“Are you free?”
These immortal customer service dew-drops I heard echoed many times via the television set on the Saturday nights of my youth when PBS would play Are You Being Served? as part of its BBC comedy lineup. “Are you free?” is one of the most used phrases in the series, a way the staff alert one another to the fact that a customer is in need of immediate assistance. “Yes, I’m free,” they usually respond, then rushing to the customer’s aid.
“Are you free?” signals the kick-off point of a larger, tried-and-tested, personalized customer service procedure that eventually ends in a sale, usually of the latest and greatest in ladies’ wear or haberdashery.