A new survey found that three in ten Brits say are fed up with total strangers treating them like old friends, for example by beginning conversations with “hi” or “how’s it going?”
Thirty per cent of people claim they have grown tired of phone calls and emails from cold callers, bank employees and other service staff which refer to them by their first name.
Half of all people questioned said they would rather complete strangers used a more appropriate form of address such “Mr”, “Miss” or “Mrs” when conducting their business.
This is a big deal to me. Having someone who is selling a product or service call me “Jeremy” comes across as completely unprofessional and disrespectful. I have on occasion completely stopped doing business with such “friendly” establishments. Even in giving my name while waiting for a table at a restaurant, I would prefer to hear “Blevins” butchered in various and sundry ways than to hear “Jeremy, party of X” called for. If I am paying for something, I expect to be shown a bit of respect. Again, from the article:
“Often these are people who are trying to sell you something and who have no other interest in you yet they treat you like a long lost pal. Jeeves was a well brought up butler, he would never had dreamt of saying to Wooster ‘Hiya Bertie, how’s it hanging?'”
Older people were most likely to be in favour of returning to traditional titles, with 62 per cent saying they would like to be called Mr, Mr or Miss when contacted by a stranger.
Welsh respondents were the most traditional, with 38 per cent saying they were exasperated with modern informality, while Scots were most accepting of the modern trend with only 21 per cent saying it irked them.
The results are hardly likely to dispel the popular international image that Britain is a nation of stuck-up bores.
Maybe that stereotype isn’t such a bad thing.