Life Advice



Caller Is Shocked -- Shocked! -- By Polite Phone Greeting

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I phone businesses, sometimes the person answering will say, To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking? This salutation has occurred frequently enough that it appears to be a common business practice, and that a whole generation of associates have been trained to use it.

To date, I have answered, I think you are asking for my name. My name is Daisy Dingle.

On one occasion, I allowed my frustration to become evident by answering, This is not an appropriate way for you to address me. This is not a social call; this is a business call. My name is Daisy Dingle.

I will say I was treated rather frostily, although efficiently, after saying this. What is the best way to respond to this salutation?

GENTLE READER: Whatever trends come and go, it will always be rude to snap back at people who are only trying to be polite. Who is calling, please? might be more businesslike, but Miss Manners is pleased to see that the longer version includes the word whom. It's been a long time.

The best way to respond? Daisy Dingle from the Rankal Company. May I please speak to Mr. Hinkle?


DEAR MISS MANNERS: Are you ever tempted to comment on the general rudeness of the comments your readers post about these letters and your responses?


DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some years ago, for several months, I worked for a business owned by an older married couple. They were nice people, but rather straight-laced, prim and proper.

One day the husband was hashing over some things with me, and he said that his wife would prefer that I not eat an apple when she is talking to me. She had said, according to him, It's rude; he shouldn't do it.


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