DEAR ABBY: While standing in a checkout line yesterday, I witnessed a cashier speak to the older woman in front of me in a condescending manner. She kept calling her "Sweetie" and talking to her as if she were a 3-year-old. The woman was obviously offended, but said nothing.
I experienced this kind of behavior often when my mother was alive. Receptionists, waitresses, store clerks and others would direct their questions to me and talk to me while my mother stood there, perfectly capable of answering the questions herself. I'm sure these people did not intend to be rude or disrespectful. However, it was extremely annoying to both Mother and me.
Because a person is elderly does not mean he or she is senile. Regardless of their mental capacity, older people have earned the right to be treated with dignity and respect. -- OFFENDED IN KINGSPORT, TENN.
DEAR OFFENDED: I'm glad you wrote. I have seen it happen, too, and with people who should have known better. And when it did happen, the offender was sometimes called on it in a way that wasn't at all "sweet."
Readers, if this letter strikes a familiar chord, please remember that most senior citizens are completely in control of their faculties and treat them accordingly. (Or risk losing a customer.)