Posted by: JDM..... | February 11, 2012


My first name is “Mister”….

Two or three years ago, when I first ambled into Blogland and decided to hang around awhile, I posted an item concerning traditional public courtesies. After a brief shopping trip this morning, I decided to take another look at the matter.

We went to a major chain store to pick up a few items, and proceeded to the “Customer Service” kiosk to check out. As I dug out my credit card, I remarked off-hand that I had forgotten a discount coupon I had received in the mail.

“Well, they say that’s the first thing to go, y’know…” the middle aged woman smiled with a smirk.

It took me a second, but then it hit me that the last time I had heard that one was when my brother in law and I were bantering while taking our rifles for a walk in the woods one November.

I ran my card through the little gadget on the counter, signed my name with the electronic stylus, and handed the card to the smiling woman behind the counter, just as the little gadget had instructed.

She looked at it, handed it back, and said “Thank you, Jeffrey…”

Ergo, my impulse to offer an updated version of the ditty I published back in 2009. I called it“Open Letter”, and addressed it to…

… “…to the gum-snapper checking me in at the doctor’s office and the little snot handing me back my credit card at the gas station…”

The original is still posted on my other blog, by a damsite

Today, however, I’d like to broaden the target audience to generally include just about all allegedly sentient bipeds except adult members of my immediate family, old friends and former coworkers, and a few selected others who know me personally…

Dear Mr. __________,
Mrs. __________,
Miss __________,

We have never been formally introduced, but have come to engage in a casual business exchange where it is both convenient and polite to address each other by name. In that regard, I would like to let you know that I prefer to be addressed as Mr. _________ in such relationships. I, in turn, would prefer to address you similarly.

In fact, though it may seem a bit archaic in this day and age, I grew to adulthood in a world where such forms of address were the norm, and I have never quite dropped the practice. To this day, I find it awkward to address anyone other than my family or closest friends by only their familiar names or nicknames.

That said, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would indulge my idiosyncrasies and address me as Mr. ________ instead of my first name until such time as we become fishing buddies, husband and wife, or in-laws.


Mr. __________

I’m not sure why so many people who deal with the public, especially in retail settings, insist on pretending to be old friends with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that happens to grace their cash register, but I’d like to tell them, and their bosses, that it is a bold-type invitation to shop elsewhere. It’s not the end of the world, mind you, I’m not that sensitive, but it is neither polite nor respectful to address a complete stranger by first name, especially when he or she happens to be old enough to be the offending employee’s grandparent.

If they managed to qualify for admission to the armed services, I seriously doubt they’d retain the habit of addressing their Drill Instructors as Bob or Skippy very long.

I don’t patronize Mickey Dee’s Grease factory very often, but occasionally do like to grab a breakfast sandwich there. I was there just the other day. Right after taking my order, the young man behind the counter asked me for my first name. Apparently, even McDonalds has joined the No Manners/No Boundaries craze. I don’t know if the folks coming up with these shticks think it’s good marketing or what, but they need to go sit in the corner and think about it. I’m a pre-boomer, but the true “boomer” generation is about to start celebrating Social Security Day springing for coffee and donuts at such places, en masse, and most of them, just like me, were brought up in a please and thank you, Mr., Mrs., and Miss world. This “Yo, bro” crap is something new. You aren’t doing anyone favors by selling them stuff; it’s the other way around. Deal with it. If you want our money, you might want to play along.

I think I’ll start saying something instead of just stewing about it and writing blogs. Anyway, it should be a lot more fun to write about the look on the McDonald’s kid’s face when I refuse to tell him my name. I think it will be amusing to reprimand a cashier for talking to me like we’re old drinking buddies and see how they handle it.

The retail world can be pretty cutthroat, I know. I’ve worked in that arena several times, and was a District Sales Representative for a major oil company forty years ago. It was all about attracting the buying public with service and making the customer feel welcome, valued, special, and respected.

I don’t feel particularly welcome, valued, special, or respected when the person taking my money presumes to force, albeit briefly, a peer relationship on me. I don’t feel particularly welcome, valued, special, or respected when some little shit with a spike through her lip calls me by my first name just because she gets to read it on my credit card.

Hwaet! Listen up! My name is “Mister”. And you know what, young man? So is yours. And young lady, your name, for business purposes, is “Miss”.

Thank you. Eye contact. Smile.



  1. Toad,
    I agree wholeheartedly!

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