Letter to the Editor: 'No Ma'am?'
The following Letter to the Editor was sent in by Richard A. Frear.
I have been a resident of Marblehead for about five years and a reader of Marblehead Patch for 3 years. I find it a great source of information as-well-as a great forum for folks to use for various issues. This is my first time contacting the Patch to relay a situation that I was confronted with today at a local business.
This morning I stopped by a local shop and, upon entering, I was greeted and told that "someone would be right with me".
Pleased at the greeting, I responded "Thank you Ma'am". The customer in front of me, a very pleasant woman, said to the employee, (and I am paraphrasing), "Isn't it nice to hear some traditional manners?"
The employee then reponded, " I still don't like it" (I assume it was the word ma'am that was so offensive). I was suprised by the response and immediately felt the need to convey that there was no offense intended. I stated that I come from a military backround (I am still serving in the U.S. Army) and that such a reply is meant out of respect.
The employee just quickly looked at me and did not respond. The customer wisely stated, " Hey, there are certainly worse things a person can be called".
She then shook my hand and sincerely thanked me for my service. Still, there was no reponse from the employee. As I stood there for a few more moments the angst from the employee was obvious. I then began to think. Why am I defending myself? I feel that we, as a society, have a big problem with a lack of manners, ethics and courtesy...and it's not getting any better.
I am a man in my 50s and spend a great deal of time reinforcing this with my daughter and with young soldiers. Furthermore, I came to this establishment to give them my money.
By this time I felt it best to leave for several reasons:
- I did not want to continue a transaction that was already uncomfortable,
- I now felt as though I was being disrespected.
- Why should I now give this business my money?
It was much more of an inconvenience to leave Marblehead and find another franchise, but, I was just not comfortable doing business at this location. Unfortunately, since I now had to leave Marblehead, I ended up doing other business out of our town as well.
To put things in context, this employee was not a teen or a 20-year-old woman; we were probably close in age. Did the employee wish to be called Miss, Mrs, etc? I am sorry, I will not perform an assessment of age, marital status, etc. everytime I address someone.
Please folks, recognize manners for what they are and pass it on and relax.
Richard A. Frear