Customer Service and Pet Names

I work in the corporate, customer service industry.

Recently, I’ve noticed an increase in male customers and non-customers using pet names during business interactions.

Sweetie, it’s disgusting. And disrespectful. And inappropriate. Are you my boyfriend? No. So stop it.

Nothing puts me off more or makes me feel like a scam is heading my way like someone who starts off an interaction by using Sweetie, Baby, Hon, Young Lady to address me and then uses said names 17 times during a two-minute transaction.

I don’t know anyone who likes it. I don’t. My co-workers don’t. People who work for tips don’t. They might act like they do, but I can guarantee they don’t.

It feels smarmy.

Do you read body language? Do you see my expression when I hear that crap? I’m not smiling. AT ALL. Or making eye contact. Or small talk.

Use my name. It’s on my name tag and my business cards right in front of you. It will seem excessive to say my name 17 times in two minutes of a simple exchange, and it will be 70 times better than hearing Sweetie, Baby, Hon, Young Lady at all! No name would also work, especially if we don’t know each other.

Since I can’t do anything right now to change or improve this situation, I’ve listed my approaches for future reference:

  1. Accept that some people use pet names. Don’t sweat it. Life is short. These people go away. Read this: and let go.
  2. Address people who use pet names with the pet names they call me. Throw it back in their face. Yeah! This could be fun!
  3. Smile and politely point to my name tag, correcting people to use my name.
  4. Get a job outside the customer service realm. I REALLY like this one!

I’ll try out these out and report back on my results. In the meantime, if you have any other suggestions or can sympathize, leave a comment. I’d love to read it!

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He’s a Keeper

Conversation from Sunday went like this:

Son: Thanks for making me clean my room today.
Me: What?
Son: Thanks for making me clean my room. It really needed it!
Me: Uhhh, you’re welcome!

For the record, I didn’t make him do it. I said it needed to get done. Then he picked the time he wanted to do it. He chose Sunday before lunch.

“How are you going to remember to get it done?” I asked. He has a tendency of not fulfilling agreements.

“I’m going to write it down,” he said.

He wrote it down and stuck his note on the wall next to his place at the dining room table. Sunday morning, he got it done. I had to help with the time keeping by using ten-minute intervals to attack chunks of his room at a time, but he did it!

I don’t know that I’ll ever hear him express gratitude over cleaning his room again. No guarantees in life, right? I hope I hear it again, or that he just keeps his room tidier. He’ll be a teenager before I know it, and who knows what I’ll hear then!

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Rafting Down the River or Not

For the first time since my move last April, I got asked out. I knew it would happen eventually whether during my commute or at work or at the book store. It happened at work. He asked if I’d like to go to a hockey game with him sometime. I didn’t have the right words, so, “I’m good right now, but thank you,” spilled out.

I did not blush.

I did not hesitate.

I did not give an ambiguous answer.

I did not go against myself like I usually do and accept while knowing I’m not ready.

Score one for me!

I cannot describe how odd yet right it feels to have declined this offer. I have gone over different scenarios in my mind every night for the last week. I still have to see this person regularly, so it feels a little awkward right now. I would like to say, “I’m not ready to date right now, but thank you all the same.” It might explain my answer better, though I know I owe him no explanation. I know I have no obligation to accept a request for a date either.  From anybody.  I’m proud of myself for giving a straight answer and for staying true to what I need.

In the past, when I renewed my relationship with the gut-piercer, we put things in a not-committed, monogamous status. It made it hard for me to give straight answers when I got asked out because I didn’t have a boyfriend, per se, so I’d say, “Yeah, that would be fun.” I wouldn’t call or schedule whatever activity had been suggested, from rafting to skiing. I would just leave it in the air, suggested, ambiguous, not fully declined yet not fully accepted, which is kind of a shitty way to leave things. It made it especially difficult when the invitation included Little Guy and would expose him to an activity I knew he wanted to try, and the person would use that angle. I didn’t want to deny Little Guy the experience. I wanted him to experience it! With not the person who asked. That part wasn’t right, so I didn’t call. Or ever explain myself. Or ever fully decline and let the guy move on without thinking he had a chance of floating down the river with me or my son. They would have to figure it out for themselves and think what they thought. Ugh.

This time I did it right. For me. Right for me. It feels weird because I’m taking a different approach. It feels great because I need this time for myself.

And it might be best to accept an invitation for a date at a time when I’m not sleeping on the bottom bunk in my son’s room. That’s a whole other story for another day.

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The First One

I fell in love the first time in May 1995 to the best, most splendid boyfriend I have ever, ever had. We both had a knack for foreign languages, loved reading, politics, working out together, drinking strong coffee and eating really good food. He was tall and had eyes just like mine, a great nose and pearly whites, great hygiene, and a European sense of style. We wrote love letters to each other in French. I danced. He applauded. He painted. I sat still. We loved each other. I loved him unlike anyone else I have ever loved. Our relationship could have inspired books, movies, paintings, and scores of orchestral music.

Every person I have dated, I have compared to my first love. It’s not fair, just true. I have never dated anyone since him that measured up to that relationship. That makes me so sad because I deserve to have a relationship like that again. We all do. I want a relationship like that first one.

I remember I had a friend once read my palm. She had come over for my birthday. It was after my first love and I had broken up, and I was dating someone else. She told me the next one I dated would be the one I would marry and stay with for the rest of my life. I said, “No, that was the last one.” The one I had dated, my first love, I believed I should have married him. A part of me still believes this. Writing this has made me feel light-headed.

I didn’t realize when I broke his heart that people stay together and work through issues to become stronger and more solid. Not everything is black and white. It is possible to meet in the middle, understand each other better. I was young and hadn’t learned this yet. Part of me feels really strong for telling him I couldn’t be with him anymore. Part of me feels like a complete and total moron for ever letting him go. I did. I let him go after two years together. I have felt off-track in my relationships ever since.

He was the first one to tell me that if I were older, he would marry me right then and there. He told me this as he drove us down the highway in his gray, two-door, Chevy Blazer. I burst into tears, happy, overwhelmed tears, when he said it. I cursed at our age difference. When this last one told me the same thing, minus the age part, I had the same reaction. I am glad the last one ended. No doubt about that. It reminded me of that time my first love said it to me, not that marriage is the point of dating. That verbal expression of wanting to commit to another for life can stick with a person, for good reason; it’s a pretty big deal.

Maybe that factors into why my first love has become the measuring stick. Maybe I haven’t really moved on. He still shows up in my dreams every now and then. I have always missed him. I ripped my own heart raw in 1997. I imagine I did the same to his, for which I have apologized in the last couple of years and to which he never replied. I didn’t need one, nor did I send the apology to receive acknowledgement. I sent it for me. When the last big breakup happened in May 2013, that’s when I understood that getting your heart broken that bad really sucks! A lot! I felt like I owed my first love an apology. Times infinity!!!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for having had the first person I fell in love with be the best person I ever fell in love with, and that he and I are currently friends, not close friends, but on speaking terms. I’m grateful to have felt love like he gave me, and to have loved him back as much I did. I hope I don’t have to kiss too many more frogs before I meet someone who finally measures up.

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Processing through dreams

Two nights ago, I dreamed that the last guy I dated and I got married. No, that we were at our wedding. We had a venue full of people, way more than I’d prefer, flowers, fancy clothes, groomsmen and bridesmaids, the whole deal. Yes, this is something we had talked about in real life, and yes, that’s scary.

Anyway, a room full of people awaited us, and the makeup artist had spent an hour on him! He needed a lot of undereye concealer in the dream. When the artist had finished with him, I stopped her and asked her if she would please put my makeup on. She said, “I don’t see why. You’re going to say no anyway.”

I talked her into a little eyeshadow and wondered what the hell we were all doing at our wedding when they all knew I was going to say no. She smeared a purple stick of color along my eyelashes and sent me on my way.

I went to the large room with green carpet, wooden bench rows with green velour cushions, white tulle scalloped along them with pink and white flowers intertwined in it, and walked down the aisle to say “no.”

End scene.

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The Dating Pool

I remembered the last time I was single. It was not college. It was after the gut-piercing breakup two and half years ago. I jumped in the dating pool too soon after that (a month or two) and dated someone really not right for me for maybe six weeks. He had initially asked me out around the same time that the gut-piercer did, but I ignored it. I must have given off a single-gal pheromone when he tried the second time, and I had an impulsive moment and agreed to lunch after emailing him a critique of his website. After a few weeks of him pushing his timeline on me, I was done. Also, I still wasn’t over my ex-boyfriend, nor was he over me, and we started dating again without being “together.” I learned (again) to not reunite with your ex. It works out for some people. Not for me.

I’m glad I remembered that I had felt not ready to date. It served as a good reminder to take my time before I dip my toes in the water.

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A Year Ago

A year ago, I committed to making changes in my life that would open me up to more opportunities. I committed to pursuing a big move. The first of the year, I interviewed for a transfer within my company. I started running again on a schedule. I needed the time to think about what I had set in motion, and running helps my thought process.

A year later, I have changed everything I intended to change. It has brought opportunities for Little Guy to get a better education, and Target is only a couple of miles away, rather than 20, and I can pick from multiple Targets. We can go to the zoo or Costco without it being an all-day trek. I did it. We did it. What will I make come to fruition in 2016? I look forward to finding out!

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