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To expect as a potential customer to be addressed as Ms/Mrs?

(90 Posts)
DribbleWiper Thu 02-May-13 10:34:45

Two return emails this week, one from a cleaning company and one from a potential nursery, have begun with 'Hi Dribble', rather than 'Ms/Mrs Wiper'. Surely it's still appropriate and courteous for companies to address their customers by some sort of title until invited to do otherwise?

AIBU to feel rubbed up slightly the wrong way?

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 21:48:33

I think the Dr or Ms/Mr thing got debated on another thread, the consensus amongst us PhDers seemed to be: 'fine in a formal academic context, but a bit try hard if you start using it on the outside world where it has no relevence.' For example I know someone who is in the Army, he's only known as Sgt Smith at work, but outside he's Mr Smith or Dave.

Anyway I never introduce myself as Mr Hat, so it is unlikely I will ever introduce myself as Dr Hat. I am a diminutive of my first name to pretty much everyone.

Anyway I couldn't be arsed writing to Tesco Club Card or the watter board and going through the faff of changing my title.

DribbleWiper Thu 02-May-13 21:07:59

ComposHat, I nearly put that I'd be infinitely more pissed off if I'd done that DPhil I thought of doing at 21 and then wasn't called Dr by anyone! You've earned it! Wouldn't you want the title to be used by strangers?

I certainly don't think it's pompous to want to be known as Dr rather than Mr. It's merited by how much work you've done to achieve it. Professor's even better, obviously! grin

thermalsinapril Thu 02-May-13 21:03:20

> What if someone has a ambigous first name like Sam? or a name from another culture where it is not clear what gender a person is?

Then it's up to them to make this clear in their initial contact. The OP is referring to companies who are getting in touch after she'd contacted them.

Likewise Ms should be the default for a woman who hasn't stated her preferred title, not just defaulting to the first name instead. Of course if you'd rather be Mrs/Miss/Professor/Doctor/Lady then you can state that in brackets as suggested by ComposHat.

WeAreEternal Thu 02-May-13 20:57:16

Honestly I expect everyone I do not know personally to address me by my title. It really irritates me when people address me by my first name, especially in emails where I have signed my email to them with just my title initial and surname, but they still start their reply with hello We. I find it rude.

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 20:53:02

Jane Smith (Mrs)

It is a bit old-fashioned and isn't really seen that much any more, but it used to be fairly common.

I really can't get worked up by whether I am addressed by surname or first name or whatever so long as it isn't insulting.

On a related topic I'm doing a PhD and if I pass, I can't see me getting worked up about being called 'Compo' 'Mr Hat' or 'Dr Hat' all the same to me.

None of the University staff are the least bit popmpus about being called Dr and it would never occur to address them as anything other than their first name.

The most obsessive person I knew about titles was a Chemistry teacher at my old school who had a PhD in Chemistry fuck knows what he doing teaching Chemistry extrodiarily badly in a dog rough comp in the West Midlands insisited on being addressed as Dr Jones and would tear strips of any student who inadvertatly called him Mr Jones.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-May-13 20:49:10

Oh I don't think YABU. I agree with what Tolliver said. I don't know why but it really annoys me when my Bank does it! ~

ceres Thu 02-May-13 20:46:37

i have never given a title as part of my name - unless obliged to in e.g. a form, then i put ms.

i prefer to be called by my name. i think irish people are more informal though. i would feel extremely up myself asking anybody to address me as ms whatever. also extremely old (and i am in my 40s).

maddening Thu 02-May-13 20:40:01

those poems were lovely <sob>

Cloverer Thu 02-May-13 20:21:00

I have never received an email or letter from someone signed Jane Smith (Mrs) so I would have no idea how they expected to be addressed to be honest! I think you probably caused confusion there.

If an email was signed Mrs Smith or Mrs Jane Smith, I would address the reply to Mrs Smith.

Jane Smith or Jane I would address it to Jane.

TolliverGroat Thu 02-May-13 20:15:12

My grandmother was Florence, Florrie for short. When she was in hospital the staff insisted on calling her Flo, which no one had ever called her in her life (and she'd definitely have preferred Mrs Groat).

TolliverGroat Thu 02-May-13 20:12:43

I think I'd want banks/utility companies/big faceless institutions to call me Ms Groat, but where there are smaller companies and the likelihood of an ongoing personal relationship in future I'd expect/prefer "Hi Tolliver" (or better "Dear Tolliver").

However, I also know that if someone signs off "Dribble Wiper (Mrs)" it normally means they want to be called Mrs Wiper and would adjust my response accordingly.

Viviennemary Thu 02-May-13 20:05:23

I think it is cheeky of staff to address elderly people in hospital by their first names. But some find it more friendly.

GettingObsessive Thu 02-May-13 20:00:06

Oh it's only on the bit at the beginning that says "Hello Getting" so that you know you've logged in OK - they know he's plain old Mister really!

DribbleWiper Thu 02-May-13 19:41:26

Love it! Did anyone ever question it? They probably got all excited in the online banking office.

GettingObsessive Thu 02-May-13 19:35:12

And, when his online banking asked him how he wanted to be addressed, my BIL put "Lord BIL"


GettingObsessive Thu 02-May-13 19:33:59

If I email people, I sign off Getting Obsessive. They usually (in a work context) reply Dear Ms Obsessive or Dear Getting.

On forms (for example for the electricity company) I always give my title and I expect them to refer to me as Mrs Obsessive. As a child, I was taught that you don't call someone by their first name until you've been invited to.

On the phone I call myself Getting Obsessive, but they always seem to call me Mrs Obsessive must be the steel in my voice

DribbleWiper Thu 02-May-13 19:30:35

ComposHat Please see my reply to your question upthread. You've given me an idea, though. I think I shall be First Sea Lady Wiper from now on.

Sams presumably are more used to making their gender clear in correspondence (if they don't, then ho hum). If it were a name from another culture, I'd almost certainly try to find out which gender it applied to. Risk of mistakes, still, of course, but effort made.

Bue Thu 02-May-13 19:26:58

Oh I hate it when doctors introduce themselves as Dr so and so but they refer to you by your first name. Mum is even worse! Luckily on our labour ward the vast majority use their first names, which I think is much nicer and more appropriate for everyone involved. There are a couple of young male anaesthetists (why is it always the young male anaesthetists?!) who go in with "Hi Karen, I'm Dr Johnson" and I always think, oh you utter twat.

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 19:17:23

YANBU. If someone doesn't know me, I'm Ms Thermals.

What if someone has a ambigous first name like Sam? or a name from another culture where it is not clear what gender a person is?

How would they know if you were a Ms or a Mr?

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 19:01:48

It is a bit tricky though- I am not Ms.

ChunkyPickle Thu 02-May-13 19:00:21

YANBU - in a formal/customer/whatever situation I am Ms Pickle, and I would do the same to people I met - be they receptionists, doctors, salespeople or whatever. If you call me Chunky, then I know that you're trying to be inappropriately friendly and that puts me on my guard because you're probably about to try and sell me something.

When I was a salesperson, I always appreciated that my company put my full name on my badge, and liked that the polite customers would call me Miss Pickle (Ms would be better, but it is more awkward to pronounce).

In hospital with my son I totally understood that my son was the important one with the name, and I was mum - I preferred that the nurses looked after and knew him rather than mucked about figuring out my name (which is different to my childs)

thermalsinapril Thu 02-May-13 18:43:48

YANBU. If someone doesn't know me, I'm Ms Thermals.

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 18:40:01

Oh and OP how did you address the email you responded to.

If you signed it

yours sincerely,

Dribble Wiper

How would they know if you were Mrs/Ms/Dr/Lady/Admiral Wiper?

ComposHat Thu 02-May-13 18:37:24

I expect a certain degree of reciprocity in names.

Yes it is interesting how the power dynamic works, I am quite happy to be called 'Compo' but only object if the person then refers to themselves as 'Dr/Mr/Ms Smith.' It is a bit of one upmanship on the part of the speaker.

If you wished to be referred to by a more formal title, grant me the same courtesy.

DribbleWiper Thu 02-May-13 17:09:23

I've been looking up synonyms for 'citizen', but they're a bit uninspiring. Anyone fancy Denizen? Compatriot? Taxpayer??

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