Calling people by the name on their name tag. Do you do it?

OK. We hijacked another thread regarding whether or not it’s rude to call people by their first name, without introductions, if all you have to go by is the first name printed on their name tag. These can be grocery store workers, or hospital workers or librarians: anyone with a name tag.

Poll coming.

If a clerk is wearing a name tag with their first name I will assume that I am supposed to refer to them by that name.

My thoughts exactly.

When I worked as a bank teller, wearing a name badge was required and formed part of the monthly ‘mystery shopper’ score, so everyone wore name badges. For the first six months, I wore someone else’s name badge because they were so slack at ordering new ones.

To me, the only purpose of the name badge is for the customer to be able to refer to the person in the context of a compliment or complaint.

I wore a nametag in my previous job and it made me uncomfortable if someone called me by my name without my having introduced myself first. It has nothing to do with a dislike of being called by my first name in a professional setting. If I introduced myself as Pyper, and thereafter the client called me Pyper, I had no problem with it. It was only if some stranger came up to me and addressed me by my name that it was startling and weird. It’s an unasked for intimacy.

I think of it like how phone CSRs will purposely try to use your name several times, like that’s going to make you feel all special or something. Or the kind of customer that’s pushy and presumptuous. Either way, annoying.

Well, that was my position in the other thread too. “Thanks Mary!.”

I introduce myself first. Calling somebody by their name without an introduction just feels weird to me. Even if I see the nametag, I’ll say “Hi, I’m Pete” and let them introduce themselves.

Flight attendants identify themselves by first names in the pre flight intro. Waitstaff often introduce themselves by name. Blackjack dealers have name tags, and–as mentioned here-- retail clerks. I don’t think I’ve ever had occasion to actually address any of these people by their name. I’ve heard other people do it in my presence (mostly with blackjack dealers), it doesn’t seem obnoxious.

I used to wear a name tag which as handwritten, I’d change the name on it everyday. It was our way of having fun in the record store. That’s where I ended up with the nickname jools.

There were times though when I was kinda rude, as a client would address me by name and if I was not looking at them I wouldn’t answer because it’s not my name that was being called!

I have worn a name tag, for a few jobs, whenever management would decree. Mostly the staff, who always hated it would simply switch up tags by trading. I was always taken off guard by people calling me by name!

I always thought it was so customers could correctly identify a staff person if there was a compliment or complaint. Not so they could call me by name. I wasn’t offended or anything, but it never felt right to me, or comfortable.

Usually the management would drop the decree, after having to replace numerous ‘lost’ name tags. Easily misplaced, or forgotten, and costs $ to replace, caused the demise of this everywhere I encountered it.

No. I don’t want to be their friend; I just want to buy something. The name tag is there in case you have either kudos or a complaint about the employee.

Pretty much this. The rules of society state that you don’t address someone by their first name unless you’ve been properly introduced. The fact that corporate overlords might force their subjects to wear nametags doesn’t negate societal rules.

Furthermore, it’s almost a trope that bullies will refer to people by the name on their tag while making fun of them. When I was wearing a nametag way back when, I always cringed whenever some stranger called be my name. It always felt condescending. After all, they could call me “steronz” but I had to call them “sir” or “ma’am.” Information imbalance and whatnot.

In 10+ years behind a nametag, all first-namers were either:

  1. Overly friendly harmless little kids and old folks
  2. Assholes

Douchy fratboys, house harridans looking for free pizza, over priveliged middle school snots, drunks who think they’re funny, middle-manager types accustomed to denigrating their underlings; no one between the age of 10 and 70 ever used my first name without putting some kind of jerkish spin on it.

Regular customers who introduced themselves by first name are exempt from my temporally distant opprobrium.

I posted in the other thread, but I neither like being called by my first name by strangers nor like calling strangers by their first name. In fact, I endeavor to lose my nametag whenever possible. It looks stupid and unprofessional, especially when I am assisting with a really dressy event and have a suit on and have to wear a stupid dangly nametag.

If I know someone’s first name I’ll use it. I’ve never understood the big deal about that. And there are a lot of people who only know me by first name, common as it is. If someone asks me to call them Mr. This or Ms. That, I’ll do so.

I am required to wear a nametag, and I dislike it, but it’s not a huge thing for me. I will say that nametags are generally considered appropriate in the field I’m in, and I give credit to the execs here - everybody wears one, not just the peons. So I am willing to acknowledge that, in this instance, it’s mostly just me.

However, a lot of that is because I don’t generally deal with the public, so I don’t have to worry about some random crazy getting my name off the nametag. I seem to recall that they don’t require our public-facing staff to use their last names, but I could be wrong about that. If I were working one of those jobs, we’d be discussing willful endangerment if they were handing out my full name to anyone walking through.

But I do seem to notice that most of the people in both threads saying “it’s no big deal, you shouldn’t have a problem with it” don’t have to wear nametags. Huh, imagine that.

Yep, that’s my take on the situation as well.

I agree that the name tag is there so that you can complain/compliment an employee. It is not an invitation for you to call the employee by name.

That being said, it is a minor thing and I can certainly see where someone who has never been forced to wear a name tag would see it as an invitation for the greater than otherwise possible intimacy.

I wonder how many people that call service people by name due to the name tag are equally comfortable with the service person using the name that they glimpse on a credit card or get during the sales interaction to address them?

Very rarely, but I’m sure I’ve done it. It often sounds overly phony.