A recent New York Times article by writer John Leland asks in the title of the article: "In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a Hurt for the Elderly" (find the link here http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/us/07aging.html?_r=1&emc=eta1&oref=slogin)
The article goes on to say that studies have shown that terms such as 'sweetie' and 'dear' have had negative impacts on the perception of aging and specifically for those with dementia who might have a harder time communicating their feelings.
Sometimes in our desire to serve, we bypass things that would help maintain the diginity and respect of those whom we do serve.
Is it better to pre-set the table with the "favorite" drink or food without even asking, or always make a policy of offering choices in a respectful manner?
Do we try to dictate service delivery times that are convenient for us, or shift towards a policy of finding what is convenient to our customers?
Have you ever changed your mind from your typical day? Ever ordered tea instead of coffee? Eggs scrambled instead of fried? Have you ever felt you were taken for granted?
If we assume we absolutely know exactly what each of our customers already wants, we lose a chance for an important interaction - a chance to engage in gaining the opinion of a very important person (VIP), instead of just our 'sweetie.'