DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was taught to announce myself when I make a call to a doctor: For example, “Hi there, this is Jane Doe, and I’d like to make an appointment to see Dr. Smith.” But every single time I do this, the receptionist invariably asks me at a later point to repeat my name: “OK, I have an opening on Thursday. What was your name again?”
I’m really starting to wonder if I should just quit being so formal, so I figured I’d ask you. Should I just say, “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment to see Dr. Smith”? Or do good manners dictate that I stay the course?
GENTLE READER: It is a safe assumption that a busy receptionist will not likely remember the first five seconds of a conversation -- including the caller’s identifying characteristics -- but only the last part: where to direct the call. That being the case, Miss Manners will not fault anyone for making both sides of the conversation as efficient as possible. She will call it a zero-sum game of etiquette.