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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #11551
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    Ah, now, that used to bug me when I did jobs that required me to wear a name badge - people I didn't know assuming that I wanted them to call me by name. (I'm wearing this badge because my employer requires it, not so you can get chummy, chum. We can call each other by name once we're actually properly acquainted.)

    There's some definite cultural divide on this, spanning countries and generations. Robert Heinlein launched into a tirade in Tramp Royale about how you got better service from waiting staff if you learned their names and used them - he said it was crassly impolite to do otherwise, IIRC. This while travelling around the world in the early 1950s. I suspect he got a lot of pretty average service from seethingly resentful waiting staff, who found his behaviour intrusively impolite.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #11552
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Gender uncertainty. As when I encounter a person and can't tell whether they are male or female.

    Today's example was the checker at the supermarket. I finally figured out he was just a skinny young man with curly hair. When I got to the head of the line he turned so I could see his name tag. "Gillian". Oops.
    I can appreciate that it bothers you, but what does it matter. Unless I'm planning to date the checker, why should I care where on the spectrum of genders they place themselves. As far as polite conversation, most of what I would say wouldn't have gender tags in it: "Thanks", "Oh, sorry, I thought that coupon was still good" "You too, have a nice day".
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  3. #11553
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Ah, now, that used to bug me when I did jobs that required me to wear a name badge - people I didn't know assuming that I wanted them to call me by name. (I'm wearing this badge because my employer requires it, not so you can get chummy, chum. We can call each other by name once we're actually properly acquainted.)
    Why does your employer require you to wear the badge?
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  4. #11554
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I can appreciate that it bothers you, but what does it matter. Unless I'm planning to date the checker, why should I care where on the spectrum of genders they place themselves. As far as polite conversation, most of what I would say wouldn't have gender tags in it: "Thanks", "Oh, sorry, I thought that coupon was still good" "You too, have a nice day".
    Well, in the South its a little more difficult when its hard-wired into our DNA to add maam and sir at the end of phrases.


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  5. #11555
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Well, in the South its a little more difficult when its hard-wired into our DNA to add maam and sir at the end of phrases.
    Go with your gut, and use what seems most likely. If they'd prefer you use something else, they'll tell you.

    If they get offended, that's their problem, not yours. (I know, that's easy to say, but...)
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  6. #11556
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Why does your employer require you to wear the badge?
    If you're in the world of security clearances, you have to be identifiable at all times, and it's one of your sworn duties to question anybody who isn't properly badged.

    My current badge isn't so bad, just name, picture and employer info, but at times in the past, I've worn badges that displayed my height and weight (not that these aren't discernible otherwise), my date of birth (ditto for the most part), part of my social security number, or middle name.

    You get used to it.

  7. #11557
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    And when you work customer service in some way, it's required by a lot of employers so that you can be immediately identifiable in some way. Frankly, I wonder how much of it is so that you're easily distinguished when the customer has a complaint.

    We legitimately ran out of milk yesterday, which meant braving the grocery store right before a winter storm alert. We didn't need much; Graham went in alone. He apparently spent twenty minutes or more waiting in line--while I spent that time in the car with two whiny kids.
    _____________________________________________
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  8. #11558
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Why does your employer require you to wear the badge?
    It varied, over the years.
    When I waited tables it was long before the current trend, noted by Gillianren, for people in customer service to wear name badges so customers know who to complain about. In fact, we wore T-shirts with the name of the restaurant on the front, and our first names on the back - the owner had some sort of reciprocal deal with the local art college, who silk-screened the T-shirts for him. So it was a sort of novelty item, in the days when bespoke T-shirts were rarities. He pretended it was a perk of the job, but none of us would have been seen dead wearing the damn things when not at work.
    When I was a medical student, we were required to wear badges so that our attendance at teaching and assessments could be tracked. But for a teacher to pick a student's first name off their badge and address them by it was considered to be somewhere on a short axis linking "emphasis of power" and "creepy". (And on one occasion there was good reason to deduce that a student had been discriminated against on the basis of her surname. So it goes.)
    In my later career it was decided, apparently out of thin air, that patients had a "right" to see the name of the member of staff they were talking to displayed on a label. That was being briskly walked back shortly before I retired, after a few social media hate campaigns, some light stalking, a few graffiti-ed houses and some excrement pushed through letter boxes.

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #11559
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    My point was that I think your annoyance was misplaced - it should have been directed at your employers who required the name tag. When an employee is wearing a nametag that says "Grant", customers are going to think they're supposed to call them "Grant" - and I don't think that's an unreasonable conclusion, at all.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  10. #11560
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    My point was that I think your annoyance was misplaced - it should have been directed at your employers who required the name tag. When an employee is wearing a nametag that says "Grant", customers are going to think they're supposed to call them "Grant" - and I don't think that's an unreasonable conclusion, at all.
    Oh, I've had various frank conversations with the people responsible for badge policies, too.

    But I think it is unreasonable to assume that someone who is wearing a workplace name-badge actually wants to be addressed by that name. There's a general appreciation that these things are imposed, rather than a matter of personal choice.
    I was served in a shop today by a young woman who was wearing a positive constellation of workplace badges, including one that said "Carly". I tried to think about how I would feel if I said, "Thank you, Carly," at the end of our transaction, and it was such a transgressive notion my heart-rate increased. That is very much not the act of a polite person, in these parts - one instead silently sympathizes with the predicament of the badge wearer.
    My impression is that people in the USA like to use first names, even with complete strangers, and so perhaps the assumption works most of the time when addressing fellow Americans. But it's not a general feature of humanity. This was illustrated for me on a trip to the Antarctic years ago, when the English-speaking passengers were about evenly divided between American and British nationality. We were all handed a "welcome pack" when we boarded the ship, which included our own personal badges with our first names on them. At the drinks reception on the first night, you could pretty much spot all the Brits by the absence of name tags.

    Grant Hutchison

  11. #11561
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Well, in the South its a little more difficult when its hard-wired into our DNA to add maam and sir at the end of phrases.
    In my customer service job, I'm always leery of calling women who are younger than me, 'Ma'am.'

    I've been told that for some people, 'Ma'am' really means 'Old Woman.'

    It's not true the other way. I can call a eight-year-old boy 'Sir' and no one bats an eye. But to call a fifteen-year-old girl 'Ma'am' seems wrong. But what's right? Miss? Missy? Young lady?

    I usually end up calling them nothing--which no doubt offends someone else as a sign of disrespect.

  12. #11562
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    You can't win. It's all Ze/Per/Hir/something

  13. #11563
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    I have an amplifier with a mind of its own. The amplifier is fed by two video inputs; a cable TV box and a DVD player. The input is selected through the amp which then sends that video signal to the TV.

    It's all good with the DVD player but when switched to the cable TV box I have to jiggle the output cable that feeds the TV - but ONLY when using the cable TV box.

    I think I have a sound bar in my future.

  14. #11564
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Oh, I've had various frank conversations with the people responsible for badge policies, too.
    That's good.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But I think it is unreasonable to assume that someone who is wearing a workplace name-badge actually wants to be addressed by that name.
    That's not what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    My impression is that people in the USA like to use first names, even with complete strangers, and so perhaps the assumption works most of the time when addressing fellow Americans. But it's not a general feature of humanity. This was illustrated for me on a trip to the Antarctic years ago, when the English-speaking passengers were about evenly divided between American and British nationality. We were all handed a "welcome pack" when we boarded the ship, which included our own personal badges with our first names on them. At the drinks reception on the first night, you could pretty much spot all the Brits by the absence of name tags.
    There is undoubtedly an American/British distinction here, and often a distinction between individuals, as well.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  15. #11565
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    That's good.


    That's not what I said.


    There is undoubtedly an American/British distinction here, and often a distinction between individuals, as well.
    Cue the individuals. I was taught in a British consultancy to always use first names as a strategy (basically in selling) and it has seemed natural ever since. But that is for casual conversation, full names with title are still the norm in formal settings like public speaking or written comms. But maybe that is an example of confirmation bias on my part.. I spend half my time in USA these days and find no difference in the comfortable use of names.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  16. #11566
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    That's not what I said.
    Apologies if I misunderstood, but I still can't parse it any other way.

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #11567
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Cue the individuals. I was taught in a British consultancy to always use first names as a strategy (basically in selling) and it has seemed natural ever since.
    It seems to vary. The man who sold me my most recent car didn't address me by anyrhing other than my surname. I confess I have to supress hostility to sales staff who use my first name, because it feels very much as if I'm being played by someone who's been on a course.
    (In medicine, BTW, addressing patients by their first names is very much a no-no, for various reasons.)

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Feb-11 at 09:42 AM.

  18. #11568
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It seems to vary. The man who sold me my most recent car didn't address me by anyrhing other than my surname. I confess I have to supress hostility to sales staff who use my first name, because it feels very much as if I'm being played by someone who's been on a course.
    (In medicine, BTW, addressing patients by their first names is very much a no-no, for various reasons.)

    Grant Hutchison
    I agree that this name use is very subtle and requires not just fast thinking but response to body language and other clues. In medicine i have recently had to make contact more than previously and actually on second or third conversation doctors have used first name but politely checked that would be OK. Again if I think about it , it’s surname in the public areas and first name in private, discussing relatively serious stuff.
    The response that irritates me is being called “mate” although i guess it is meant to be cheerful. The Scottish “Pal” is often scary, and “my friend” is creepy from strangers.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  19. #11569
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Apologies if I misunderstood, but I still can't parse it any other way.

    Grant Hutchison
    As an employee, what you would prefer and what is expected of you are often not the same thing.

    The customer assumes they're supposed to call you by the name on your tag, not that you (personally) prefer to be called by the name on your tag.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  20. #11570
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    I've noticed at various medical facilities that all of the employee badges have just the first name on the front. Except for the ones that say "Doctor Smith".
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  21. #11571
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I've noticed at various medical facilities that all of the employee badges have just the first name on the front. Except for the ones that say "Doctor Smith".
    At the engineering company I worked, the badges (which were key cards as well) initially were designed to show first and last name in the same font size. Later, someone got the idea that first names were more important, so the badges were redesigned with the first name in large bold font and the last in much smaller font below it. I kept my old badge and as one of the old-timers, no one successfully challenged me on it.

  22. #11572
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    As an employee, what you would prefer and what is expected of you are often not the same thing.

    The customer assumes they're supposed to call you by the name on your tag, not that you (personally) prefer to be called by the name on your tag.
    Ah, I think I see. But (if I now understand you) it never occurred to me that customers might make a decision based on what they think my employer wants, rather than what they think I want. My sympathies are always with the badge-wearer.

    Grant Hutchison

  23. #11573
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Ah, I think I see. But (if I now understand you) it never occurred to me that customers might make a decision based on what they think my employer wants, rather than what they think I want. My sympathies are always with the badge-wearer.

    Grant Hutchison
    I don't know. If the signage on the door says they open at 8am, I expect the employees will serve me politely and cheerfully at 8, even if they'd prefer not to do so until 9. Not a whole lot of difference between that and this, at least in my opinion.

    I guess I figure your acceptance of working a job that requires you to wear a name tag bearing your first name indicates at the very least an acceptance of being addressed by your first name.

    All that being said, I can't remember the last time I actually used an employee's name in such a situation. If we're already engaged in a conversation, it never seems necessary - if I need to get their attention, it's usually "Sir," Ma'am," or just "Excuse me." Even if just a few minutes ago they said, "Hello, my name is Chad and I'll be your server tonight."
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  24. #11574
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I don't know. If the signage on the door says they open at 8am, I expect the employees will serve me politely and cheerfully at 8, even if they'd prefer not to do so until 9. Not a whole lot of difference between that and this, at least in my opinion.
    Well, I'd say opening the door on time, providing the service and wearing the badge are what I'm paid to do. Beyond that, we get into the realms of interpersonal courtesy, which really shouldn't change with the presence or absence of a badge, on either side of the conversation. If I live in a society in which it's discourteous-to-creepy to address someone by their first name on the basis of no acquaintance, it remains discourteous-to-creepy no matter what their badge says. And most people understand that and conform to social expectations.
    Hereabouts, the times I see it violated are most often from people deliberately asserting power over the badge-wearer, with a minority of "just plain creepy" middle-aged men addressing young women.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Feb-11 at 04:43 PM.

  25. #11575
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, I'd say opening the door on time, providing the service and wearing the badge are what I'm paid to do. Beyond that, we get into the realms of interpersonal courtesy, which really shouldn't change with the presence or absence of a badge, on either side of the conversation.
    But you're not just paid to provide the service, generally. You're paid to provide the service politely and cheerfully. There's a limit, of course, but "interpersonal courtesy," to a certain extent, is part of the job (obviously, this is most true with customer service-type jobs, but it applies to some extent to all jobs in which you interact with other people).

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    If I live in a society in which it's discourteous-to-creepy to address someone by their first name on the basis of no acquaintance, it remains discourteous-to-creepy no matter what their badge says. And most people understand that and conform to social expectations.
    If you live in such a society, it is even more the fault of the employer for requiring such a badge.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Hereabouts, the times I see it violated are most often from people deliberately asserting power over the badge-wearer, with a minority of "just plain creepy" middle-aged men addressing young women.
    Oh, no doubt, there are people who go over the line. I'm not going to defend that.

    But the simple act of addressing you by the name on your ID tag is not, itself, over the line.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  26. #11576
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I've noticed at various medical facilities that all of the employee badges have just the first name on the front. Except for the ones that say "Doctor Smith".
    Saints preserve us. There would be some sort of civil insurrection if that happened anywhere I've worked.
    I've been issued with a variety of badges over the years. My last one came with a photo ID, my first and last names, my job description, and a swipe card that let me barge through doors inaccessible to mere mortals. No mention of the "doctor" thing, and therefore exactly the same as everyone else's, apart from the "access all areas" swipe.
    I had to run it through the confidential shredder the day I left work. The only badge I have retained, for forty years now, is my old medical student badge, which dates back to the days of Dymotape. The Joint Clinical Teaching Unit had reached the end of a roll when they printed my badge, so for three years I wore a badge that read:

    GRANT HUTCHISON
    MEDICAL STUD


    Grant Hutchison

  27. #11577
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    But the simple act of addressing you by the name on your ID tag is not, itself, over the line.
    We must agree to differ. Employers impose dumb requirements on their employees all the time. We all know this, and very few employees are in a position to do much about that. We have a duty to afford people courtesy, even if their employers do not.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Feb-11 at 06:53 PM.

  28. #11578
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    For Heaven's sake, I've worked places where my employer restricted our bathroom use, which I think we can all agree is neither courteous nor medically responsible. ("No, you can't go to the bathroom. We're too busy. Wait an hour.")

    Meanwhile, we are having a series of winter storms dropping more snow on the area than I've seen in decades. We've got at least a foot out there, and it's falling heavily again. This in and of itself doesn't bother me too much--for one, Simon's not feeling well and I'd be keeping him home today regardless. But I have a friend who's working at a ski resort these days, and she's being unbearably smug at the fact that Western Washington has pretty well closed for the storm. Never mind that the cities around here have more hills than any other metropolitan area in the US that routinely gets snow. Never mind that snows like this are rare enough so that we simply don't have the infrastructure. Never mind, even, that friends of mine from places like Chicago and Vermont think we're reacting with exactly the right level of concern. Nope, we're all being silly.
    _____________________________________________
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    "You can't erase icing."

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  29. #11579
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    For Heaven's sake, I've worked places where my employer restricted our bathroom use, which I think we can all agree is neither courteous nor medically responsible. ("No, you can't go to the bathroom. We're too busy. Wait an hour.")

    Meanwhile, we are having a series of winter storms dropping more snow on the area than I've seen in decades. We've got at least a foot out there, and it's falling heavily again. This in and of itself doesn't bother me too much--for one, Simon's not feeling well and I'd be keeping him home today regardless. But I have a friend who's working at a ski resort these days, and she's being unbearably smug at the fact that Western Washington has pretty well closed for the storm. Never mind that the cities around here have more hills than any other metropolitan area in the US that routinely gets snow. Never mind that snows like this are rare enough so that we simply don't have the infrastructure. Never mind, even, that friends of mine from places like Chicago and Vermont think we're reacting with exactly the right level of concern. Nope, we're all being silly.
    It is all about location. 1 cm (0.4 in) of snow in a place like Atlanta is a much bigger problem than 25 cm (10 in) of snow in Cleveland or Buffalo. Though even in Cleveland, that first snow of the winter, drivers act like they've never seen anything quite so amazing, and drive like they've never had to deal with it in their lives.
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  30. #11580
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    For Heaven's sake, I've worked places where my employer restricted our bathroom use, which I think we can all agree is neither courteous nor medically responsible. ("No, you can't go to the bathroom. We're too busy. Wait an hour.")
    Oooh, I worked in one of those. They did shut down the conveyor belt for a ten minute "comfort break" morning and afternoon but, despite the fact almost all the workers were women, they provided the same size of toilet facility for both sexes. There were days when I had a choice of five urinals, while women engaged in life-or-death struggles to get into their own facilities. Amazing.
    I've never worked anywhere where I was contractually obliged to be cheerful, though. The phrase, "The beatings will continue until morale improves" springs to mind.

    Grant Hutchison

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