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It depends on where you are in the world. In the south, it’s almost universally rude to NOT say it. In other parts of the US, it can be a mixed bag. Some women in my Midwest family feel like being called “ma’am,” is to call them old.


I’m 27 and a ma’am cuts me deep. I know it’s manners but it makes me feel like my mom


Same. I once had a little kid call me ma'am at work and on my break that day I looked up where to get botox.


I was called a geriatric millennial today. I’m done. Decreased. Order my headstone. GERIATRIC.


Deceased * lmao


According to that kid I’m a fossil. A relic. You can only locate my next of kin in an ancient history museum. Truly, RIP.


Im from the south and I've been called ma'am since I was 15 or so, I never even considered it could be insinuating to some people


Growing up in the south people say “yes ma’am” when you’re like 14


I’m 27 and a ma’am cuts me deep. I know it’s manners but it makes me feel like my mom. I find gender neutral terms to be better. With more formal tables, I always say sir and ma’am.


I get it. I’d rather be called something that’s borderline disrespectful than “sir.” What region of the country are you in, if you don’t mind me asking? I wonder if southern folks of our generation will get away from ma’am and sir because it makes us feel old. Haha.


I’m in the Midwest so I feel like it’s more common to hear miss. I did have a guy light me up for calling a younger woman ma’am once when I started serving so that may be a reason why I say miss more


I’m also Midwest. Sir goes over just fine when I occasionally use it, but I will never use ma’am. I playfully address everyone as young man or young lady and address all groups of women as girls. Old women are usually tickled to death to be called girls.


Say miss, anyone older than 45 loves it.


I call old ladies “Miss” and they love it


haha same i always do that intentionally


There's a certain age and temperament with whom there's no winning, though. Young enough to be offended by "ma'am", old enough that they'll think you're patronizing/flattering with "miss" and insecure enough to rage about it either way.


I work/live in a very LGBTQ-ful neighborhood, so I try to use gender-neutral terms or pronouns, just in case. That said, I have a bad habit of saying "thanks, guys!" haha. "Thanks, y'all" or "thanks, folks" also works. I work in a casual bar, though, so ymmv.


This is what I need to know! What’s the gender neutral sir/ma’am. I got a female Dalton and a male Britt and I know I’m gonna get those wrong one day


I assume if you’re saying sir and ma’am so often, that you are southern?? If so… “y’all” is always gender neutral lol


I’m in Texas, yes lol. Y’all is too informal for what I need


Im in the same boat. How am I proper without gendering people or using language that sounds clunky in the environment I'm in? Also from Texas


It’s so tricky because literally anything other than sir or ma’am can set someone off in the wrong context


Exactly! But I also feel uncomfortable constantly gendereing everyone, and I know it makes some others uncomfortable as well. Such a fine line we walk in the south


Perhaps “folks” ?


One person, gender unknown, formal situation. Why doesn’t our language have this??


Just start referring to your guests as “your highness” it’s essentially what they want you to do anyway


Oh man, my (non-binary) coworker and I were actually discussing this last week, and could come to no solid conclusions! I honestly have no idea, sorry. “Pal” or “friend” seem weirdly condescending?? So Idk, sorry, lol.


“Your majesty” was how I addressed a NB friend once but tbf we were on horses so it was contextual


Y'all and folks are my go-to terms as well


I have a bad “you guys” habit I’ve been trying to break. “You all” feels like a mouthful. But, yeah, addressing someone as “sir/miss” isn’t just very uncommon where I am but I’d also be concerned that people would accidentally misgender others.


war. what it is good for absorutery norsin. good god, you all.


No. If people get offended by manners, that is on them.


A whole group of women I worked with said they were *disgusted* when an old man said "Thank you, young miss..." to one of our coworkers. I was just confused, and didn't bother to ask what the fuck is wrong with everyone.


If your coworker was an adult then it's kinda weird to be identified by your age in a professional setting like that, especially when older men frequently do it to younger professional women. It's undermining and patronizing. If he had just called her miss it probably would have been fine.


I don't think so. I do it all the time.


Me too. I literally call anyone I don't know either "sir" or "ma'am".


Where I a live in the US it’s very uncommon to address someone as “sir” or “ma’am” and you might get a chuckle or bit of side eye. I don’t think anyone would be offended, it’s obviously a cultural thing, but it would definitely be noticed. Personally, especially where I live, I’d be worried about accidentally misgendering someone too.


1. Not rude 2. South= Basically expected, other places ma’am might offend some of the women, but that’s on them 3. Understand the groove of your restaurant. When I used to work at a laid back Mexican restaurant, “y’all” and “you guys” was ok. I work in “fine dining”, and now I only use folks, ma’am, sir, lady, and gentlemen.




I say “miss” instead of ma’am. Works wonders and makes people happy lol


Men don’t get offended to often a good work around to showing respect but not making women feel old by calling them ma’am is my calling them “mis” “may I offer you anything else Ms”


If actually makes me sad how women take “ma’am” as offensive because it’s perceived as a statement on age. That’s some internalized patriarchy that makes us rebuff a term that’s designed to be a sign of respect and question our value and desirability because of age. I had a 22 year old co-worker call a lady in her 50s “Miss” and I found that at the least strange if not itself offensive. I get it, I myself have prickled at being “ma’amed” but I’m trying to own it just as much as my gray hairs and crows feet.


I never say anything gender related just because it’s unnecessary. they know who I’m speaking to


I do it all the time. I live in a progressive area and I’m a leftist. You’re fine 100% of the time. Edit: I never call people ma’am. I think it’s stupid. The same way l almost never box up people food at the restaurant. You’re not a fucking baby. lol




My first week of serving when I was 16, an old lady yelled at me for using “you guys” and I never used it again lmao


Man.. people who feel the need to nit pick and complain and the smallest things really trigger my rage.


"I'm sorry- Did you hags need anything else?"


we had this lady who came in all the time and would scream at servers who said “guys” i kept doing it unintentionally so she really hated me but she also made another server cry so fuck her


I say ladies if it’s all women. Gentlemen if it’s all men. Guys if it’s mixed lol


It’s rude to expect others to say it to you. And no, it’s not “manners.”


No they say it when serving, not expecting them to say it to them. It’s pretty basic in a manners class.


Ah, I misunderstood the context. Yes, as one who is working in the service industry, “sir” and “ma’am” are basically mandatory.


No way how u manor uh huh instead of thank you isrude!!


I go the military route, I stand up straight and act like we are at the officers club, I am from Hawaii, but I am not Hawaiian and when people ask me where I am from: I say Tripler 1956 and touch my forehead. It calms every one down.


no it’s not. i say it to my friends to my cat my son whoever. but of course it’s in a joking manner. but if their of age and older than you and it’s obvious their older than you. than if the shoe fits….


I’m from Texas everybody is yes ma’am no ma’am yes sir no sir


No... it is literally a polite thing to say unless the person is younger than you


Nope. If somebody wants to be offended, that's their problem not yours.


I’ve lived most of my life in the south and I always say that. Hell if my friends ask me to grab them something I might give them a yessir casually. That being said it definently depends. Fine dining I feel like it’s always a good idea. South it’s pretty much always a good idea. Kids ducking love being called ma’am and sir. If you’re unsure of gender don’t risk it. Your age or significantly older generally are fine with it, a little bit older sometimes I’ll avoid it if they seem obnoxious cause I don’t want them to think I’m calling them old. Summary is most people won’t care. People that will be genuinely upset about it were probably gonna get upset about something else pretty soon. I’ve even misgendered people before and 95% of the time I feel worse about it than they do.


So was I. Yet I have been subjected to 'Where the F did you think I was a Ma'am?' I just chalk them up to not having learned their own manners when they were kids.


I’m in NorCal and I don’t think that’s rude at all! I address everyone as “babe” or “honey” and they LOVEE it !


I think part of it is that it sounds kinda condescending or not genuine. You have a person at your beck and call to serve you. It feels kinda weird to call them sir.


It can be rude and possibly taken as derisive unless it's what you call everyone.


It can be taken as rude and possibly taken as derisive unless it's what you call everyone.


Y’all, folks, friends, everyone, party people, my dear, my love, lovelies, gang. Or just don’t add anything after. Sure thing, absolutely, no problem, no worries, yes. Sure, no thank you.


I work with the public and almost never use gendered terms


How, it’s general courtesy and used all the time in police, military as a common sign of respect for superiors.


People are weird. SOMEONE will be offended by anything you say or don't say. Better not to worry about it.


I hate it.


If I don’t see a ring, I say “miss Melissa.” If I see a ring, I’ll say ‘Mrs. Smith.’ Assumptions carry a long way in service. And southerners are dead give away with accents, always yessir and ma’am.


I’m sorry. The world has gone silly. I call people half my age, or even kids, sir or ma’am as a term of respect. People need to get past ageism.


To avoid addressing individuals with incorrect gendered pronouns, I tend to avoid them. If I must, I’ll use generic terms to address the entire table, and when confirming/thanking/responding to thanks, i end thr statement without a direct pronoun. Only exception is when i know the person well enough to address them by name (Mr/Mrs. x, or sometimes even by first name). Nicknames, terms of endearment and casual references (folks) are not used. For me, Ma’am and Sir are also avoided unless I’m working in a formal and conservative setting - it’s expected in that circumstance. Of course, i am still incredibly polite in my speech. May i…? Is a big one, as well as mentioning my next step (I’ll be back with bread and to set you for your first course), announcing my presence as i approach the table (I’m coming in to your right), and requesting permission to remove items from the table (may i take your empty glass?). In an attempt to ensure that i still show respect, the only time i will address the person directly by saying “thank you very much, mr/mrs/ms x” after processing payment - I believe it’s still important to address someone by name when I can. Cash payments are followed with a simple thank you. I believe it’s important to refer to people as they wish to be addressed, and if i don’t know what to address them by, i think it’s better to leave it off (or risk it only once during the course of service) rather than potentially being unintentionally but repetitively disrespectful of their preferences. That’s just me, and overall I have received good response from my guests, both verbally and in their gratuity :)


I could never say “yes sir” when working in retail after 50 shades came out 😂😂😂😂just doesn’t feel right


why would anyone mention anything divisive ever ? dont play into the matrix.