Can you be too polite?

Recently I stayed at a fancy hotel. It’s not quite as fancy as it thinks it is, or at least not as fancy as the price it charges, but still well above the level of hotel I usually stay in.

I’ve never been ma’am’ed (can you even have 2 apostrophes in one word?) so much in my whole entire life. Ignoring the probability that I am in fact in the official ma’am age group, (and who wants to be reminded of that depressing fact on holiday) there must be a limit to the number of times you can say ma’am or madam in one freaking sentence. Are there really people in the world who would be so incredibly offended if they weren’t called ma’am at every given opportunity?

I get it, be nice, but can’t you just say, ‘How was everything?’ instead of ‘How was everything ma’am?’ And given this hotel wasn’t as fancy as it thinks it is, I can’t help but wonder if it associates the ma’am-ing with fanciness.

It’s not just the ma’am either, the ‘thank you’s’, the ‘you’re welcome’s’, the ‘my pleasure’s’, yes it’s polite but there’s no connection with the excessive nice-ness. Instead of being left thinking this place was fabulous, I was left thinking it must be exhausting for the staff to be that excessively nice all the time.

Maybe I’m too much of a product of my generation, and my location in growing up, perhaps it’s my years of advertising that tell me that a connection that feels real will leave a much better impression. And, there was nothing really to complain about with the hotel experience, it was all very…. nice, but when did nice ever leave a great impression.

When you tell your friends you had a ‘nice’ time, they ask you what was wrong. You don’t go to work and tell your colleagues about the ‘nice’ places you visited, and you never rave to your girlfriends about the ‘nice’ guy you just met.

I mean I don’t want harsh reality in my fancy hotel staff either.  I don’t actually want to know what you really think, because if other blogs are to be believed, anyone who works in hospitality hates all customers all the time because we’re all nasty and horrible and selfish, etc.  Some kind of in between would be nice… and let’s just stop with the madam’s and the ma’am… that is just not necessary.


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