Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Am I the only one that hates to be called sweetie? I don’t mean grandma's “sweetie bring me my slippers”. Or the "hi sweetie" from a friend". I mean, the “sweetie” that comes with a condescending tone…there is an implied…”you moron” that follows. It drips with pity that you should be so unfortunate and …. simple”.

Several months back, I received a “sweetie” from someone who I believe to be an equal though her tone told me unmistakably she felt I was FAR below her station”. The “sweetie” told me that I just didn’t have the brains to figure this one out without her help.

Today, the “sweetie” came from a girl in a local shop. I went to buy supplies for a craft project. I chose not to go to Michael’s for this because the products they carry of this type have been poor quality. When I talked to this girl, I presumed I could get benefit of her knowledge of the products she sells. When I mentioned what I had been using, I got the first “oh sweetie…….” “What an utter and complete incompetent must I be to even THINK of using THAT” her tone said. We chatted a little more as she packaged up the items I bought - $20 worth that fit into a bag the size of my iPod. As I asked another question about another part of the process….again I get “oh sweetie.....” that just faded off. This is a girl the age of my daughter speaking to me, a customer, with such a demeaning, condescending tone. Not unkindly, mind you. Sweet and kind, like you might speak to a poor stupid animal. She could have easily said, “hmmm, I hadn’t thought of doing it THAT way…this is the way I do it….I’ve always had luck doing it this way”. I would have been thrilled to have a helpful suggestion from someone who knows what they are doing. But she didn't. And I left confident that my ignorance would be discussed among the employees at a later date.

The thing is, this is a locally owned shop and there are several others just like it. I chose this shop today but likely won’t do it again. I will go into another locally-owned similar businesses where I have been treated politely in the past and received help when I asked.

Here’s my suggestion. If you are a business-owner in Eureka and you have an employee that calls you “sweetie”, listen carefully to the tone. She may be saying it to you in a respectful tone but…does she use a different tone with customers? If so, you might ask her to stop. For the sake of your business.

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