What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

16 August 2010

Don't call me that.

I had a bit of a run-in with a rude guy in a coffee shop.

Unfortunately, the rude guy was an employee, the Bald King of Java, as it were. I hope he gets some lessons in customer service soon. You see, I had visited this coffee shop on campus a couple of times, and noticed that there were bikes parked indoors. Cool, I thought; I can bring my bike in here.

I forgot my bike lock one day last week, and didn't want to leave my bike sitting outside while getting my tea. So, I went to this shop and took the bike in with me. The Bald King of Java shouted at me that indoor bicycle parking was for employees only, Miss! Then another employee (I think the Bald King is a manager, unfortunately) assured me it was okay & got my tea for me.

For reasons passing understanding, I did purchase tea from this shop. I think it's because I was so taken aback by the Bald King's rudeness that I didn't really think it through. But I was furious, so much so that I was shaking. I went back outside with my so-disruptive bicycle and tried to calm down, then decided to channel all that fury into a productive outlet: writing.

Oh, yes, I wrote the King of Java a little note, apologising for messing up his day with my bicycle that I didn't realise was unwelcome inside his shop and assuring him that the mistake would not be repeated. And there may have been a suggestion that he should brush up on his customer service skills.

And I finished it off with this little tip: "It is traditional in the south to address a woman one does not know as 'Ma'am,' not 'Miss.' The more so in this case, because I am actually a 'Mrs.'"

Then I returned to the store, without bringing my bicycle, and found the Bald King of Java was busy with customers. So, I handed the happy little note to another employee and requested that she pass it along to "that gentleman." She laughed-- no need to tell her the contents-- and said, "Sure." I'm guessing the other employees don't like Baldy much, either. Nor should they, if that's the way he acts.

I hate it when people call me "Miss." It it totally understandable on the first day of class when a lecturer is going through the roll, and gets to the end and calls, "Miss Wilcox." After all, how should he know? At least he's being polite to the students. And once upon a time, I didn't bother to correct the instructor, but meekly let it go. However, that timid and newly-married girl is gone, and in her place is a woman who can confidently say, "It's Mrs. Wilcox, actually, and I'm here."

But for a member of the service industry to say address an adult woman as "Miss", especially in this part of the country, sounds so dismissive. (To be fair, this guy could have addressed me as "Your Majesty" and it would have sounded dismissive.) Seriously, it's "Ma'am." You really can't go wrong around here calling any woman "Ma'am," even if she has only just emerged from a womb. And if you've lived here more than 10 minutes, you don't have much of an excuse for your foot-in-mouth disease.

So, there are other coffee shops on campus. And I'll take my couple of bucks a week to them.


Aaron said...

Sorry, but 'ma'am' is one of those words that will seldom if never leave my mouth if I can help it. Lumped in with 'ya'll'... it's just too southern for my taste. i guess that's why I wasn't very comfortable with the south.
But I'm sure there would have been a more polite way to address the situation, seeing as you were a paying customer.

Timbra Wiist said...

teehee. . . . i think "ma'am" though at one time would have annoyed me and made me feel old, after living in UT with the horrid customer service, might actually be refreshing now :) that or "HEY. . .LADY!" either will suffice :) good on you!

Su said...

I'm not wild about addressing people as "Ma'am" or "Sir", but hey, it does the job. And I've had to get used to being called "ma'am", because I did not like it 10 year ago!

But this guy totally deserved it.

Su said...

10 "year" ago? I am getting old... :)