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by Abigail Van Buren

Chauffeur Feels Slighted When Clients Use His First Name

DEAR ABBY: I was recently hired as a chauffeur in New York City. There was never any mention of how people should address me.

We are given information about the client we will be meeting. Some clients prefer not to be addressed as "Sir" or "Ms. X." I was told to always address my passenger using formal introductions such as "Good morning, Ms. X," unless otherwise instructed. I have noticed that all of my clients address me by my first name (the name given to them by dispatch).

I find it odd that it appears to be acceptable for the client to be informal with me, but I must be formal with them. Is this common? Should I ask the front office to give only my surname? -- INFORMAL IN NEW YORK

DEAR INFORMAL: It is very common. However, since it bothers you to be addressed by your first name, by all means ask the dispatcher to inform the clients that "Mr. Jones" will be their driver that day.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School