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Archive for February, 2012

One of the joys of my current work is that once a week I work a night shift (or evening shift depending on your definition).   While there are some benefits (the sleep in is amazing) you do tend to get more ‘interesting’ characters at night.  The other evening a client was waiting at the desk.  As I approached and gave my traditional “Hi, can I help you” he greeted me with an airy “Hi Darling”.  Instantly his hair doubled it’s greasiness (it was already pretty greasy)  and my skin crawled.  My impression of him was not improved as he proceeded to cough and sneeze all over the form he needed to fill out.  After picking up the form by the corner and depositing it in the correct folder and wiping the pen down I wondered about my reaction.  I do not find the term ‘darling’ repulsive, quite the contrary I use it as a term of endearment to my friends nor was his tone skeezy, it was in fact rather offhand.  Nor was he particularly creepy looking, he was in his 20’s – 30’s and while not attractive he probably hasn’t broken any mirrors by looking into them.  What disturbed me was the use of a term of endearment to a total stranger in the context of a professional relationship.   The overstepping of this boundary from a professional one into a personal one is profoundly unsettling.  While I’m sure he had no intention to make me uncomfortable and it was not a sexual advance it did make me uncomfortable to the point that when I saw him a few days later I instinctively avoided making eye-contact with him as I passed.  The moral of the story, avoid terms of endearment to total strangers in a service environment.

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