An Honest Miss-stake

, , , | Working | August 12, 2020

My parents raised me to always be polite and address people by “sir” and “ma’am,” if not “Mister” or “Miss”, and this has stuck with me into adulthood. This generally works out in my favor, as I live in an area with a lot of seniors who appreciate the respectful address. Sometimes, though, the strength of habit becomes clear. I am on the phone with a lovely older woman when this happens:

Me: “All right, I’ve gotten that all taken care of for you. Was there anything else I could help you with, ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh, no, [My Name], you’ve been great! And you can just call me [First Name].”

Me: “Yes, ma’—”

I bite my tongue and the customer catches it because I can hear the playful smirk in her voice.

Customer: “You can’t do it, can you?”

Me: *Gritted out* “No, ma’am.”

We shared a laugh and ended the call. Some people have gotten mad at me when I’ve struggled to address them by their first name; it’s nice to have someone who understands!

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