Thursday, November 13, 2008

He Called Me Mom!

Well not really. 

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up a prescription for my grandma.  At the end of the transaction, the pharmacist said, thank you mom.

Actually, he said, “thank you, mum.”

I think he meant to say ma’am, but it came out mum.  Ma’am is not much better.  I’d prefer “miss,” but having worked in customer service most of my life, I know that “sir” and “ma’am” are the usual ways to address someone.

However, these can be tricky.  Not only are there people like myself that don’t particularly enjoy being called ma’am, it’s not always easy to determine if you are addressing a ma’am or a sir.

Some physically have SNL’s “Pat” syndrome.  You know what I mean; they could pass as male or female.  Some have the “Dude Looks Like A Lady” thing going on or the reverse, lady looks like a dude….  Both of which can make the way you address someone dangerous.

If you have dealt with people over the phone in a customer service setting as I have, you will know the same applies to the voice.  Some voices are just very misleading.  I personally have learned that it is better not to address some people as sir or ma’am.  

Just ask their name and use that because the voice may sound feminine or masculine and it is not matching the gender of the person.  Sometimes the name is ambiguous as well. 

What is the lesson here?  Do not address people by anything but their name unless you are 100% certain of what their gender is, especially if you are on commission.

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