In September Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley instructed state employees to begin answering the phone with, “It’s a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?” Her thought, apparently, was that such a cheery greeting might inspire good feelings and confidence in government in these tough times.
Although the phrase has some potential to be rather awkward for employees of say, the Department of Corrections, no one much seemed to mind this particular bit of bureaucratic forced joviality.
No one except two Democratic legislators, John Richard C. King and Wendell Gilliard. Last month the two men proposed a bill to ensure that,
No state agency, department, institution, or entity may be required to use a telephone greeting of “It’s a great day in South Carolina” or another similar greeting connoting the advantages of or a pleasant demeanor in this state so long as certain conditions exist in South Carolina.
By the bill state agencies can force their employees to again use the great day greeting when all South Carolina residents have health insurance and the state’s unemployment rate drops below five percent.
“When you answer the phone and say, ‘It’s a great day in South Carolina,’ to be honest with you, it’s a lie,” Gilliard said to the Associated Press. “South Carolina is being misrepresented by its No. 1 leader, and that’s the governor.”
How, precisely, the legislators came to the conclusion that greatness is synonymous with those particular characteristics is a little unclear.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate is currently 9.9 percent.