Call Me Mister.


It is bad enough that one has to listen to a lot of recorded music, and to add to that insult, a new phenomenon in telephoned customer support is the use of the first name of the customer by the representative. As galling as that is it is worse when in written communication too this is done.

When this happens I take serious objection and in the case of telephone calls I ask the representative his/her age and usually find that it is in the early twenties. I tell them that I am as old as their grand father and ask them if they would call their grand father by his first name.  I use the same message in responding to emails as well.

I still do not call people I am not very friendly with by their first name unless I am asked by them to irrespective of how old they are. It simply is not in me and I find it in very poor taste when the same courtesy is not extended to me.  In the blogworld however we bloggers seem to be quite comfortable using first or nicknames and I do not find it least uncomfortable. Perhaps because we share so much of our personal lives in our blogs it becomes easier to be informal.

So, it was quite an amusing spectacle in India’s social media when our Prime Minister called the POTUS as Barak although I think that the POTUS found it difficult to call our PM as Narendra. Perhaps he just could not pronounce it properly!  Somewhat like Bikehikebabe not being able to pronounce Narasimha!

Now what happened in Germany is exactly the opposite of what happened in India.  The POTUS kept referring to Ms. Merkel as Angela while she was unable to call him Barak!  Do the Germans take quite some time before they get to first name basis?

How are you on this matter of protocol?

37 thoughts on “Call Me Mister.”

  1. I guess what has staggered and upset me more than anything is the dropping of auntie and uncle from the lexicon of my nieces and nephews. Not their choice but the choice of my siblings. Something wonderful has definitely been lost and I feel so sad.
    As to these punks calling me by my first name? And airlines, etc? Water off a duck’s back. They are strangers.
    wisewebwoman recently posted..I am stir crazy, so here’s a poem.

  2. I never mind what I am called so long as it is not early in the morning! 😉 Well almost – I HATE the title ‘Ms’. Google Ms and you will get About 2,070,000,000 results for Multiple sclerosis which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of symptoms including problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. I hope I do not affect people like that!

    This morning I phoned my insurance company to renew the car insurance policy for another year. To my surprise, there was very little number punching, no music, a polite and courteous young lady who addressed me correctly AND I came away with a reduction of £29.25 off their suggested cost for the year. Win win for me. Paying online would not have produced that outcome.
    Grannymar recently posted..Dreary, grey and puddle wet

  3. It is annoying, but so far telemarketers have always addressed me as miss Mitali ( they can’t get the surname), but what is really annoying, is when a friend of a friend addresses me by the same nickname that my friend uses, when we are just acquaintances.

  4. I grew up with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” However, when I entered the workforce at 18, I began work in a company where the “corporate culture” was to address everyone – right up to the CEO – by their first name. This was so difficult for me, at first. My manager begged me to stop calling him “Mr. Nixon.” Everyone else called him “Charlie.” One day, I noticed he signed documents, “Charles.” I asked which he preferred: “Charlie” or “Charles.” No one had ever asked him that; he admitted he preferred “Charles.” It had just enough formality that I was able to call him that, rather than “Mr. Nixon.” It took a while before I felt comfortable calling managers by their first names. My father also worked there, and even HE urged me to start doing that. Now, it comes naturally, and I find it more condescending than respectful coming from (most) young people who call me “Mrs.” or “ma’am.” (A few of them, though, are so cheeky I’ll insist on it, just to make the point that they are not my peers.) In politics, there should be someone whose job it is to advise on proper protocol in different countries. I doubt that President Obama would have difficulty learning to pronounce anything. Former President G.W. Bush, on the other hand…would have been wise to stick with “Sir” and “Ma’am.” He couldn’t even be taught to say “nuclear” correctly.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Weight Off My Mind

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