Bought some blueberries this morning from a farmers’ market. Fellow who took my money smiled all nice and cheerful–“Can I help you, sir?” Of course by the time the “sir” is coming out of his mouth, he notices that I mignt not be a sir. Without missing a beat: “Can I help you, ma’am?” Emphasis placed not on the help you, but on the ma’am.
So I pull out my wallet (I’m sure that didn’t help him figure it out) and get my berries. This afternoon, I stop by to buy more. He sees me coming back and . . . “How can I help you this time, honey?”
From sir to ma’am to honey – all in one day.