Maybe it IS ‘a great day in South Carolina’

Gov. Nikki Haley issued a directive in September that, according to The State, “…will boost the morale of state workers, remind them they work for the callers on the other end of the line and help her sell the state to employers.”

It’s a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?

To be fair, it is no secret that I consider Nikki Haley a dear friend and hold the utmost respect for her. That being said, with all due respect to the governor, her political steps — and they’re all political steps when you’re governor — haven’t always been on the mark. But was asking her department directors to have their staff answer phones in such a manner was one of them? I don’ t think so. I think it’s a simple, positive and NON-CONTROVERSIAL first impression that should have been so directed years ago! Hell: I wish I had come up with the idea back in my day as an Independent Maverick Representing Lower Richland County! Of course, in politics, I guess the word non-controversial is a non-sequitur.That’s left the way open for Democrats and a number of Republicans to take a few cheap shots at Haley’s expense.

S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian kicked things off by saying, “She believes that if you say the lie enough, people may begin to believe it. But we know the state is in the toilet.” [Author side note, I MUST be a True Independent at Heart, 'cause HARPO rocks my world, too! ]

The guys at S.C. Forward Progress, of course, put together a video.

NPR’s “Morning Edition” jumped onto the slow-burning story on Thursday, doing a piece on the pre-filed bill that will ban state workers from answering phones with that greeting. Linda Wertheimer said, “They say no sunny hellos as long as unemployment is more than five percent in the state. The governor maintains it could help change the mood.”

Forced merriment isn’t for everyone, but it can pay off. After all, didn’t David Sedaris parlay time spent as a Macy’s Christmas elf named “Crumpet” into a successful career? But I digress…

Haley defended herself by saying, “It’s part of who I am. As hokey as some people may think it is, I’m selling South Carolina as this great, new, positive state that everybody needs to look at.”

Lord knows we have our share of problems in South Carolina, and the governor has made her share of mistakes. But that’s no reason to go into petty attacks regarding a decision that couldn’t do much harm and might actually do some good. Yo Go Nikki! That’s what I say. What do you think?

 by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., an Attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia. He received his BA in 1985 from Clemson University and his JD in 1988 from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

with Wes Wolfe. He’s written for 11 publications in five states, and is the proprietor of The Five Points Flood.

Posted in Legal Advice

35 thoughts on “Maybe it IS ‘a great day in South Carolina’

  1. Les Gray on said:

    It’s a Great Day at Ace Hardware.It’s a Great Day at Tire Kingdom call um. Does Nikki have a vested intreest in those Companies too ???
    Why not It’s a Famously Hot Day in South Carolina .How may I , help you??? Didn’t we pay for that slogan??

  2. ERS on said:

    I think it’s a great idea. Bet the self-recognized pundits wouldn’t be whining so much if the governor was a Democrat. Next thing you know they’ll be after Chic Fil A.

  3. TruthBeTold2U on said:

    The problem with Haley is that she is spending her time on things that really don’t matter sort of like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Is her head so much in her ego that she can’t see the forest is on fire and there is no water. Cuts in education, subsidies to feed school children there only meal of the day, sometimes, AIDS support/education cut/abolished? What the hell do State workers have to be happy about? What do South Carolinians have to be happy about? Low wages, high unemployment, blatant racism at every turn, homelessness and no safety nets. Haley makes Beasley look like a Rhodes Scholar.
    As for Harpootlian, the sooner South Carolinians wake up and send that Carpetbagger back North the better. He is a sleazy, no ethics, ego driven numnut! He is as responsible as Haley for the mess that SC is in and the lack of compassion for those less fortunate. I am sure he never misses a meal.
    But let me quote Joseph Kennedy, II, ( I know he’s one of y’all’s favorites). “To whom much is given little is expected. To whom little is given much is taken away”.
    And an AMEN and GOOD NITE~

    • cromeradmin on said:

      Tell It SISTA!!!!! And the Congregation said………

    • Clayton on said:

      I agree. Only you didn’t really express how bad Harpo is. It’s all about him. No one else.

  4. Steve on said:

    I think it’s better than Jersey’s state greeting…”Whataya want?!” The dems need to get a grip and put efforts into something meaningful…jeez

  5. Polly on said:

    OK, I see both sides. I don’t think the Governor should have spent time worrying about how state workers answer the phone, as long as they answer in a polite manner. As someone who is unemployed, I am slightly offended when they answer “Its a great day in South Carolina” at the Unemployment Office, and proceded to be rude and unhelpful after that. I would prefer to have guidelines on courtesy (because lets face it, not everyone grew up with manners). Now, I am a Democrat, and generally don’t have much use for Tea Partyiers (give me a real Republican any day) but I think Harpootlian goes to far. I usually think he does. I do not think SC is in the toilet. There are many positives to this state, economically and in terms of people. Am I frustrated that I was laid off by a Governor who didn’t value education (Sanford)? YES! Am I a bit upset I am still looking when I should be working? YES! Am I whining and bitching and blaming? In general, no (except for the Sanford thing). This should be a non-issue. Haley shouldn’t have wasted her time on this when there are more pressing issues, but I understand why she did. If you have ever valled the Dept of Ed, you know how rude they are!!

  6. Southern Belle on said:

    But it IS a great day in South Carolina! We have the mountains and the sea at our fingertips, a big heart, hospitable citizens, great colleges and universities, winning sports teams, and a beautiful place we are proud to call home. I for one can think of nowhere else I would rather have been born and raised!

    Any marketer worth his salt will tell you that you are only as good as you think you are. Better to be under dressed than over dressed …. even a BBQ sounds fancy on an engraved invitation!

    “If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” … Anonymous

    I say go for it … it really is a great day in South Carolina, and if we keep saying it, we ALL just might start believing it!

  7. cromeradmin on said:

    God Bless the POSITIVE, for their’s is the Kingdom of BUBBER!

  8. Linda on said:

    So stupid – what’s wrong with “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon” with a smile? If you smile before answering, it will sound in your voice.

  9. Walter Carr on said:

    Ok, let’s see were we are at the present time: we have an African born, Indonesian raised, Muslim Marxist for our president and he seems intent on destroying our nations economy. South Carolinas economy is struggling but we are holding our own in spite of the doings of our General Assembly and the Mayan Calendar ends less than a year from now. So how about a little PMA, Positive Mental Attitude?

    There are those who are offended by each and every breath Nikki Haley takes, Harpo fer instance. As for other who are offended by somebody answering a state phone and saying that it is a great day in South Carolina: get a life and make an appointment with a dematoligist re your thin skin. As for all others, have a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year and yes it is a great day in South Carolina!

    Walter, To Hell With All Whiners, Carr

  10. Scooter73 on said:

    It got a brief mention today in national media (NPR). Which means, it’s peaked and is over, in my professional opinion.

    There are going to be many other fronts to rally the troops for in the coming months.

    Thanks for all you do. Keep up the good work and Happy 2012.

    –S. Hawkins

  11. Terri Mostiller on said:

    It’s not a “great day” if you are having a “mental health crisis”. It’s not a great day if you are depressed, it’s not a great day if you don’t have a job, or if you have to go to sexual trauma as a victim….. It’s not a great day for a thousand and one other reasons….not an appropriate way to answer our state phones

  12. Mary on said:

    I had to make a few calls lately to a few State Agencies because my Medicaid is being dropped because my breast cancer “treatment” is over. I am beyond upset about it as I feel (as does my Dr.) that follow up care for at least a year (or more) is vital. It’s been decided that I don’t deserve any more help because I’m not receiving chemo or radiation any longer. What about follow up care to make sure we catch it EARLIER next time? So when I called to discuss my LIFE, I felt like I was being handed a line of bull#$%& before I even got a word out of my mouth. Sorry, but hearing “It’s a great day in SC” did not make me feel better. No, I don’t like Nikki Haley, but that is not why I think it was inappropriate for the lady to say “It’s a great day in SC, but we can’t help you with your cancer problems.”

  13. Bob on said:

    First off, does it really make any difference to those who call and get that greeting from a state worker? No matter who you are, you want to be politely received but you also want someone to listen to the reason for your call and not to wait for the receptionist to recite some obvious “canned” greeting.

    As for the the power of “postive speaking” boosting the morale of state workers, “get serious!” Say what you will about the intelligence of state employees, they/we are not THAT dumb! You want to boost morale? Get us pay raises, stop playing with the retirement fund, and do something about real career opportunities for the “average joe” in these agencies.

    As for South Carolina having its “share of problems,” what state doesn’t? There are pros and cons of living in any of the 50 states in this nation. This state is great for me and my family. I’m happy that I was able to move here long ago. However, it isn’t a good “fit” for everybody. Some people will not like it, for their own personal reasons. It’s the same if any of us moved to a place that really was in conflict with our lifestyle, beliefs, opportunities, etc. If someone doesn’t like it here, there are other places they can go, making more room for those of us who want to stay.

    Now if it’s a matter of attracting more industry to create more jobs here, I do not believe that greeting will make any difference in a company’s decision to relocate here. Economic opportunity (i.e., the chance to make a good profit) will encourage businesses to relocate here and NOT the “positive attitude” of state employees!

  14. Bob on said:

    Out of curiousity….could someone explain how and why Nikki Haley was chosen as Republican nominee for SC Governor? What did she do to deserve it?

    • Wes Wolfe on said:

      Haley won the nomination when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed her. Period. Her fundraising operation was laughably bad until Palin basically did its job and opened up the spigots. The campaign itself was horribly run from start to finish, but the Palin effect caused the state GOP base to give her carte blanche — the Teflon candidate.

      The general election was in the bag: a) A generic GOP candidate gets 55 percent, statewide, and b) Sen. Vince Sheheen ran a campaign like former Va. Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Thing is, you can’t run a near-perfect, politically moderate campaign like Sheheen’s and get elected statewide as a Democrat, or most Republicans. South Carolina’s political culture demands a spectacle, not competence.

      It seems pretty clear that former Gov. Jim Hodges made his peace with that, from Dick to the video poker barons to the Blenheim Ginger Ale fella, and he won. This is old-style Southern politics. We’re like Louisiana or Alabama — Earl Long’s hand-picked successor was beat by the guy who sang, “You Are My Sunshine.” George Wallace ran his wife in his place when he was term-limited, then she was elected and Alabama repealed the law, letting Wallace serve into the ’80s. The bottom line is, we want a show — we want our clowns. And we get them.

      • TruthBeTold2U on said:

        You are very astute. That was well stated.

      • Bob on said:

        Thanks for explain that to me. I stay on the periphery of politics until election. Then, I carefully listen to the candidates to decide who to vote for. I never expected Haley to get that nomination as she did not have a “stellar” career in the legislature. When you listed the events as they happened, I recalled the Palin visit to the state but did not remember that she came to endorse Haley. I too know this is a very Republican state (we were one of the very few who George HW Bush took in his re-election bid). I know we’ve had Democratic governors in the past (I came to SC when Riley was a governor and know Hodges was able to get elected….so I figured this state wasn’t so “Republican” that a Democrat could still get elected). However, I had no idea that it took so much for a democrat to win here. I really thought Sheheen would win so I was surprised when he didn’t. Now, I have a better understanding of why he didn’t.

  15. Spencer Hill on said:

    Gov. Haley…has made her share of mistakes..
    1)renigging on state wide open enrollment in schools
    2)removing Darla Moore from the USC board

    good things:
    1)landing Continental Tire in Sumter
    2)having state employees answer the phone,”Its a great day in SC!” (if you don’t believe me just ask Zig Ziglar).

    After all that… it is a great day in SC.
    1)Ag did great this year.. Prices for these commodities are up and farmers had, for the most part, good yields.
    2)Third Army moved to Sumter—Lets get some more federal money.
    3)U of SC won back to back National championships in Baseball and hopefully will end up in the top 10 in football.

    SC has a lot of problems…mostly of our making
    1)cronyism, extreme nepotism, and outright terrible ethics in state and local politics ie. county supervisors getting 25% pay raises when no else gets a raise; school board members wanting $16k a year when they were elected for $25 a meeting.-we need to throw all of the bums out.
    2)Our dismal public education system-where we as parents haven’t demanded that the expectations and results be raised (higher graduation rate, higher SAT scores) (god bless Mississippi for being dead last in the country so we aren’t). The link below is the worse 100 schools in America (40%+ are in SC) How many of them are in your community.

    3)Due to the 2 above problems, we have a severely unemployable populace, hence our high unemployment rate.

    4) A dept of commerce that only knows how to recruit (buy) new industries to come to the state. They need to learn how to development new businesses organically from within (but you don’t get press or European trips like that i know)

    if Gov Haley can fix the above problems we truly can have a great day in SC
    Sorry for the rant!

    oh, by the way (ala Columbo) ” Go Mountaineers!”

    • TruthBeTold2U on said:

      Once again dead on target. But South Carolinians have a strange ability to recognize the things they should have and don’t but continue to vote for the people who keep them from having things needed to succeed. Most folk only want a decent wage, a good education for their children and the ability to retire with dignity.

  16. Valeriedee on said:

    Call me “pollyanna” but I think every day is a great day – so, if I am in SC, it’s a great day in SC!! I didn’t vote for Gov. Haley but I appreciate her positive attitude and optimism ~ whether forced or not!!

  17. Pat Chisum on said:

    I was hungover on election day so I am proud to say I didn’t vote for Tricky Nicki, so like always I blame everyone else for what wrath she hath wrought.

    But out off all the injuries and usurpation that she has done, I think the worst is that allegedly slept with Will Folks.

    enough said…..

    • Spencer Hill on said:

      …thats a scary thought…

  18. peter godfrey on said:

    We are able to offer state employees a special discount on our Mr Rogers voice workshop. Sign up now ! course includes free sweater and hair advice.

    • Andrew Williams (GO DOGS!) on said:

      I am sure the Governor means well…I know her well, and worked hard for her here in the Pee Dee. But since taking office, she has ignored ME and our Pee Dee joblessness, taking credit for job creation that Sanford put in place elsewhere… it is NOT a great day here in Darlington County. This sh*t greeting is like something you’d hear at an Fairfeld Inn, and is ridiculous at best. I assume she is planning to be a one term governor, because she has proved an amateur, even at basic skills like NOT forgetting who helped you get where you are. I have offered to VOLUNTEER here with any members of her staff that wished to hold a job fair or forum…..NOTHING…Everything to her is a soundbite. She needs to get the kids out of running her office and get some seasoned folks on her team. She has blown it for now with me.

  19. SC worker on said:

    I am a SC state worker who has to deal with people who, for the most part are struggling with trying to raise their families the best they can. I do not say that “It is a great day in SC, because for those people, and for us as worker who are struggling to make ends meet, it is NOT a great day. When that idiotic remark is made, we have literally been cussed at, and threatened, by the people on the other end who think we are being condensending to them. In addition, State workers do not feel it is a great day in SC when we bust our butts and have not had a raise in 5 years. However, our checks are going to be lower begining in January when our insurance goes up. We have not even gotten a cost of living increase, which would help, especially considering that EVERYTHING else is going up. There have been days that I have actually had to take annual leave because I didn’t have the money to put gas in my car. In addition, I don’t even live paycheck to paycheck and at times have had nothing in my kitchen to feed my child. I can’t get foodstamps because I make too much money, although I am right above poverty level. I have a college degree, and am quite intelligent, however I have found myself stuck where I am because I have a charge for a bad check and my credit score is not good because I don’t make enough to pay my bills, at least not on time. As-far-as Haley wanting us to say that stupid quote, for her I guess it is a great day in SC. She managed to get elected, even though she let it be known that she was going to immulate Sanford, who by the way didn’t like State government, too. I guess when you live in a beautiful home, without having to pay the mortgage on it, you have cooks, housekeepers, drivers, etc, and you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, I guess you would say that it “Is a great day in SC”. I guarantee that if she came to where I am and had to deal with the people I deal with on a daily basis, she would change her mind.

  20. James Hartman on said:

    Optimism is great. I think it important that state employees answer the phone in a pleasant upbeat manner. It would be difficult however to be compelled to be dishonest.

    For instance, to say ” It’s a great day in New York” would be downright baloney. The highest taxes in the nation; the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation; the highest per capita debt in the nation; deteriorating infrastructure; the highest medicaid costs in the nation; the highest welfare expense in the nation; the highest “off the books” debt (public authorities) in the nation etc.

    Yes it is a greet day in South Carolina compared to other states like New York (e.g. California). You South Carolinians are very fortunate, and I think it a good idea to let your callers know it.

  21. Cindy on said:

    My biggest problem with the mandated greeting is that it was done for the sake of “perception”-the perception that all state workers are happy to be doing their jobs. You could put Zig Ziggler in front of these folks everyday and it’s just not going to change the way they feel about their jobs.

    South Carolina has become the lipstick state. “Let’s put a little lipstick on any problem and then we’ll be perceived as looking/felling better” Lipstick can certainly cover up the underlying problems.

    We’ve put lipstick on a pig here in SC before and all of those pigs turned into beauty queens, right?

    I do believe that one’s personal attitude has a lot to do with their happiness and daily outcomes. I think if the state employee on the answering side of the line is having a great day in SC, they should certainly be allowed to say it. I don’t think a change of willingness to help the public can be applied in a layer of lipstick…and in many cases that lipstick is clear!

    If you want to have people percieve state workers as being ready and happy to help…maybe you should look at the reason they’re not acting that way before they’re forced to say “it’s a Great Day in South Carolina.”

    It is a Great Day in South Carolina, but quit spending time on this minutia and get to work on the real problems dear Governor and Congressmen/women.

  22. Bob on said:

    Look…no one here is arguing that being “positive” in attitude will help you to look at the good in life instead of being focussed on the bad. Certainly, if you are “looking up,” you have a better chance of seeing the new opportunities that come your way and less chance of missing them because you are “looking down.” The point here is “SINCERITY.” Perhaps you are the kind of person who likes to speak like that (“It’s a GREAT Day….!”). However, if that is NOT the way you speak, not the language you like to use, then speaking that way because rote, forced, and perceivably VERY disingenuous to the receiver. Frankly, I love it when people end calls by saying “Have a Blessed Day.” I love it because……I KNOW THEY REALLY MEAN IT! It comes across in the tone in their voices. HOWEVER, it is NOT something I like to say. Sure, I may feel it, but, it’s not the way I talk to people. It’s not my “gift.” Rather, I show that feeling by the actions I do for others. That is “my gift.” So, FORCING people to reply to callers, rote, defeats Haley’s intent….to make others feel genuinely welcome.

    As for how bad it is in other states, it’s all relative. I agree that the average New Yorkers have it really hard by comparison. However, there are MANY people living in Manhattan and Long Isand that are mulit-millionaires and live “high on the hog.” For them, it IS a “great day in New York!” Don’t discount how “great” it is for many South Carolinians either! We have our fair share of mulitmillionaires too and the “wannabees” who are on EVERY foundation “board of directors,” hob-knobbing with the wealthy, making “deals” that only benefit them to the exclusion of others. It’s all a matter of who you are and where you come from.

  23. John on said:

    It’s always a great day in South Carolina because I’m here, many thanks for the Governor recognizing this and of course because of this blog. But as always it’s all about me.

  24. JUNE-BUG SHISSIAS on said:


  25. Cooter Brown on said:

    I thinks sheeze got it rite based on dis heer mental arithimitick:

    Cooter’s howse iz ‘n South Carolinie

    Itz alwayz a grate day at Cooter’s howse

    ERGO itz a grate day (‘least sumwhares) in South Carolinie!

    YeeeeeeeHaaaaawwwwwww!!!! Yip-Yip-Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  26. b-ho on said:

    It will be a great day if West Virginia beats Clemson!

    • Mary on said:

      And It Was!!!

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