Customers held dear
Dear Ms. Caron ... Oh dear, I said it again.
I am a server and I am not 16. In fact, I am rapidly approaching 40. I have been in this industry most of my life in one form or another. I must admit that I am fascinated by your letter (Jan. 11 Western News).
Aside from my initial reaction, which was: “With all the trouble in our world how could you pick this subject, which you clearly put much thought into, to take the time and effort into writing the local paper with the hope that you can enlighten a child who is doing their best.” They are serving you and earning their keep. A far cry from hanging on a street corner, where I imagine you expect them to be in their off time. However, I can only speak from my own experience.
I have faced backlash for using the term Ma’am. To some women it represents a reminder of their age. To others there can be a connotation that comes with that term relating to prostitution, trust me when I tell you that neither is appreciated.
After being in this city my whole life I have learned many things. For me, this is not just a job, this is my livelihood. This enables me to continue to stay in our fair city, to raise my children and not have to move away to find employment elsewhere.
It takes a village to raise a child and mine is here. We live in a tourist area and much of the service industry income is generated by those dollars. While this means a boon to all in the summer, the winters are long and we rely heavily on our residents to help our local economy and maintain jobs for all our employees during the other nine months of the year. Believe me when I tell you that you are dear to me. It is through you and those like you that I can continue to earn a living, support my family and our community.
It is my hope that you will accept this letter for its intent, to show that when someone addresses you as “Dear” it is not meant with any offence.
In our position it can be difficult to know how to address someone. We never want to assume whether you are married or not, whether you have attained the acceptable age to be referred to as Ma’am, or whether the term Madam will anger you. I am sorry if I refer to you as “My Dear” (and I do plan to continue this abhorrent practice) but if you are choosing to spend your hard-earned money within our establishment then it does make you dear to me.