Friday, May 25, 2007

Hello. My name is John Moe.

So I was at Caribou Coffee this morning. It's a Midwest coffee chain. And the barista was serving up drinks to customers and saying stuff like, "Here you go, Tom" and "Haven't seen you in a while, Jeff" and they were saying, "Thanks, see you later, Gail".

And I thought, wow, they all know each other! What are the odds that they are all acquainted socially outside the inherently impersonal arena of coffee service? Maybe they...grew...up together?...? But then I realized that no, they had just introduced themselves properly at some point. People do that here. They have names and use them. That doesn't always happen in my native Northwest.

A couple of weeks ago, we were at a school picnic and my (Midwestern) wife introduced herself to a table full of people where Charlie (age 6) was sitting with a friend. "Hi, I'm Jill Moe," she said, "I'm Charlie and Kate's mom." Some of them smiled and said, like, "Oh."

And that was it. What's. Your. Name. ?. It's not hard, folks. I've heard similar complaints about LA. Your parents worked hard to give you that name. Use it.


Update: I refer to eating casserole in the comments. But Midwesterners have told me, politely of course and by name, that it's called "hotdish" over there. Glad I didn't even attempt the whole pop/soda thing.

7 comments:

wells said...

Yeah! That always threw me about Seattle. Now that I am living down in Austin, the hospitality (or whatever might be the better word) sometimes throws me. It's much preferred, though.

srah said...

Don't they take the customer's name with the order?

john said...

They might but they haven't with me. They just announce the drink. Still, they knew the customers' names before the drink orders were placed and the customers knew she was "Gail" even though she wore no name tag.
I like to think they all get together for casserole. Because I have Minnesota stereotypes.

GlennF said...

John, you have hit my number one Seattle pet peeve (although I've seen it to a lesser extent elsewhere). I cannot tell you how many times, in a social situation, I say, "Hi, my name is Glenn," and then, beat, beat, beat, wait for you, I have to add, "And your name is?" Or just bloody give up. At my kid's day care, I can't tell you how many parents I've introduced myself to and gotten nothing in reply. What, is it like stealing someone's soul?

MintyJ said...

Argh. I was at a barbecue yesterday, and I went up to everyone I didn't know and said "Hi! I'm Jeannie". With the exception of one person, nobody introduced themselves back. (the one person who did introduce herself immediately followed up with, "I'm from Mexico".) Why is this an effing deal here? And, also, dear Jeebus, will I someday become fully assimilated to this and just offer a tight-lipped smile to someone else's introduction? I already think sometimes people's senses of humor are "too harsh". Crap. I gotta get the hell out of here.

Oh, and also? Casserole is called hotdish in Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

I have to let you know--as I was born in MN, grew up in WI and live in OH that casserole is referred to as hotdish...one word.

-Andrea

susansinclair said...

Yes! So, the question is, where did my schmooziness/nosiness come from? Clearly not from all those potluck dinners at my Lutheran church...