea. I love working with young people but a lot of the time I have difficulty understanding what they are trying to say.”
And Ash Coley, 18, who works in the same store, said, “We youngsters learn a lot from the old timers. It is very interesting to talk to them – especially when they go on about the war. Hopefully, we will be able to have even better conversations with them now with the help of this guide.”
Tesco Public Relation’s chief Jon Church, who recruited daughters Nicola, 15, Gemma, 14, and 11-year-old Hannah, to help write the guide, said: “We have a very diverse workforce and customer base and in today’s fast-moving world there can be a communication barrier between generations. If the leaflet is well received, we will roll it out to all UK stores.”
Good luck to them.
Some lessons for the rest of us:
- Generational interaction is important, and makes good business sense.”
- Young people want to connect with older people.
- One of the best ways to help people connect is to get them talking – especially such that they can actually understand each other!
- Get young people involved in creating solutions to your generational business problems.