First-Name Interactions

The familiarity of business’ personnel charged with interacting with members of the public conducting those interactions on a first-name basis is unwarranted and unwanted.  Those business personnel don’t know me (for instance) well enough for the uninvited closeness.

Tunku Varadarajan touched on that in his recent Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview, which centered on a different subject. In response to that peripheral matter, a letter writer to a subsequent WSJ Letters column described an incident involving his and a judge’s interaction with a hospital clerk wherein the clerk addressed each of these, in their separate interactions, by their first name, strangers to the clerk though they were:

“Puzzled by the first name?” I asked [the judge]. “Now that you mention it, yes I am.” “HIPAA” I explained, which we both knew as the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
So you see, Mr Theroux, what you observed wasn’t youth obsession at all. It was your government protecting your privacy.

Really? HIPAA applies to my interactions with my cable provider? My cell phone company? My interactions with the grocer’s checkout clerk? My calls to tech support? The teller at the bank (which already keeps the line separate from the teller-customer interaction)?

Wow. What an amusing thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *