Life as I know it… plus commentary

Cashier salutation guidelines

with 5 comments

It seems to me there should be some sort of training for cashiers on appropriate ways to address a customer.

I decided to pull off the freeway and grab a chai tea latte.  When me drink was ready, the barista yells out “Arnold” and I get my drink.  He says “Thanks, buddy”.  This amused me to no end because the guy behind the bar was 20 and I am 4 times that.  So now that you know the background, here are my proposed guidelines.

Sir is actually a pretty good name to use if you use it right.  If used on someone at least 20 year older than you, it’ll be taken as a sign of respect and a show that you have proper manners.  Use it on someone around your age and you’ll get confused looks.  The real trick is the gap in between.  For the most part, you want to avoid this.  All you’re saying is “here’s your drink and man you’re older than me.”  Ma’am is almost never to be used  by anyone on anyone.  My friend’s wife got called ma’am at the grocery store by a girl in her 20’s and she commented on it for a while.  There are only three exceptions and here they are: 1. You’re military.  Everyone knows these guys are super polite (oorah!).  2. You’re from the South where everyone is ma’am.  I feel bad for Southern people who leave the South and try to use this as manners and get confused by the looks they get in return and 3. The lady is grandmotherly in age and you’re calling her ma’am as a sign of respect.  Madam may be used when you’re super offended.  Eg: Madam, I’ll thank you and your pimp to stop accosting me.

Buddy is only appropriate when a young male talking to another young male or a younger male.  Calling someone older than you buddy is overly familiar and is similar to using the familiar 2nd person in German to the father of the bride whom you’ve never me before.

I think Hun is another one of those words that really has no place in polite society anymore.  There’s only one exception and that’s at a diner when the server is a woman and she’s required to wear a uniform by the establishment.  The lady at the Del Taco while entitled uses this too much. (This rule also goes for the gay variation .  Eg: “Oh honey, you don’t wanna order the pancakes here.”

Dude is kind of a catch all and appropriateness is determined by the confidence of the person.  Even girls can use dude on other girls or guys, provided they have the attitude to support the word.  Sometimes a simple “thanks dude” is all you need to close a transaction.  One must be careful as “dude” can mean “hey”, “bummer”, “man”, or “what did you just do?”

Go and be wise in your word usage.


Written by arnold

August 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Posted in I'm Just Sayin'

5 Responses

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  1. ARGH! I HATE being called “ma’am”!!! Although I had a server call me “miss” the other day and I said “Oh, God bless you!” It’s been many a year since I’ve been a “miss”…

    What’s wrong with “Thank you” as a way to end a transaction? They appreciate your business, you appreciate their service…it works coming and going.

    Peggy C

    August 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

  2. Seems to me if you’re a server you always call a woman miss.. just to bet a bonus on the tip!


    August 17, 2009 at 7:41 pm

  3. Except really old women get offended by that…you should read Dear Abby, they work themselves into a lather. Honestly, I’m just grateful not to be called “Sir” (it’s happened over loudspeakers, not face-to-face [yet]).

    However, I got called “Miss” TWICE today! This day is one for the memory album…

    Peggy C

    August 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm

  4. lol, you said “When me drink was ready.” I pictured you as a Leprechaun and laughed a lot.


    August 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

  5. How do you know I wasn’t going for “pirate”?


    August 21, 2009 at 11:37 am

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