to hate being called m'am or madam by shop assistants

(125 Posts)
BadaBingBang Tue 04-Jan-11 07:08:42

Is it necessary to give me a title? M'am is a like being called Mum, and Madam puts me in mind of the lady in charge of a brothel.

HappySkiingGardeningNewYear Tue 04-Jan-11 07:17:41

What would you prefer? I like it personally as it is polite, and much better than "oi you".

I like it -it's a courtesy-and that can't be bad

Bunbaker Tue 04-Jan-11 07:20:51

YABU. They don't know your name so what should they call you?

onceamai Tue 04-Jan-11 07:25:14

Go often enough and buy enough and they will start calling you by name.

BadaBingBang Tue 04-Jan-11 07:27:22

It is possible to do the entire exchange without using madam and be polite. E.g:
SA: Can I help you?
Me: Could I have a chicken and salad sandwich please?
SA: Certainly, that's £2.50 please
Exchange sanwich for money,
Me: Thank you
SA: You're welcome

Avantia Tue 04-Jan-11 07:34:02

YABU - a least they are acknowleding you and not standing or sitting there chewing gum! Went to a DIY store yesterday - not B & Q I always find there staff very polite , girl on the till didn't even look me in the eye = managed to give me an 'allright ' then proceeded to give me my change whilst looking the other way , I had to move my hand to judge where hers was going to drop the change !

onceamai Tue 04-Jan-11 07:50:40

Surely no-one's ever been called madam when they're buying a sandwich.

Hardly anyone calls me madam - except in very very posh shops in the West End where they think I'm too scruffy to buy anything. I remember once they were incredibly snotty and a famous actress walked in, aunt of friend, and hugged me and their faces - oh it was gorgeous.

BadaBingBang Tue 04-Jan-11 08:01:19

I was called madam or m'am, at least three times during said exchange at sandwich shop. Maybe he was new and trying it out, or maybe I was too scruffy.

galletti Tue 04-Jan-11 08:14:03

Thinks it's nice and respectful, especially when manners seem to be on the decrease nowadays. Think men being called sir is good too!

fishie Tue 04-Jan-11 08:17:23

i am currently eating a sandwich. i was called madam during the procurement of it and thought nothing much of it other than to think to myself I wonder what age one becomes a madam.

They used to call me miss.

Madam is what you call grownups.

It's like when parents talk to their children and say 'move over here so the lady can get past'

I am clearly old.

sarah293 Tue 04-Jan-11 08:46:15

Message withdrawn

Chil1234 Tue 04-Jan-11 08:47:51

YABU... It's nice! Like being in Upstairs Downstairs. I find foreigners more likely to be particularly hot on the formal courtesy titles. 'Madam', 'Sir' etc., especially if they are a bit older.

BendyBob Tue 04-Jan-11 08:53:20

Ooh I love it. If it can be modified to 'Modom' so much the bettergrin

It's rare nowdays; wonderfully polite and old fashioned and harks back to A Better Time when ladies shopped for gloves and a good hat. I wish I lived back then sometimes..more often the older I get in factblush.

LostArt Tue 04-Jan-11 08:57:18

YANBU, I hate it. But I am very touchy about my age and I see it as a reminder that I'm no longer a young slip of a thing. <sigh>

WimpleOfTheBallet Tue 04-Jan-11 09:11:30

When I worked in a theatre bar in the West End, American men always called me "Miss"

"Excuse me Miss, could I get a napkin with my Bourbon?"

I liked it...made me feel like I worked in a diner!

NutellaIsMyHeroin Tue 04-Jan-11 09:13:45

Try living in Dubai! There, even some colleagues called me maam. Even when I said 'please just call me Nutella' , they would them come out with 'OK, maam Nutella.' Arrrggghh!

maighdlin Tue 04-Jan-11 11:04:27

I don't mind it in the UK but HATE it in the US where every one calls you m'am and it sound horrible with the american accent like m'eeyyym. like nails on a blackboard to me and they use so much they say it about 4 times when you order a drink.

BaggedandTagged Tue 04-Jan-11 11:09:46

"Try living in Dubai! There, even some colleagues called me maam. Even when I said 'please just call me Nutella' , they would them come out with 'OK, maam Nutella.' Arrrggghh!"

LOL- but the best one is when they say "Hello ma'am-sir"

Um- can't you tell? I would hope that I am fairly obviously a woman.

In Asia, its actually rude to tell someone in a service role not to call you ma'am or sir because apparently you are diminishing their status by so doing; something to do with the fact that by diminishing your own status, you're also lessening theirs. I haven't quite got my head around that one yet.

higgle Tue 04-Jan-11 11:10:58

Another supporter here - I just love being "Madam"

charliesmommy Tue 04-Jan-11 11:14:10

I prefer it to being called "love".. and my husband prefers to be called "sir" rather than "mate" or "pal"...

Ladyofthehousespeaking Tue 04-Jan-11 11:15:04

Only Americans who I have been serving have called me ma'am!!

Here it's 'love' although a woman went nuts went my colleague said 'cheers love'...weird!

BaggedandTagged Tue 04-Jan-11 11:16:02

.... or Governor, although that's mainly the preserve of London cabbies. I quite like it though (not to me obviously- to my "male companion")

UnquietDad Tue 04-Jan-11 11:16:20

heh-heh... Anyone else thinking of the Dick Emery character who would bridle at "Madam" and say "Miss"?

Or am I just showing my age...?

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 04-Jan-11 11:21:25

I love being called Ma'am in america, especially in the deep south.


Mind you, when I was younger and lived in Devon, I used to hate being called 'maid' by older people e.g. 'there ee go then, maid'

Nobody in Devon calls me maid anymore, as probably am hatchet of face and too old. And that pisses me off no end grin

I love being called madam in shops, but it hardly ever happens. I don't like being called love, or duck (in Nottingham).

mutznutz Tue 04-Jan-11 11:23:43

It doesn't bother me either way really but it is nice that politeness hasn't gone completely out of fashion.

Imarriedafrog Tue 04-Jan-11 11:25:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NestaFiesta Tue 04-Jan-11 11:30:13

YABU. We should encourage good manenrs wherever possible- they are a dying breed!. Poor person who served has probably been on a course and is terrified of mystery shoppers.

I love being called Madam or Mrs Fiesta. its shows respect and gives me a little glow.

I was in a shop recently and instead of being greeted by "Can I help you Madam?" the member of staff just came and stood next to me and mumbled "allright?" to his shoes.

TandB Tue 04-Jan-11 11:33:16

I spend my days addressing people as "Sir" and "Madam". I will now be worrying that the judges/magistrates are thinking "stop bloody well calling me that, I have a name."

They are probably not though.

Aims80 Tue 04-Jan-11 11:37:36

I hate it too, makes me feel old! The first time I got called Madam I died a little inside (much prefer Miss!).

Lonnie Tue 04-Jan-11 11:45:16

I do not mind it I hate it when they assume they can call me by my first name and I do correct and tell them MRS.. if they ask Im fine.. I like politeness it costs nothing and it makes things nicer in life imo so I would say YABU (though 3 times in that is a bit ott)

kenobi Tue 04-Jan-11 11:47:00

YABU. I got called sir once in a sandwich shop which was far more depressing. I still get paranoid when I have my hair scraped back and glasses on...

Getoffmoiland: So with you on the US thing! I have always found it odd that Brits have the rep for politeness when 90% of Yanks are far politer than Brits. We once had an intern from Texas who called us all sir and ma'am and it was so lovely yet at the same time utterly embarrassing as we are all utter scruff-bags in my office, and don't deserve it.

mumeeee Tue 04-Jan-11 12:31:43

YABU I would much rather be called that than love which a lot of shop assistants semm to do

MrsvWoolf Tue 04-Jan-11 13:03:35

I don't mind being called madam, particularly.

Though I have been aware of being addressed so more of late, think may be connecting to advancing age!

MrsvWoolf Tue 04-Jan-11 13:04:42


tgcounselling Sat 02-Nov-13 21:50:14

No, I am with you all the way. It started not long ago, it used to be that only nice old ladies who are at least over 50 would be called "Madam" as a polite gesture. Everyone would have laughed or think out of mind or at any rate, not so cool if someone calls a young person "Madam" or "Sir". (especially a guy to a girl)
Anybody here who says they like being called "Madam", they are obviously lying or has twisted mind. If it is only a polite gesture, nothing more, the person would not be angry if I ask the waiter/ waitress "not to call me Madam."

I HATE to be called Madam, because it sounds so mature and it makes me feel like an old woman, and as if all my young days are gone, so I try to be friendly with the shop staff if they look like a young person from 20 and under 50. I can't do that with a man over 50 because then the old man would want to flirt with me and I would feel sick.

Normally I would start the conversation like, "Hi, Girl" and then the shop person do not call me "Madam" and we chat like good friends. But it happened to me in the Jimmy's World Grill Bar recently, when the young waiter said, "Where would like to seat, Ma'am?" I said with a smile, "Can I not be called Madam, if it is OK?" and then the waiter became so angry, he told something about me to the other waitress and then the both of them were looking at me with very angry expression on their face. I was very surprised and asked them, "What's wrong?" and they said "Nothing."

Well, then the same waiter came to me while I was eating, "So how is the food, Madam?" I was so angry and I was sick of being called Madam so many times, I said, "Oh, Thank you, Sir! It is very good, SIIIIIIIIR!!!!!!!!!" and he ran away like a kid.

I sent a complaint email, and I got even more unpleasant letter, starting with "Ms.*" and it was written that every lady should be called Madam. And I thought, "That's ridiculous! Even a little 5-yr-old child?"

I think that it started when 20-21 yr-olds boasted about their age, I sometimes feel the urge to call people "Madam" or "Sir" when someone younger than me boast about their youth in front of me.

But, I do not understand why anyone should be so angry about the person who thinks that you are just as young as herself, does not matter if you or the other person is a little younger or older, (and you don't even know my age! you are guessing it) and try to be only friendly. I just could not understand and the whole experience makes me feel so sad.

There is a definitely spiteful reason behind calling young people "Ms.*" or "Madam" or "Ma'am" or "Sir" or "Lady". It is just spite. Nothing more. Don't lie. Be nice. Use appropriate words like, "Girl" or "Young lady" or "Miss" or "Boy" or at least "Young man". PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

FeckinNC Sat 02-Nov-13 22:11:58

As previously advised, don't ever move to the Middle East. I reckon I'm addressed as ma'am or madam at least 10 times every day. It did make me really uncomfortable initially but I was immune to it very quickly sadly

FloozeyLoozey Sat 02-Nov-13 22:14:55

It's always "love" round here (Lancashire). I couldn't give a fig what they call me, as long a it's not offensive. YABU.

Alliballi Sat 02-Nov-13 22:17:07

I get called ma'am a dozen times a day. (Deep South). I barely notice it any more

missinglalaland Sat 02-Nov-13 22:20:08

YABU, it's an attempt at courtesy.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 22:21:16

I dislike madam,but I was genuinely quite upset to be called 'dear' the other day by a young male shop assistant......

manicinsomniac Sat 02-Nov-13 22:21:58

Pupils at the school where I teach call us Ma'am. Not all the time, they can call us Miss/Mrs?Mr X,Y,Z but, if they are going to address a male teacher as 'Sir' they have to call the famale teacher 'Ma'am' as oppose to Miiiiiiiisssssss (in hideous, drawn out way that only children on a Friday afternoon can manage!)

gemmal88 Sat 02-Nov-13 22:24:35

Eugh... Love and babe make my blood boil

I don't mind madam, I'm not sure if I can ever recall being called ma'am - I reckon it would make me feel quite old! smile

I love being called Madam, but that might be because it only happens in John Lewis and I love shopping in John Lewis.

hoobypickypicky Sat 02-Nov-13 22:27:55

YABU. It's a courtesy term. It's better than the one I got today. My daughter's friend is a young Bangladeshi man so English isn't his first language. He's incredibly sweet and ultra polite and at first I had to reassure him that it was fine to call me Hooby and not Madam or Mrs PickyPicky. He sent me a text today and called me "dear" as in "Thank you dear, I hope you had a good day". Bless him! grin

stopgap Sat 02-Nov-13 22:36:33

I hate it, too. I've lived in America for ten years, and still get "Miss" about 30% of the time, but have seen myself transition from "Miss" to "Ma'am" the majority of the time, and it just reminds me that I'm edging towards 40, instead of edging towards 30.

Halfrek Sun 03-Nov-13 00:01:43

I went for a teaching interview once and all the kids called me Ma'am. Threw me right off as I'd never come across it before, everywhere else I have taught I am Ms Halfrek or Miss.

Tigerbomb Sun 03-Nov-13 00:17:57

I absolutely loathe being called Madam. It makes me feel so old. I have noticed an increase use of Madam over the past 12 months and I don't just mean towards me, it seems to be the new Miss

I don't mind being called a little madam though grin

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Sun 03-Nov-13 00:19:45

I've never been called ma'am or madam. I just get a screech of "Next please" or "hi there".

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 03:31:52

I like it, I'm trying and failing at 3.36 in the morning to remember where and when it was last used.

I don't mind, "love", "dear" or similar.

The only one I really hate is " Mrs my surname". The juniors in my hairdresser always call me that and I know they're just doing it to be polite and I'd look a complete sourface if I said it's "Miss"

crumpet Sun 03-Nov-13 03:57:18

Tgcounselling are you serious? Madam has been used for a looooong time and is a courtesy.

Spiteful it is not.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 07:04:43

There is a thread at the moment asking why old people get het up about trivial matters and I have pointed out that is has nothing to do with age, as proved by this! It is courtesy and since people seem to hate love, duck, pet etc probably a good thing!
Has it not occurred to you that you are actually getting old, Tigerbomb? It comes to us all!

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 07:05:48

I also have no objection to love, duck, pet etc either, depending on how it is said.

DoBatsEatCats Sun 03-Nov-13 08:33:18

I hate it, but I only get called Madam in posh shops where the assistants combine it with eying you like something they've scraped off their shoe. In that context it's just subtle rudeness. If I got called it by someone who was otherwise being polite to me, I wouldn't mind.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 03-Nov-13 08:44:10

I work in a shop and have never had reason to use "Madam" ... or Sir....

"Can I help you?", "What are you looking for?", "Is it still raining?", "So sorry, the till is running slowly today", "Thank you" "Goodbye"

Seem to make up most conversations.... with those customers who can be bothered to put their mobile phones away.... my bugbear is people who seem to think it is ok to just wave a hand at me on the till as if to say "this call is far more important than common courtesy"....

Weeantwee Sun 03-Nov-13 09:45:33

I don't like it as it makes me feel old but there's little else an assistant can say. With men it is 'Sir' which sounds fine at any age. My DH works in retail and will call a man Sir but he tries to judge whether a female customer would appreciate Madam or not and use it accordingly.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 10:36:43

I am sorry, but, if it was only a courtesy, why would people not STOP calling me Madam if I ask them not to? Instead, most people would call you Madam even more if you ask them. If it was not spite, only a courtesy, then you should be able to stop it. I think you are lying and hiding the truth.

Don't lie to me, I lived through the 90s and 80s though I was only a child at the time and nobody used to call the young ladies or young men
"Madam" "Lady" or "Sir" "Gentlemen". At any rate, one must be able to see that it IS a ridiculous word for young people and it is hurting many people. In UK, people even call little children now "Madam" "Sir" and it is horrible.

It is not only the words, there used to an atmosphere that from old people to young people, they adore you like their own son and daughter, and between young people, a kind of cool casual air that so young and vibrant and happy. I think that is more ideal. Nowadays the young people (from 20 to under 50) talk like grandpas.

I also remember people saying without "Madam" or "Lady" usually, such as,
when parents talk to their children "Move over here so she can get pass." instead of "Let the lady pass".

I agree with what "BadaBingBang" said, you CAN actually say and have conversation without saying Madam, Sir, and it does not sound rude.

Nobody would find it rude. If it is rude, WHY would old people over 50 look angry when I do address them Sir/Madam? I do that out of respect to old people, because I think that old people should be respected, but, I do not think it is an appropriate word for young people.

I think that the words or the words that addressing somebody represent the culture. I see at the supermarkets old men over 50 wearing tight T-shirt with animated character on it with big headphone on their heads, and trying to flirt with me. They dress up and act like teenagers, which I do not even do that. Because I think that it is more pleasant to be a proper young person, I do not have to mimic the teenagers who are only children of under 20. That would be pathetic.
The world is clearly going crazy.

I try to be as friendly and casual as possible when I go to shops and say "Hi, Girl" or "Hi, Love" if they look not over 50. I think that being 40 or 49 is way too young to be considered as an old person.

If you can not be sure about the border line of young and old, look up the bible. (the Numbers) One can contradict a human, but can not contradict God, and the bible suggests that people over 50 are old people and a person should expect to die when they reach 100. (Jacob's story)

You can NOT consider someone as an old person who has not lived even a half of life time yet.

I wish I could see more charismatic old people over 50, rather than old people in teen clothes. I remember my grandfather and grandmother was so affectionate and warm and really nice old people, NEVER calling the young people with over-polite terms. My grandma would call a 40 yr-old young woman as "My dear girl" and if she is a nice person who can respect the elders she would not be angry to those words.

My grand parents were loved and respected by so many people until the end of their lives.

There is clearly another kind of happiness as an old person and people today do not realise it and missing the big part of their life!

I think it is all to do with the ideal way of relationships in life, the children, the young, the old, the parents, etc.

We should start looking for what is the ideal way of life as a human being, and try to find a way not to hurt each other.

There is no such thing as an "Ageless" world. People born and die. That's life. Life is not about living forever on the earth, it is about what kind of life you live, if you lived a decent life, and you have no regrets.

We can NOT pass this vicious current culture that biting each other's head off, to the children. We must find a way. And it starts, when STOP trying to make the young people as the same as the old people.

Chesntoots Sun 03-Nov-13 10:49:49

Tg, with the best will in the world, I have no idea what you are talking about....

almapudden Sun 03-Nov-13 11:34:20

tgcounselling you are hilarious. What on earth are you blathering on about?

I like it.

Tgcounselling - get checked out, you're losing it

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:40:30

i hate it when they say ma'am but even more when its just like MAM it makes me cringe.

Salmotrutta Sun 03-Nov-13 11:40:35

The prize for the most tortuous post goes to tgcounselling grin

You really go into shops and say "Hii Girl" to assistants??

How interesting.

Salmotrutta Sun 03-Nov-13 11:41:22

Or even Hi Girl... hmm grin

RaRa1988 Sun 03-Nov-13 11:52:46

TGCounselling : You address people in shops as "Hi Girl"?! Honestly?! I haven't worked in shops for a while now, and when I did I suppose you might have considered me a 'girl', being in my early twenties and quite young-looking, but I'd have found being referred to as "Girl" extremely rude and no doubt you'd have gone down as one very odd customer!

Preciousbane Sun 03-Nov-13 12:13:11

I'm not keen on being called Madam either, the first time it happened I thought that's it I'm old.

Though the long post from TG is a bit hard to decipher I do dislike seeing men in tight t.shirts with headphones and messenger bags trying to be down wiv the kidz.

I have never liked being called girl, even when I was a girl.

ukatlast Sun 03-Nov-13 12:59:24

YANBU I don't even like being called Mrs ukatlast. As you say there is no need. I hate unnecessary verbal formality.

WholeNutt Sun 03-Nov-13 13:05:11

YABU it's nice to know courtesy still exists.

nulgirl Sun 03-Nov-13 13:13:54

Agree with satinsandals. There really is no end to the trivia that people get offended/ narked/ annoyed by. What does it matter if someone refers to you as madam. They are trying to be polite (and have probably been told by their management to say it anyway).

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 17:45:20

Exactly nulgirl. You upset people whatever. There have been whole threads where people can't stand being referred to a a lady, they get very upset at 'girls' or 'guys' , apoplectic at 'love', hate first names, don't like 'Mrs' if they are 'Ms' or vice versa.
I didn't understand tg's post but it seemed to say that politeness differed according to age, whereas I would say it was regardless of age.
Some shops use 'madam' , get over it and move on! (Or use a different shop)

BurlyShassey Sun 03-Nov-13 17:54:42

unquietdad grin Im thinking exactly that about Dick Ememry.

and I get angry being called Madam too. makes me feel old. Sir sounds right, no age group there, but miss and madam, grrrrr!

I love it (as long, as some said up thread, as it's not being said in an unpleasant snotty way in a posh shop).

I visit France often and everyone is very polite and calls you Madame. The lady who runs the fish stall at the local market knows a bit of English which she is always keen to try - enough to know that Madame = Mrs, so when I leave she shouts out "Goodbye Mrs" grin

paxtecum Sun 03-Nov-13 18:10:03

Madam, love, dear, dearie, duck, ducky, hon, pet, darling.

Don't mind any of them.

A security man at a midlands airport called me duck. It did bring a smile to my face.

UsedToBeNDP Sun 03-Nov-13 18:12:43

It is definitely not exclusively a 'posh shops' thing. There is a lady in my local TK MaXx who calls women madam, she is utterly lovely and is purely doing it out of politeness and, ok maybe a slightly dated idea of customer service but it does no harm at all and she comes across as well mannered and an asset to their team.

Trills Sun 03-Nov-13 18:15:59

I've already commented on this in 2011...

bluebayou Sun 03-Nov-13 18:20:36

TGC , ..... ? I have finished reading now .

stella69x Sun 03-Nov-13 18:29:23

I irk at madam, but it's because my mum used to call me 'a little madam' when I was being a (what i can see now as) a PITA.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 18:40:24

Can I just ask you guys something?

Why do you HAVE TO call someone Madam or Sir even if they ask you not to call them like that?

If it was no big deal, like you are all saying, it is also possible just not to use the term, is it not?

Well, I think that you are all just cold-blooded, heartless beasts who do not care about other people's feelings!

Even if you "like" it, you must consider the fact that many people HATE it, and actually hurt by being addressed like that, everyday, in everywhere. You can NOT just block your ears and ignore somebody else's pains!

They do not mean any offense by asking you not to call them like that, I just do not understand why you MUST hurt other people's feelings. What kind of person are you all?

TheOpposibleThumb Sun 03-Nov-13 18:47:33

TGC you are not making any sense at all. Have a cuppa.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 18:58:30

Tgc- you don't seem to be aware that 'you guys' is a real pet hate for some people!

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 18:59:38

Life is too short to ask every customer how they would like to be addressed and then some would get upset to be asked!

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:03:59


When I was 20, younger than you are now, I did not boast about age nor the year I was born, I though it would not be fair and only hurt other young ladies. At the time I had friends who was 27 or 30 or 35, all sweet, lovely and even more prettier than me, I was a childish college girl who was wearing jeans every day with no decent jobs or money, whereas the other girls looked less childish, and a lot prettier and wears high heels and stylish bags.

I was happy for them, and looking forward to my own future, rather get jealous of them and try to hurt them by boasting my age.

If I was saying things like "Oh, ladies, I am a girl in my early twenties and I am quite young, whereas you are old now." I would have been hated and not be able to be friends with them.

But there were people who hated me because they did not know me what I am like, and hated me very much before even know me. They called me Lady, Madam, Ms.*, every word that has mature meaning. I wanted to show them that I think of anyone who is not even 50 as a young person but they did not listen to me.

I guess thus it remained as a habit, and also to prevent them calling me "Madam", I say greetings like "Hi, Girl" or "Hi, Love".

I still think that everyone is lying by saying that people would be offended if they are called by friendly terms. I haven't seen anyone gets angry so far, and this is an internet, thus you could be an old lady over 50 who enjoy hurting young people and make them the same as yourself. Who knows?

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:07:06

[Re-up] (There were error. How do I edit this?)


When I was 20, younger than you are now, I did not boast about age nor the year I was born, I though it would not be fair and only hurt other young ladies. At the time I had friends who was 27 or 30 or 35, all sweet, lovely and even more prettier than me, I was a childish college girl who was wearing jeans every day with no decent jobs or money, whereas the other girls looked less childish, and a lot prettier and wears high heels and stylish bags.

I was happy for them, and looking forward to my own future, rather than get jealous of them and try to hurt them by boasting my age.

If I was saying things like "Oh, ladies, I am a girl in my early twenties and I am quite young, whereas you are old now." I would have been hated and not be able to be friends with them.

But there were people who hated me because they did not know me what I am like, and hated me very much before even know me. They called me Lady, Madam, Ms.*, every word that has mature meaning. I wanted to show them that I think of anyone who is not even 50 as a young person but they did not listen to me.

I guess thus it remained as a habit, and also to prevent them calling me "Madam", I say greetings like "Hi, Girl" or "Hi, Love".

I still think that everyone is lying by saying that people would be offended if they are called by friendly terms. I haven't seen anyone gets angry so far, and this is an internet, thus you could be an old lady over 50 who enjoy hurting young people and make them the same as yourself. Who knows?

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 19:09:23

I am over 50 and not happy to be called 'an old lady'!

bluebayou Sun 03-Nov-13 19:10:08

TGC , what on earth are you talking about ?

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 19:12:59

Is English your second language TGC?

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:13:39


I would call you simply "Madam." Nothing more.

I love my mum, aunts and older women in town and they adore me because I behave like a good girl, like their own daughters.

But I can not say nice things to people who call me Madam and that I am just as old as them. Do you really think it is fair?

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 19:18:27

I can't really say, I don't understand any of your posts. Do you mean that you can only call people 'madam' if they are older than you?

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:22:08


Yes, it is my second language and I apologize for the mistakes I am making.

You are not going to despise someone who English is their second language, are you? Just because English is your language it does not mean you're higher than me.

I did not know ladies over 50 were here. I am sorry if I offended you.

But, I honestly think that there is got to be a certain border line to determine young and old. We can not just say, hey, all age is the same and all people should be called Madam/Sir, as it certainly would hurt many people as you can see.

My mum is over 50 and very nice lady, she does not wear teenage clothes like some people in my town, she looks beautiful and respectful
, I think that would be more ideal.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 19:28:17

I don't despise anyone, I was just trying to work out why I couldn't understand your posts when you obviously have strong feelings about it. I think that you are saying that there is a borderline between madam being acceptable or being rude- am I right?
I think it may be the cultural differences. I am actually over 60yrs and have just run my first half marathon and I guess you wouldn't approve of me!

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:31:00

@ SatinSandals

I am just quoting the bible, the bible described people over 50 as "older people" rather than "old people", I think God worried that it could hurt people and I also trying not to hurt your feelings.

I think of young people who are in the range of young era, "from 20 to under 50", as almost the same, it is no good to say "Hey, I am older than you, or I am younger than you" in those ranges, again, it could hurt people. Like I said before, one can not boast about being "early-twenties" for example, because for some people it could be only the era that they are trying to improve their life, they could be poor, or ugly, etc. (I was)

If someone finally succeeds to get something even at 40, I think that is their prime time of youth, rather than "early-twenties", they deserve to enjoy their reward.

Thus I often say "older people" rather "old people" and certainly use "lady, madam", rather than "old lady". But in order to not use "old lady", the young ones must be "girls" or "young lady" right?

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 19:38:23

I would definitely stick to 'older people' , rather than 'old people'.
English is a difficult language, it is more how you say it, than what you say. 'Madam' can be polite or rude to any age. Many would not like 'young lady' , and again it depends how you say it.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:43:36

@ SatinSandals

I am just saying nobody has rights to insist that "everyone" should be called Madam.

I still think that there are other kinds of happiness when you are old, I myself looking forward to it rather than afraid about it. But, I am looking forward to it in a way that I could be a bigger person who treat young people like my own sons and daughters, rather than insist that they are as the same as me, and I could do EVERYTHING that they can, or even better.

I already told you about old men wearing teen clothes at supermarkets, I think that this way of thinking is affecting many people, including my father, who always trying to flirt with young girls and saying that he is a young boy (he is 70). This made my mum very sad, and he looks like he lost his mind, it made all of my family sad.

I feel sad to see him like that. I wish he was as respectful as my grandfather.

When you are old, it is only natural to feel a bit weak, but, I think that is a blessing, because by being nice to young people, they would give you a hand and your old days would be not so lonely, you would be like a queen who always brings servants with you. I think this is God's design, in life on the earth.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 19:55:22

@ SatinSandal

I like being called "young lady", it could be said with affection from the older ladies, like my mum or someone old enough to be my mum, or they say it when they scold me also or advise me strongly, but that is also fine, too.

I follow God, and his first rule was to respect your own parents, and in the bible, all the nice young believers obey to old people, and old people adore them like their own sons and daughters.

Like I said, what we need to find, is the "ideal" way, the God's way.
And if once found, we all must stick to it, otherwise we shall all be only get angry with each other. There is only one ideal way, if we follow God.

I met the other day, on the road, an old woman who was lost, she came from neibouring town, and had 5 children and 10 grand children, but nobody escorted the lady. I walked all the way to the place where she was going.

This is what is happening right now. The young people are leaving their parents and grandparents, when they are supposed to be escorted like kings and queens in the family.

My father is the pain of family now, he says I am old, my brother is old, and he is still young, and gives pain to my mum, whereas my mum is a very nice lady who does NOT deny the fact that she is old now. My brother and I help her all the time and obey any hard work she tells us to do.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 20:00:55

You see, one could be angry about called "Madam" or not be angry.

I still think that "Madam" should be addressed to older women over 50, rather than before. It can not be vice versa, that young people being called "Madam", and older ladies not being called "Madam."

I also think that if you are a nice young lady who is able to respect the elders, you would not get angry by being called "young lady" or "girl".

You see, it all depends on what decide, and the whole life perspective behind it. Without God, how are you going to decide them all? Must we hurt each other's feelings and go on like this?

Madlizzy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:08:23

I use "Madam" for ladies over a certain age and I also use "Sir". I use young lady too.

fanjofarrow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:10:22

What would you prefer they called you? ''Random person''? ''Customer whose name I don't know?'' ''Oi, you!''? confused

Salmotrutta Sun 03-Nov-13 20:15:12

I can't understand why anyone would be hurt by being called Madam confused

Unless they thought the person was insinuating that they were the Madame of a brothel or something confused

I think you are overthinking this tgcounselling.

Salmotrutta Sun 03-Nov-13 20:16:15

And what constitutes a "nice young lady"?

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 20:19:06

My grandfather died at 98, and at his death bed there were about 100 young people including non-family members. They were all crying bitterly and beating their hearts, as if their own father was dying.
He died like a king.

As an old men, my grandfather never denied that he was old, nor called any young person "Sir" "Madam" in a scornful way.

He worked as a station manager until he was 50, and then suddenly became a pastor. Through his life, I got the idea that when you are old, you can do even bigger works, because you are wiser and have a lot of experience. He was called to be a pastor by God at 50, and was able to lead the people better than anyone in the church BECAUSE he was an old man with such high wisdom.

Do you notice that in order to become a president of a country, normally it is someone old enough rather than young? Normally it is also over 50, and there is reason for it.

But, it does not necessarily mean that you should force yourself to do great, hard-working physical work, as if you want to prove that you are just as the same as young person. I do not think that is right, nor ideal.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 20:19:12

I think that it is all to do with cultural differences,tgc. Mainly we all need to be kind to each other.
Some shops just tell assistants to use 'madam' and so they do. I can't see why is bothers anyone.

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 20:26:02


The reason? Like the Madlizzy said, it sounds as if they are thinking of you "over certain age", it makes you feel old. And nobody has right to make someone old as long as they are still young.


You can simply say, "Excuse me" or "Miss" is certainly better than Madam. I am OK with "Miss".

tgcounselling Sun 03-Nov-13 20:29:22


If it was only a cultural difference, it would be only me saying that I hate to be called Madam. As you can see, it is not only me. And you are a very cold person who does not care about other people's feelings.

Salmotrutta Sun 03-Nov-13 20:32:26

Sorry tgc but I think that's rubbish.

Most people on here have said they don't mind.

I have never objected to being called madam - I am over 50 but it never bothered me.

I would however have objected to being hailed by "Hi Girl" hmm

I'd love to be called ma'am. I still get called 'miss' or 'girl' and sometimes even 'kid' angry

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 20:40:29

I don't know why you think me a cold person. confused I have never called anyone madam and don't intend to start. I am merely saying that it is the norm in some shops and it is so trivial it isn't worth getting upset about. It is intended to be polite.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 20:44:09

I get more surprised when they say 'can I help you guys' when I am with a female friend , but it doesn't't bother me. 'Hello Duck, can I help you' doesn't bother me either, or 'Can I help you, pet?'. 'Can I help you, my lover' threw me a bit in Cornwall until I got used to it!

Snowlike Sun 03-Nov-13 21:16:25

I really dislike being referred to as Madam. I do my weekly shop in Waitrose - in one exchange about the location of an item I've counted it being used 7 times - it makes me want to scream! And tends to be only the young men who do it. I see no good manners attached to it's use.

AmIthatHot Sun 03-Nov-13 21:25:49

On the rare occasions I have been called that, I have loved it.

DanglingChillis Sun 03-Nov-13 21:41:01

Better than being called by your first name by some slip of a girl as happened to me when I returned a hirecar last week. The assistant had a piece of paper with my full name and title and yet kept calling me by my first name. I was not happy, Madam would have been infinitely better.

RaRa1988 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:52:54

I still think that everyone is lying by saying that people would be offended if they are called by friendly terms.

TGC : Doesn't this rather contradict your point about people being 'cold-hearted' etc for calling a stranger Sir or Madam (or simply for not having a problem with this)? You think that people are lying by saying they would offended by 'friendly terms' - well, 'Madam' in the contexts we are talking about is intended to be a friendly and polite term, and yet that seems to offend you hmm .

I really wouldn't recommend you continue referring to adults as 'Girl' when you address them - it is pretty patronising and rude. Adults don't generally wish to be referred to as 'Girl' or 'Boy' by someone who doesn't know them. I only really hear it used when referring to a group of friends ie 'the girls at the office' or 'going on a boys' weekend'.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 22:06:38

The 'slips of girls' at my hairdresser call me by my first name. I am a regular. I call them by their first name. I would hate the inequality of them calling me Mrs and me calling them Anna etc. if they called me Mrs I would have to use Ms or Miss.

Snowlike Sun 03-Nov-13 22:15:55

Overuse of first names is not something I feel comfortable with either. But it's always the young men in Waitrose and M&S who overuse madam. However anyone from the Deep South can call me Ma'am any time they choose - I just love the southern drawl. grin

Misspixietrix Sun 03-Nov-13 22:15:57

I actually like Madam. Can't stand Miss though.

SatinSandals Sun 03-Nov-13 22:20:40

I am not happy with inequality, I will not call someone Mrs, Dr, etc if they call me by my first name and if they call me Mrs then I can't call them by their first name. It doesn't matter who they are. It is either formal or informal.

FloozeyLoozey Sun 03-Nov-13 23:44:00

I always ask people to refer to me by my first name (short and simple), as my surname is long and foreign and complicated and I can never be bothered correcting/helping people's pronunciation of it.

Chesntoots Mon 04-Nov-13 07:52:03

If anyone called me "young lady" I would feel seriously patronised and offended. If someone in a shop came up to me and said "Hi girl" I would wonder if they had received any customer service training at all. I would certainly not be shopping there.

MsJupiterJones Mon 04-Nov-13 08:36:15

I hate it, it sounds false and makes me feel ancient.

Puts me right off shopping in Waitrose.

Snowlike Mon 04-Nov-13 08:46:35

Thing is I always get the feeling it's used with contempt. When I worked in retail we reserved the titles sir and madam for the arrogant idiots who were easily flattered by the superficial suggestion that these titles indicated respect...they don't!

MadeOfStarDust Mon 04-Nov-13 08:53:06

hah..... I got called a young lady the other day by a customer and it made me laugh..... (and feel goood!) I'm "about" 50 - she was about 80....

She said to my boss - "This young lady is helping me, thank you...." when he asked if she needed anything... he nearly choked at the "young lady", so I poked him in the ribs when I went past

PottyLotty Mon 04-Nov-13 09:52:25

I dont mind Madam or Miss its 'Duck' and 'Love' I hate. Duck/Love seems to be interchageable with Madam/Miss around here. Even in Tesco and B&Q they say it confused

BerstieSpotts Mon 04-Nov-13 09:56:52

I quite like "duck" <Midlander>

We used to have a woman who worked in our local WHSmith who was from the West country and she called everybody "Moi loverrrrr" - she was quite the local celebrity.

fanjofarrow Mon 04-Nov-13 22:56:21

I don't like ''Miss'' - I am neither a schoolteacher nor 12 years old.

Caitlin17 Mon 04-Nov-13 23:53:19

I don't mind "Miss" or duck, or love, or dear, in fact anything apart from Mrs which I loathe. I don't bother corrrecting any one. I have a vague recollection of Dick Emery sketch where a truly bonkers character did that.

Coupon Tue 05-Nov-13 00:39:44

YABU. It's respectful and polite.

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