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Hello Alan (say what?!?)

Again, I had another incident that made me cringe. I wonder why the Service Industries of the world have decided that familiarity is assumed when dealing with their customers.

Visited a bank, not my regular branch, dressed for work. I gave the young lady (who was no more than 24 years old) my bank card. Once I log in with it, she says, “Hi Alan, how are you today?”.  Where was my ‘Are you seriously talking to someone old enough to be your Father (if not Grandfather) and using his first name?’ look because the teller kept talking to me with my first name? With my grey hair and age, I have earned a “Mr. Big Caj” at least once. No, someone in TD Customer Service thinks calling me by my first name makes me feel more comfortable. It does not.

When did it become OK for people young enough to be my kids to call me by my first name? Yes, in my life there are a couple of young men I allow to call me by my first name, but I have known them since they were born, and I have said it’s OK for them to use my first name, but why is it that my first name is suddenly the way to talk to me (especially by someone in a service industry)?

Just Show a Little Respect!

I have ranted about this before with OK My Man, but this one just had me ranting for hours (ask Mrs. C8j, she was tired of it after a while). This young lady with purple fingernails and more eyeliner than Johnny Depp was told by some idiot that you seem more friendly when you talk to people if you use their first name. I need to update my TD Profile to reflect, call me Mr. Big Caj please!

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Am I being unreasonable, expecting at least a small attempt at respect from someone in the service industry? At least wait for me to say it is OK to use my first name before jumping all over it.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I hope I never adopt this attitude as I get older. I cringe when customers get angry if they are called by their first name. Give me a break.

  2. As far as I know, Ms is still a proper salutation. I agree that some women place a large value in being called Mrs. but it’s not as common these days.

  3. I don’t think this is “bank policy” because when we go into the bank when we have made an appointment and get to sit in a glass office the person dealing with us refers to us as Mr. and Mrs. Big Caj. Our titles are in our file as all our correspondence is labeled correctly.
    I believe this is an example of poor customer service training by front line people.
    tsk tsk TD.

    Big Cajun Wife.

  4. See, “Madame” would work for me (if it was in common use here, that is). Why are names and titles so confusing for women? We don’t use “master” and “mister” for men anymore.

    Unfortunately, for many women that “Mrs.” is an important status symbol. I hate having to correct people that I’m a “Miss” not a “Mrs.” because everyone assumes I should be married by this age 😉

  5. I see nothing wrong with young people in the service industry calling you MR. Learning to show respect to your elders is a lost art in the day in age.

  6. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you here….a person should have the respect to, at least, ask you if it’s ok for them to use your first name. I can’t agree with Echo either, there is nothing old fashioned about using ma’am or sir…that shows that you have been raised with respect for others, no matter their age. Of course, I was raised in the South, where manners were a big deal but I see no situation where respect for others can be turned aside.

    Yep, bigcajunman, you definitely hit on one of my pet peeves! There seems to be a big lack of respect these days,.

  7. I would judge the level of respect on other things, like did she make you wait before taking care of you, did she give you her full attention, did she do what you requested of her without having to be told twice, did she avoid distractions from other co-workers, did she smile at you, did she thank you for your business, etc. If someone is pleasant, efficient and attentive, those are signs that they respect me and the business I bring.

  8. Being a guy in customer service, I always call every woman, regardless of age “Miss”. That way, if they are young, they feel young, and if they are older, they still feel younger.

    I did get one complaint in all my years by this old woman who wanted to be called “Ma’am” and not “Miss”, but you can’t win them all!

  9. You post made me laugh because I’d rather be called by my first name than have someone trying to figure out if I’m “Miss” “Ms.” or “Mrs.” Men don’t have that problem!

  10. I think it’s old-fashioned to call people sir, or ma’am these days. Mr. Big Caj sounds ok, but I wouldn’t get too worked up over it if someone used my first name.

    That said, when I was on the front lines of the hospitality industry we would never use someone’s first name in a business setting. In fact, there’s an Italian family who came in for coffee every morning and I think if I called the man Tony he would have me whacked – and he’s 95 years old!

    Social settings are different. I have a friend whose father is a prominent business man in town and likes to be called Mr. V. I call him Glen and he still seems to like me.

  11. As another old(er) person, I have no problem with someone younger calling me by my first name. although other circumstances dictate respect. In my classroom, everything is different. Mr. K is the only acceptable reference.

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