Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I've been ma'amed! This morning, at the front gate of work, the security guard said it. He said Have a good day, Ma'am!

This is a subsitute security guard. The usual guard is much older than me and he usually wishes me a good day, Young Lady!

So which do I prefer? Young Lady, of course. I have never really liked ma'am. Of course now that I work with military service members and their families, I have a renewed respect for the title. I mean, it is useful and in the military there are ma'ams and sirs. So even military spouses have to get used to these.

But what can be done about “ma’am?”

I used to feel very uncomfortable with it, of course, that was when I was about 30 and teenagers started calling me ma’am. It made me feel old.

I list it as a sign of aging, and discuss it in my Hypnotic Fountain of Youth presentations.

But now, I find that my attitude has changed.

I guess that’s because I discovered something worse.

I was at a local grocery store. The cashiers have been trained in greeting the customer, being polite and always wishing the customer a nice day at the end of the transaction. They also have been trained to look at the name on the credit or debit card, so they can address the customer by name. So when I was just about to leave, the teenager said, have a nice day, and I braced myself for the ma’am.

What he said was so much worse.

Have a nice day, Gloria!

I live in Florida. It is very informal here, so they have been trained to use the First Name. I understand that the company wants them to be friendly and polite, but I just don’t think it is appropriate for a cashier to call me by my first name. I don’t like strangers calling me by my first name. I especially don’t like strange teenagers calling me by my first name.

I also object to telemarketers using my first name. They call and ask for Gloria, so I think they know me. They don’t. I really don’t care for it.

Am I the only one?

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