Jeff Zern  
a.k.a. Jeff Miller cell phone (914) 565-9458 email:

  < < Back to List  

Hi Ho!

I do not say "Hello." Instead my chosen greeting is "Hi Ho!"

How did this start?
When I was finishing High School I worked at a major retail chain, which will remain nameless. I worked in the Hardware/Furniture department. Once, while in a silly mood, I picked up the department phone and said quickly "Hi Ho Hardware Furniture." The customer laughed. As was the usual drill, they had already dealt with several people on the phone and been on hold before they got to me. Most customers were grouchy at this point, but because they laughed at my greeting, this customer was a lot friendlier. I decided to keep the greeting whenever I answered the phone.

It might have ended there, if I hadn't been called into the Director of Personnel's Office. I was told that I was not following company rules. The manual said that the employee should issue a brief greeting, followed by the name of the department. I pointed out that this was exactly what I was doing, but I was told that it bothered some of my coworkers and was unprofessional. I would either stop saying "Hi Ho" or be fired.

I made a decision. I never wanted to be in a place where being friendly and unique was not allowed. From that day forward I have used "Hi Ho" as my greeting and my credo.

It has proven to be an invaluable test for me. I am never bothered by salespeople because while they are busy trying to figure out my greeting I know they are strangers. So if you call me and you hear "Hi Ho Jeff!" feel free to answer with a hearty "Hi Ho!"

Hi Ho through History
I am not the first person to ever use this greeting. Being the curious, obsessive type I researched the historical roots of the phrase. It turns out that it derives from Elizabethan times when it was written "Heigh Ho." It was meant to indicate a great wail of sadness. Shakespeare used it once or twice as well as the Brothers Grimm in composing their fairy tales.

And here is where "Heigh Ho" took a major turn. When Walt Disney was creating one of his first full featured animations "Snow White" He took the following quote from the Dwarves:
      Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho!
      It's off to work we go!

It was intended to show that they were depressed about working in the mines. But good old Walt thought it was too much of a downer. So he reversed it and turned it into a happy tune.

From then on it became a happy greeting. Kermit the frog would start all of his Fairy Tale newscasts with a "Hi Ho! This is Kermit the Frog reporting for Muppet News." Now-a-days you hear it occasionally on TV or in a movie, but as far as I know I am the only person who uses it exclusively.