Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank you Joanna!

So it's not just me!

Look what I just read on Smitten, written by Joanna Goddard (also from A Cup of Jo). Of course, I had to read it...she entitled the piece, Do People Call you Ma'am? And guess who the culprit is in her story?

I feel so much better now. However, I still don't think it's the right way to go in terms of customer service for that particular store. The ma'ams of the world are their target customers*, so why even risk insulting them?

*"30 to 45 years old, college or post-graduate education, married with kids or in a committed relationship, professional or ex-professional, annual household income of $150,000 to $200,000. She's well-read and well-traveled." From an article on the store in Fast Company, Issue 65, November 2002.

3 comments:

drwende said...

The comments to that article are great -- all these early 20-somethings being ma'amed.

I think I'll invent the new shop etiquette.

If the customer has mostly gray hair, is using a walker, or has a child or a husband in tow, she is "ma'am." (If the guy she's holding hands with looks like her son but is her husband, she's still "ma'am.")

Otherwise, she is "miss."

This dimly reminds me that one long-ago etiquette guru declared "miss" to always be tacky and "ma'am" appropriate for all females past puberty, but I can't recall the source.

lsaspacey said...

Well, you can't see it on the blog but I'm about 35% gray with most of it in the front, so I thought that, the semi-conservative suit jacket AND the glasses put me in ma'am territory. So I believe in leaving the ma'am and miss off entirely. What's wrong with just saying 'Have a nice day', period?

Anne (in Reno) said...

I'm sure they're just trying to be nice, I've been "Ma'am"ed many a time and despite my gray hair I still look younger than my husband ;) What gets me is for a long time I got "Sir" instead. I had to correct someone on the phone recently as I am a very low alto and she kept calling me Sir. I will agree with you there, "Have a nice day" is fine just by itself.