You are cashing a personal check at a bank. The employee reads your name on the check and addresses you with your first name.

Vous touchez un chèque dans une banque. L'employé lit votre nom sur le chèque et vous adresse la parole en utilisant votre prénom.

feel friendly

I feel like I can approach the person a lot more, but is perhaps not the most professional of responses.

I smile and do not notice it. I am always cool and professional at banks.

I would find this friendly, I would smile if they pronounce it correctly!

i would not notice this.

I would think that the employee is a nice person.

I wouldn't do anything because I wouldn't mind.

I wouldn't mind.

I wouldn't mind. I think it's a friendly gesture.

i wouldn't think anything.. whatever :)

I wouldn't think too much of it.

i wouldnt care. i like it when people call me by name.

I'd notice and be pleased.

I'm likely to have to correct the pronunciation.

It does not worry me that she does so.

it is not a professional attitude, but at the same time, not very offensive; more friendly?

Nothing. (Unless giving me a hard time.)

That's fine, being friendly

that's fine. i'm friendly.

There's nothing wrong with that.

You look at his name tag and address him by his first name in a condescending tone.

"Je ne savais pas qu'on se connaissait!"

ça ne me choque pas puisque je suis jeune, tant que la personne reste correcte

ça ne me dérange pas

C'est étonnant mais ça ne me choque pas, ça me fait plutôt sourire

Ca ne me dérange pas, mais je penserais qu'il n'est pas très respectueux envers la clientèle.

Ca ne me gêne pas, je trouve ça marrant

Ce n'est pas grave si c'est une fois.

ce n'est trop grave, je lui rectifie sa faute gentiment.

Cela dépend du contexte, mais ça me semblerait bizarre.

Cela me surprend, mais je m'adapte à la situation.

cela ne me dérangerait pas

J'essaie d'orienter l'employé en répétant mon nom.

Je l'appelle également par son prénom pour équilibrer la situation

Je lui réponds par le sien si il a un badge, sinon je lui en invente un.

Je lui rétorque que nous n'avons pas élevé les cochons ensemble!

Je ne suis pas choqué.

je trouve ça déplacé et je le lui signale.

Je trouve cela surprenant mais si cela reste poli, ça ne me dérange pas.

Pas grave.


Reading through the responses I noticed that most of us said that we wouldn't care if the person at the bank uses our first name. I think that people here are very friendly and relaxed about such things. It is not uncommon that people reading an ID or a credit card call you by your first name. It has happened to me a lot in retaurants and stores. On the other hand, most of you guys said that it would be very surprising. I found this a bit strange because from responses to other questions I was left with the impression that you are very liberal and relaxed about things. Also you mention the importance and closeness of society a lot. Don't you think this is a bit of a contradiction?

The impression that i got from the french responses was that it's not a professional thing to do, and that's why it shocked them (you). I feel like the trend in America is for a company or business to project an image of familiarity and caring for the customer and therefore some people will try to establish a first name basis with their customers. I wonder, what is the general business-consumer relationship in France? Is it very professional with certain rules regarding employee-consumer interactions?

In addition to everything that Yuliya and Ryan said, I think it's interesting that you would correct the person who called you by your first name, instead of just being annoyed. This doesn't really apply here, since we all seem to like being called by our first names, but in general, it seems like when we don't like something, we just think about how we don't like it, and we don't do anything about it, whereas you tell people that it bothers you. (the person talking at the movies for example). I don't know why we tend to be so non-confrontational, maybe we are more worried we'll offend whoever we're talking to? Do you think that you guys are less easily offended? or is it that you are ok with offending people, if they are being annoying/inappropriate?

I think perhaps the French place a bigger emphasis on politeness, decor, manners, etc. than Americans do. I think the response also depends on the geographical location of the person and his/her social status. In certain parts of America calling people by their first names is more common than in others. To the French students: Do you often address adults by their first names?

In the United States, having a personal connection or personal relation with customers is the important aspect of a job. One way of demonstrating friendliness and concern is refering to a customer by his/her first name, an endearing act. The French, however, feel shocked or offended by such actions. When do you feel such personal interactions in business is appropriate or necessary?

Cecilia: "do you often address adults by their first names?" --> je dirai que non, en général. Pour répondre aux autres, « by the book », personne ne devrait tutoyer personne dans une relation clientèle, ni l’appeler par son prénom. Le tutoiement prend place dans certains cas particuliers, où les deux acteurs sont jeunes: il permet alors de faire sauter quelques barrières. A 18 ans, ça ne ferait pas bizarre d'appeler un(e) autre du même age "Monsieur" ou "Madame"...?. Mais dites moi, comment faites vous pour discerner
un tutoiement d’un vouvoiement ? Ca n’existe pas ?

Jean, it is interesting that you ask that question. I am from Bulgaria and we also have to different forms in addressing people depending on their familiarity and age. However, the people in the US don't. The language doesn't allow for it. Of course, there is still "Mr." and "Mrs." when you are talking to unfamiliar or older people but the "you" remains the same...I also found it very strange when I first came to the US,..

It is true that our language doesn't differentiate between "tu" and "vous" so we must rely on our actions and manners to distinguish between the two. For someone you don't know very well, you usually speak more formally and more politely, and refrain from using slang. For people you know very well, you can relax a little more and not worry about everything you say.

Speaking of "tu" and "vous," don't be offended if Americans say "tu" when they shouldn't! I'm originally Russian, and we also have a formal/informal "you" difference. So I always notice when my classmates call the teacher "tu" by accident. But I think it's hard to always remember about it if your first language doesn't make the distinction. Historically, English used to have two different you's: "thou" (informal), and "you" (formal). Eventually, people got so polite, that they completely stopped using the informal version. Also, I was wondering: how do you address your professors, and how do your professors address you? In America, the students are always called by their first names. As an undergraduate, you generally address your professors formally. But grad students are usually on a first-name basis with professors.

It's interesting - in my line of work, I've always been on a first-name basis with my superiors, and it seems like the status quo among my colleagues as well. The only person I can think of who we might call "Mr." would be the president of the company, and the occasion to speak with him is so rare that I don't think anyone has really thought about it much. Do French workers refer to their superiors by last name, even if they are only a middle manager?