Up to 10,000 Glaswegians are to be sent to charm school in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The move comes after Edinburgh-based quango bosses decided that the famous Glaswegian welcoming spirit was not good enough for receiving visitors to the city during the 2014 Games.
Glaswegians attending the one-day training event will – according to city bosses – be taught how to speak properly, be instructed how to stand in the right position when providing service, and become skilled in techniques to maintain eye contact while talking.
The 'Glasgow Welcomes
' class, a joint project between VisitScotland and city tourism chiefs, is based on the principles created by the Walt Disney Company
, including treating customers and tourists in a manner more associated with showbusiness.
Among other techniques trainees will learn over the next two years, is how to accept compliments gracefully, how to remember people's names, and how to offer tips about local tourist hotspots.
The £25 course will also include a quiz about Glasgow, requirements that attendees make personal pledges on how they can improve their future behaviour, and all staff will be told to use the American-style cheery "enjoy the rest of your day" sign-off.
The head of people development at Cordia said of the propgramme:
"It's about putting the customer first, listening to what they're saying and giving information that will help them."
However, not everyone is quite so impressed! Glasgow-based comedian Greg Hemphill, one half of TV duo Chewin' The Fat, said:
"I'm sure their initiative is well intentioned but I do think Glaswegians have a natural charm and if you polish off those edges too much you’re left with somebody from Edinburgh."
Glasgow comedian Janey Godley said:
"I was in the service industry for 15 years in a bar and I knew how to talk to people. Glaswegians are basically very chatty, straight-up people. We don’t need to be taught how to shake hands and make eye contact."