Blogger
Share this content
0
28
3213

Am I being a grumpy old man

I have just received a follow up e mail address as follows:

Dear ( First Name)

I have never met or spoken to the individual at HMRC . I would have been content with

Dear Mr (Surname)

But this is a step to far. Even worse than callling taxpayers 'customers'

Oh for the good old days with proper Inspectors

Harrumph

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By SteveOH
23rd Jul 2012 14:54

Yes you are, Mr Grumps.

Seriously, though, I think it's a convention that has built up in that emails tend to be a lot more informal than letters.

Nearly all emails that I receive begin with "Hello Steve" or even "Hi Steve" (damn cheek!!). Some don't even mention my name; they just launch into the message itself.

It doesn't particularly bother me but I can see why it bothers grumpy old men (of which I shall be one soon:)).

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 15:02

at leats you are not always referred to as MRS!

This drives me nuts its usually by people who have all my details anyway they just assume every female must be married....so lazy..

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 15:13

I agree with Mr Grumpy, sorry it must be an age thing, but when I started work, all the partners were ALWAYS called Mr so & so...... by ALL staff, the same treatment was given to any staff aged over say 40, you know really old staff !!

Now I'm fast approaching 50 not too sure if I want to be refered to as Mrs ....... by younger colleagues?

But I do get annoyed by letters, email etc Hi Ann, from people I have NEVER met and I don't want to become friends with, gggrrrr

When I was in college, I had to do a qualification in "Business english" how to use correct salutations etc, in the days way before cut & paste, & data bases etc.....grump grump

 

Thanks (1)
By SteveOH
23rd Jul 2012 15:45

@ Miss twosheds (or should that be Ms?)

Funnily enough, I have been referred to as Mrs.

Some idiot, who knew that I was Mr S OH, wrote to me as MRS OH. It was when I was still living with my parents and my dear old mum opened the envelope. Good job there was nothing untoward inside.

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 16:19

And I'm with Steve

Emails just have different conventions.  The only people who address an email as Dear Mr Morrison are usually salemen on the make who don't want to queer their pitch - the same as those people who ring you up at 6.30pm to discuss your mobile phone contract.

Dear Marion, Hi Marion and just Marion are all perfectly acceptable as email intros in a way which just doesn't apply to formal letters.

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 16:27

@Steve

my Mum's initials were DR (Doreen Rose) and she was never able to convince barclays computer that she wasn't a doctor!

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 17:08

.

I am more disturbed that Lexis Nexis thinks my name is Mr Cta.

You would think an organisation dealing regularly with tax professionals would not make such a slip.

S.

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 16:55

I'm Grumpicus!

To my mind, an email sent in the form of a letter should be held to the same standards of grammar.

I will always invite people to call me by my first name (except if they really annoy me) but I find it overfamilar otherwise. 

 

Thanks (0)

.

I reserve the "Dear Mr X" for a a good formal ticking off when the client steps out of line and requires as my assistant calls it "one of my letters". 

For some bizarre reason I have a crazy image in the back of my head that after 10 years in business I would have a stack of standard snotty letters and to be able to say "Miss Jones, please send Mr Pratt letter 27, and insert into para 4 XYZ" while I lean back on a large leather chair and smoke a cigar while Miss Jones reads the letter back and I nod sagely, blowing out a big puff of smoke.  Rather than the reality my scrabbling about in a grump for 2 hours trying to write something that covers us legally, tells the client clearly but carefully "NO" and doesn't lose us the fee unless I want it gone!

I dont even smoke btw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks (1)
23rd Jul 2012 18:11

Overfamiliar sales people

I have an infallible method of spotting psuedo-friendly e-mails.  Euan is not my first name, so whenever I get chummy Hi Roderick communications, they are automatically junked as they obviously do not come from anyone who knows me.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By vince8
23rd Jul 2012 19:22

Old memories

I remember reading a letter held in a permanent file from the 1960's where the Inspector signed it off " I am sir your obedient servant"

Thanks (0)
avatar
23rd Jul 2012 22:29

Title

Many years ago my son signed up for a student subscription with a software company. In the title box he wrote Mr, but missed the box a bit. Ever after they referred to him as Rabbi Andrew

Thanks (0)
avatar
By pawncob
23rd Jul 2012 22:44

Oh Euan

@Euan.

I think you've given the game away.

Thanks (0)
27th Jul 2012 12:06

What about grammar?

Shouldn't it be 'a step too far'?

Thanks (0)
27th Jul 2012 11:41

@Tink

Typo?? I am sure you meant grammar.  ;)

Thanks (1)
avatar
By pennylj
27th Jul 2012 11:58

Certainly

a step too far. 

As a matter of principle (and stubbornness!) we still address HMRC as 'Dear Sirs', or Dear Madam, if we are assigned a female Inspector.  Hmm, but never 'Dear Madams', now why is that?

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Jul 2012 12:15

Plural of madam(s)

The plural of Madam is Mesdames, rather like Messrs is the plural of Mr.  I can't imagine that being used in this day and age though.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By dwgw
27th Jul 2012 12:18

No, I don't think that's overly grumpy.  I was trained to address HMRC as an organisation, with a "for the attention of" if appropriate, so I go with Dear Sir or Dear Madam (I don't use "Sirs" so I'm OK on pennylj's good question).

Email is a more informal medium so I tend to use first names if I've ever met or communicated with someone before (I don't care whether they want me as a friend, that's not the reason I'm writing!).  If they're obviously old school, then I'll use a title - that's sometimes a question of judgment.

The problem of inappropriate email over-familiarity is easily sidestepped.  Just begin with "good morning/afternoon/evening" and no name - I often use that greeting with a first name when I get tired of "Hi/Hello".

Reminds me of the running debate we had at a certain GT office years ago when we finally managed to throw off "Esq" and use "Mr" instead!  My rule of thumb is to use whatever's modern but not ghastly, but I decide what's ghastly!

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
By pawncob
27th Jul 2012 12:20

You spoke tooooooooooo sooooooon

http://www.mesdamesgreenandgraham.com/ 

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Jul 2012 12:31

It's nice to be proved wrong! :0)  'Mesdames' is obviously still alive and well but mostly in France I suspect.

I am as guilty as anyone for starting emails "Hi", followed by a christian name and I much prefer people addressing me by my christian name.  It makes me feel less anonymous. 

I always feel that email is a 'literary chat' and much less formal than letters.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AnnaHG
27th Jul 2012 12:51

It's not Grumpiness, it's having standards!

I like to think I am old enough to have gathered some wisdom, but young enough not to be considered too old, but I have to agree that over familiarity makes my toes curl!

ESPECIALLY from from someone I have never heard of, nor invited to contact me - and very especially if they are trying to sell me something... And it is worse when they call you on the phone and start with "how are you today?" Like they really care! I have been tempted to script a long monologue about how dire my life is and how my husband has just run off with his secretary, my dog died and the house has subsidence etc, just to see how they handle that one! Yep, I'm grumpy!

One of my beefs is people's ineptitude in dealing with hyphenated surnames... I am invariably called Mrs Hxxxx or Mrs Gxxx instead of Mrs H-G ...I married this surname, I did not invent it and am proud to have my husband's name. Worse still are are online and automated systems that reject the hyphenated name as "invalid" !!! But I digress...

I totally concur with dwgw's view and have noted the tactics for side-stepping the issue... Personally, I decide on a case by case basis, dependant on age, seniority, any previous contact and my own yardstick as to how formal I perceive the person to be. I call this approach common courtesy. Something I think that is sadly lacking these days.

Great conversation thread, by the way - especially for us grumpy ones!! ;-)

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Jul 2012 13:05

I agree

I hate it when someone I don't know, usually trying to sell me something, rings me up and calls me by my first name.  I don't mind being called Miss instead of Mrs, but can't stand Ms!  I do get annoyed when I get junk mail addresses to Mr though.

I call all of my elderly clients Mr or Mrs unless they tell me not to.

Thanks (0)
27th Jul 2012 13:37

Arggghhhhh ... sales calls :(

My hubby is a unpaid Director of my company just as a safety precaution in case anything happens to me, but he never works here, and takes no part in the running of the practice.

Most callers ask for him (not me) and it is absolutely gobsmacking how many times they have spoken to him and he promised to buy their goods or services!!!!!!

Thanks (0)
avatar
31st Jul 2012 16:40

Use of Esq

Re: dwgw's comment on the use of Esq - my first husband had a thing about this in that he said it should only be used for sons of knights or baronets.  His view is not supported by Debrett's Correct Form but I could see the logic of his arguement.

Thanks (0)
avatar
31st Jul 2012 16:59

Esquire

Actually it should be the younger son of a knight or baronet - the elder son will inherit the title, the younger son will therefore have no title of his own but will still be regarded a gentleman so requires a distinction from the peasants.

Of course, the Yanks upset the system as usual by using it as an honorific for lawyers.

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
By dwgw
31st Jul 2012 17:03

We should be grateful

Sometimes we need the Yanks (and others) to stop us becoming completely bogged down by our past!  

Thanks (0)
avatar
By sylou
31st Jul 2012 22:49

Do away with titles altogether

I don't like being addressed as Mrs/Miss.  I don't see why women should still be labelled according to whether they are married or not.

I don't see why we can't do away with titles.  Do you really need to know even if someone you're corresponding with is male or female? (unless perhaps you're their doctor!) 

Thanks (1)
avatar
01st Aug 2012 10:20

Esquire

When I joined the Revenue in 1965 Surtax payers were addressed as Esquire while the peasants were simply Mr.

Incidentally there was a rare category of other taxpayers noted as MWLA - married woman living alone!

Thanks (0)