Ok, I'm going to cut right to the chase with this - is calling someone ma'am offensive?!
I must share the following conversation with a woman (she was about 55 or so) giving me my flu shot/cholesterol screening the other day (she wasn't a doctor, so no formal title like Dr. ____):
lady: have you drank plenty of liquids today
me: yes ma'am (said very politely)
lady: (taking off her glasses to stare me down) my name isn't ma'am (said rudely)
lady: my name is Janet, what's your name? (still rude)
lady: are you from around here?
me: yes, Seattle
lady: why did you call me ma'am? (accusing tone)
me: um, my mom taught me to use ma'am and sir if I don't know someone
lady: would you have called me ma'am if I was your age? (more accusing tone)
me: um I don't know
So the conversation kept going and she basically shamed me for calling her ma'am! Nick thinks she has some sort of age issue because she later said to me "well your number look great, but then again you are 28 so they should be good - I'm sure in 20 years you'll find a way to screw it up." Wow - rude!!
But seriously guys, what is up with that?! My mom (who yes, is from the south) taught me that you address people "yes ma'am" and "no sir" and that is what I have been doing for the past 20+ years, and I've never had anyone be so rude to me in response! I am thinking it was totally an ageism thing, but in my defense - she was about 30 years older than me! Has this ever happened to anyone before?
This was part of a free "living well" clinic at our place of work and Nick thinks I should complain about her in a survey we got, but honestly I don't want to get anyone in trouble. I won't stoop to her mean level!
But in nice people news - I got on a full bus yesterday and a really nice man offered me his seat! And guess what I said back " oh that's so kind of you, I'm fine standing but thank you sir." Apparently no everyone is offended by ma'am and sir! :)