Jump to content

Customer service pronouns


Recommended Posts

So I was thinking in this topic for a while, but my thoughts weren't that strong until now. When working in customer service I address people initially as: "welcome/ good morning/ good afternoon/ Hello, may I take your order?". Simple and without pronouns, just because I don't want to misgender by accident anyone. 

(Brief rant)

However, some people don't seem to like it, I've had customers who take a bit of offense if I do not address them as sir. Doesn't happen almost at all with female presenting persons, and is usually 50+ age people who take the slight. Idk if its because I look young but it is only me who gets this problem, or maybe is because I decide to not gender them.

(End of rant)

The other employees, use a gendered language, they use sir/ ma'am/ lady/ gentlemen but above all, the next two sparks somehing in me, love and dear. "Hello dear; What do you want love?". They use it with anyone and the clients don't object at all. Granted, the majority are directed at females, but there have been occasions that it has been a male presenting client and still they do not object.

I consider it first an above the line greeting or situation. I am not your love, I am not your dear. I do not know you enough for you to refer to me as any of those two words. I dislike the way people assume that you can be sweet with anyone in that aspect. Both as client or employee I do not like it when I hear it. I wish I could get the confidence to stop them and say something along the lines of: "Do not call me like that, I am not your love/dear; You are assuming I am someone special to you, which I am not, refer to me as my name". But the introverted me don't want to cause a scene and if I am the employee who hears it, how can I say to my coworker that they are being kinda sexist for assuming the gender of the client or they are going beyond boundaries by calling someone dear/love?

I have seen it happen so much, that I am amazed people see it as normal when it should not be. Do not give yourself rights over someone else, no matter how minor they seem. Because that client may be trans, that client may be non-binary, that client may want to pass, that client may be with friends and then if referred by an incorrect pronoun, may be made fun of by their friends, maybe as teasing maybe not. But is a gamble I don't want to take. Its a small thing, but is something that for me, makes a lot of impact.

Tell me your opinions on the matter, if you thought about it, if you have done it before, your experiences (cuz idk if im the weird one and am an outlier in this topic)


It is using romantic coded words (love/dear) toward strangers. It is going there. I am uncomfy by it. I think that I can make someone uncomfy by putting them on the spot. By giving way to a relationship that will never exist. Because if I say hello love, may I take your order. I am opening a door toward that person saying yes please. And then that client may ask me for my number and my aro ass will say thank you have a nice day instead of a "uh?" Or an im aroace I don't do that. I just don't want to put anyone on the spot not be on it when I am working.

Edited by Blake
Forgot to add a paragraph
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I have eaten at a lot of restaurants, and fancy places, and the everyday flos dinner type place. 

Especially at more expensive places, employees refer to customers as sir/maam. But I have never heard employees say what would you like love/dear!?!

Nope, I cant remember ever hearing that before. I would imagine allo people feel awkward when called dear by a complete stranger.

Its strange that the customers dont bat an eye. Hmmm...

Maybe the customers see the words as slightly weird but dont want to make a scene over it. They just want to order and eat.

Anyway I think your doing a great job by using non-gendered language Blake. I also think it sounds more professional that way...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the fancy restaurants is almost non-existent, but on restaurants like Chili's or fast foods, is the ones I know has happened. I worked at a fast food for quite some time and I heard it a lot daily. 

^^ and yes I try to be professional always, idk the background of a person so I play it safe whenever I can.

10 hours ago, alto said:

I only call my nephew sweetheart, darling, lovey, anything like that.  I don't even try to cut that shit on anyone else.  I would never dream of doing it in a professional context.

In my case, I refer to my family with their titles (mom/dad/aunt/etc) if they are older than me or by only names if they younger than me. That is how I was teached so I never questioned it. For strangers, it seems so strange that you are taking assumptions that just aren't yours to take. Glad I am not the only one that thinks those words are weird for strangers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, alto said:

I only call my nephew sweetheart, darling, lovey, anything like that.  I don't even try to cut that shit on anyone else.  I would never dream of doing it in a professional context.

I should clarify, I only call my second nephew that.  My first nephew would probably give me a really weird look if I called him anything remotely endearing.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

i live in the southern USA,
where calling people hun/dear/sweetheart/honey is fairly commonplace. not so much in my particular workplace, since we have less of the typical southern-accented crowd. but I've gotten so used to it that i hardly bat an eye anymore. i don't like to use them myself, though. i basically never use any sort of honorific, and thankfully that's never gotten me in trouble before. 'guys' seems to work just fine.


it's the sirs/ma'ams that bother me, although perhaps that's more because of my gender identity. i don't particularly like either of them — it feels far too for formal. then again, it is a more expensive store. we tend to get a bit more of the fancier crowd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...