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Sunny2's avatar

Do you remember when you were first addressed as sir or ma'am?

Asked by Sunny2 (18758points) September 23rd, 2011

I was startled the first time someone (I think a salesperson) called me ma’am. I was about 27. It made me feel like an adult rather than a young person. Do you remember?

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21 Answers

fizzbanger's avatar

When I moved to the South… a little disconcerting when you’re 14 and people call you “ma’am” or “little lady” (and complete strangers calling you “sweetie” or “honey” or any other kind of pet name).

FutureMemory's avatar

When I was 15 I got a Po Box because I wanted to start pen-palling (this was 1988, before the internet – no chiming in from smart asses saying that it technically did exist – those of us old enough remember full well when it became mainstream [‘94–95]), and one of the tellers there always called me “Mr” and “Sir”. He was at least 60..always found it very strange.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No but this is a real confusion with so many people I know. I’ve always addressed my higher ups and customers in any job as ma’am or sir out of respect, nothing to do with age but find most people think you’re giving them a title of an “old person”. I try to not do it as often these days but it’s a hard habit to break.

rebbel's avatar

Can’t really remember it, but I can remember this sweet ad.

“Can you remember it all?”
“Go, have a try!”
“Good afternoon, may I help you?”_
“Big Mac, Hamburger, Nugge Chick for my lil’ sis, and fries…”
“And what is sir eating himself?”
“Sir??? Sir wants a Cheeseburger!”
“And, how did it go?”
“She called me Sir!”

Seek's avatar

I moved south of the Mason-Dixon line when I was eight. I probably didn’t make it out of the airport before getting a “Yes, Ma’am” out of someone. It’s just a generic phrase to most people.

Lightlyseared's avatar

When I withdrew half a million pounds in cash from a bank in Grosvenor Square at the age of 19.

Incidently it wan’t my money

ucme's avatar

Yes I do, I was 7yrs old indulging in a spot of role play with my best friend. He was the shopkeeper & I was his customer. I insisted he call me sir, as in “can I help you with anything sir?” Quite the demanding little bugger so I was.

zensky's avatar

Not the first time, per se, but yes – it makes one feel old.

Haleth's avatar

No, but the other day at work a man in a suit kept calling me ma’am while I was helping him. I was taking in a shipment and looked like a disheveled mess- wine crates are heavy! Either he was a real gentleman or a sarcastic dick- it was hard to tell from the tone of voice.

dubsrayboo's avatar

I was a senior in high school and a freshman rounded a corner at full run and slammed into me. Of course my books went everywhere. He started helping me pick up my stuff saying “Sorry Ma’am.” then continued on his way. All I could think was “Ma’am?!”

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t remember the first time, but I do remember when I started hearing it all the time—about 7 or 8 years ago it started. When I started working on a university campus. Plus I get called “Dr.” which I ain’t.

DominicX's avatar

The first time I remember was in a store by myself when I was 11, the cashier called me “sir”. It made me feel grown up especially since it was one of the first times I bought something on my own.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I do. It made me feel old.

downtide's avatar

Sir and ma’am aren’t used as much in the UK as they are in the US, I think (except among the retired generation). Over here it’s “mate” and “luv”.

Hibernate's avatar

Yes. I was with the theater rehearsing for a show. And a really small kid [age 3 or 4] came to me and just said it. I felt so old.

@downtide when I was there I heard a lot of lad/gal too ^^

ratboy's avatar

Still waiting.

iphigeneia's avatar

I address customers all the time as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. I can’t remember if anyone has called me ma’am, though. Given how many people have tried to sell me stuff, someone probably has, just the word doesn’t stand out in my mind.

@rebbel I want to cry, that ad is so cute.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I honestly don’t remember the first time someone addressed me as “sir”. Sorry. If it comes back to me, I’ll return here and update my answer to this question.

I was first addressed as “Sergeant” when I was promoted to Staff Sergeant in the Air Force in 1999 although that has no bearing on this question at all.

filmfann's avatar

My Dad called me Sir in my twenties. He called everyone that, out of politeness and respect.

Sunny2's avatar

@ratboy Well, sir, I hope you don’t have to wait any longer than is appropriate!


The very first time was when a little kid on his bike on his way to school use to address me as “Mr. Shiny Shoes”. That’s where I got my nickname from. He called me “Sir” too. Almost every morning when I was walking to my car on my way to work. The story is in my profile——

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