15 Responses

  1. Ian Marchant says:

    Mate is acceptable in certain situations where the power relation has shifted from the consumer to the provider. It is therefore right and proper that a plumber who has come to fix your broken pipes, or a car mechanic who just saved your car from certain death call you ‘mate.’ Also, I don’t mind being called ‘love’ in cafes oop north, or ‘moi lover’ in the South West. Or ‘hen’ in Scotland, so long as i’m being addressed by ladies.

  2. Bob says:

    “I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING MATE!” seems like an entirely appropriate response, thought not one I would ever have the nerve to use.

    I did once venture ‘Have we met?’ to a somewhat over-familiar ‘Orright mate?’ in a shop, but it met with a predictably wall eyed response. That’s the trouble with coruscating wit, it does require a receptive audience. So your idea is the better one, Mr.Simcox, particularly if you are seizing your interlocutor by the lapels at the same time and covering his terrified face with a fine mist of spittle.

  3. Dan says:

    I seem to recall reading a sociology text back in my student days citing a work of reference (academic tomb by another sociologist I expect) that advanced the view that the common use of the word ‘mate’ was a manifestation of the unconscious but existing sense of solidarity between members of the British working classes. Mind you this was probably written BT (Before Thatch) so whether that is applicable now I’m not sure.

    I can’t recall the reference I’m afraid.

    Just a diversion from the main problem. I think there are ways to interact with these corporate monoliths without using a call centre – but it’s probably difficult.

  4. Ian Marchant says:

    Oh, Mr Simcox. Mate! How I agree with yourself. Sir and madam work for me; nothing else.

  5. Kate M says:

    Yeah, it’s annoying. Sounds like an example of hypercorrection to me.

    I don’t think it’s quite the same as Irish usage. In Ireland reflexive pronouns are used for emphasis, or sometimes to speak sarcastically about a person. They are not a replacement for regular pronouns but convey a different meaning. That’s been my experience, anyway.

  6. Dave Simcox says:

    So, it’s pet hates yourself is wanting…
    Well, Mr Marchant, perhaps we can start with this one Mr Marchant, the ridiculous overuse of your name Mr Marchant. See, you are pissed off already Mr Marchant. Of course, the reflexive pronoun is also a bugger to tolerate, but the one that really makes myself SEETHE is… is… I can hardly bring myself (or should that be “me”?) to say it…


    As in, “Orright Mate, can I ‘elp yer? No problem Mate! Cheers Mate!” I don’t expect shop assistants and counter staff to bow and scrape, but do they get NO training in dealing with customers?

    I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING MATE! (I scream, inside my head). Any suggestions of a suitable riposte welcome…

  7. Ian Marchant says:

    I do this already. It’s fun selecting tracks, and it costs themselves money. But it’s not cold callers. It happened to me when I joined the AA, changed bank accounts, set up payments with British Gas; they all called me ‘yourself.’I blame New Labour, of course…

  8. Bob says:

    Cold callers: ask them to hang on for a minute, then put the phone next to the radio and go do something else for ten minutes. They’ve generally gone when you get back…

  9. Graham says:

    This would be something that’s quite got to yourself, isn’t it?
    I’ve taken to giving cold callers a dose of the heavy breathing lately. Toy with them!
    And if greeted by options, try holding out and not pressing any keys. Sometimes you’ll just get cut off, but occasionally they will connect you to a human person. Who will probably ask yourself why you didn’t select an option, and you’ll be wishing you’d selected one after all.
    It all gets so congealed!

  10. Jennifer Buller says:

    I thought only the Irish did that! They called asking whether “himself” was available, sad yank scratching her head…

  11. Hilary Marchant says:

    It’s when you ring a so-called “help”line with a problem, which you describe in great detail to a bored person who refuses to try to fix it, but who still finishes off the call with “Is there anything else I can help with today?” So far have managed not to point out that “else” would imply something having already been done today…but eventually I will crack.

  12. James Walford says:

    “How are you spelling that?”

    Crikey, how hard can B. O. B. be?

  13. Dru says:

    good man, yerself.

    wishaw wishaw wishaw.

    Maybe Co Kerry is the new Mumbai?

  14. Bob says:

    My favourite is the question ‘how are you spelling that’ when I give them my name.

  15. Clare Stevens says:

    Ah, the joys of the reflexive pronoun and the anguish of hearing it constantly misused! I share your pain, Ian

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