Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mrs Misses

I had two calls tonight from utility companies. The first was a mistake as it was a service I don't use. It went like this:

"Can I speak to the person in the household that pays the XXXX bill."
"I don't pay that bill."
"Can I speak to your husband then?"
"I don't pay that bill. A bill from that company doesn't come to this address."
"So who pays that bill."
"Nobody, I am not one of you customers."

The second was a company trying to tell me something unnecessary about a minor change in their terms of service, it went like this.

"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"Yes, okay."
"So is this Mrs XXX."
"Actually Dr. XXX"
"Dr. XXX?"
[silent pause]
"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"So I gather."

Seriously. Is this still the type of script phone staff are being given? Out-dated much?


Clyde Durgin said...

Etiquette lesson #004: When having a conversation with someone, automatically assuming that they are married is about as bad as automatically assuming that they are pregnant. You just don't do it. EVER.

Although, it could be worse. My sister's name is also a male's name, so a lot of the time people don't even get her gender correct, let alone her marriage status.

David Tulloch said...

It's a numbers game. That and there are people out there who get offended if you DON'T assume they are married in a 'traditional' way. The sad truth is that single, intelligent women with doctorates, a sense of social justice, and a blog are just not a large enough group for these companies to worry about.

My wife has a 'male sounding' name as well ... so often I get to be her when talking to tele-annoyances. It saves time.

Emily Veinglory: said...

"Ms" means never having to make assumptions ;)

Clyde Durgin said...

On the nose, Emily. That's exactly why we have Ms. as a modifier in the first place.