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Column: ‘Sweetie’ no way to address strangers


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How many times have you been in line at a convenience store and when you get to the cashier, they address you as “honey,” or “sweetie,” or the worst, “BABY”!

“Is that all, honey?” “Thanks, sweetie.” “Have a good day, honey.” “That’s $7.25, baby.”

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Doesn’t it just infuriate you?

Here you are purchasing an item or transacting business with someone you do not know and they are addressing you like only your spouse, parent or grandparent might address you.

What has happened to the manners that used to be commonplace in our society?

I would like to think that parents pass down at least the most basic manners to their children. I know I did, and I know you may be laughing now if I am so naïve to think all parents do.

There are many things that get lost generation to generation, but in my experience basic manners are still taught. However it appears laziness and indifference may be prevailing.

A child addressing an adult should first call them Mr. or Mrs. Smith; if then Mr. or Mrs. Smith says, “Oh call me Bob or call me Alice,” then the child can address them by their first name.

I believe teachers are still addressed as Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Children should have no trouble remembering that.

So as children most of us are used to addressing new acquaintances appropriately.

What happens between childhood and adulthood? The cashier that is popping her gum and addressing everyone so inappropriately: How could her supervisor not stop her immediately upon hearing such a condescending greeting? Maybe they got lazy and forgot, too.

These terms of “honey” and “sweetie” are not endearing if you are not an intimate of that person, and they do not impress the customer to return to that business.

I will call my husband “honey” or “sweetie.” My mother will call me “honey” or “sweetie.” I would never call the cashier at my local grocery “honey” or “sweetie” or “bye bye baby.”

Now I know some friends of mine that do not want to be called “sir” or “ma’am.” They think it refers to old age, but I have news for them. We are getting older. I think “sir” and “ma’am” is the safest way to go if you must say something to address a customer. It is also appropriate to just say “hi” and “thank you.”

So the next time I am in line at your window and you don’t know me from Adam, please don’t call me “honey” or “sweetie” or “baby.” I am not married to you, nor are we intimate family members.

The owner your business will applaud you for your good manners and may just promote you because your boss just told me to “have a nice day, sweetie.”

Christie Crippen is a Columbus resident and patron of stores and restaurants.

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