Abusing first names
On Friday, March 24, 2017 I received this E-mail, purportedly from an accounting firm in my hometown:
Please find the attached T1013 form (Authorizing a Representative) which allows us access to the CRA website.
If you could sign and send this back to me at your earliest convenience, that would be greatly appreciated as we are in the process of completing your personal tax return.
I am used to receiving and automatically deleting dozens of junk, spam or phishing E-mails every day, and that is what I thought this was. I was this close (imagine my fingertips) to deleting the message, but I stopped when I saw the postal address at the bottom of it. The name of the firm and the postal address looked legit.
After confirming the message’s legitimacy with my family I replied to it myself with this short note:
I am used to receiving and automatically deleting dozens of spam, junk and phishing emails every day, which is what I thought this was. Only the postal address at the bottom stayed my hand long enough for me to confirm it with my family.
Addressing strangers by their first names is not courteous, friendly, or good business. It’s just rude. On top of which I don’t know what it pertains to, making the addition of an attachment and a request for my signature extremely suspicious.
But I could be wrong.
Some might say that my reply to Megan was rude, and that I simply ought not to have answered her. But I disagree. I think my response was polite and succinct. Furthermore, my motive was brotherly loving kindness. This contemporary common practice of addressing everyone by their first names is rude more than courteous or democratic, and people who do it (an awful lot of people these days) need to be educated. I meant to teach her so on the supposition that she doesn’t know it and needs a friendly teacher - like me. If the goal is to alienate me, then inappropriately calling me by my first name is an easy way to do it. Being friendly is a matter of common courtesy, but people tend to stretch friendliness too far. Being friendly does not make you a friend. Courtesy and friendship are two very different things. Megan is nether my friend nor a family member, and therefore a higher level of decorum between us is appropriate.
Of course, times change and there is merit to the argument that a person ought to keep up with the times. But ...
This contemporary common practice of addressing everyone by their first names is rude more than courteous or democratic.