How Should a Server Refer to a Lady?

Instead of “lady”, what appellations do you think would be appropriate for a food server to refer to a female guest?

Bruce Buschel, an aspiring restaurateur wrote an excellent blog, earning him a whopping 1,158 comments.  The blog was entitled; 100 things food servers should never do”.

One of those “100 things” mentioned was, “Do not call a woman “lady”.  

The politically correct terms are; “Madame, Ma’am, Miss, Mademoiselle or Mam-zel.

So, what say YOU?  What would you call a woman?


(c) 2010 : PTsaldari Group Inc. | The Art of Serving Well | Serve Me Well Inc. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared on blog authored by PTsaldari.  This article may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it. Email:

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Penelope Tsaldari December 12, 2009 at 6:26 am

  • enzozebo December 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    I personally prefer mademoiselle or miss.

  • Penelope Tsaldari January 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Do you remember the scene? The Senate. Barbara Boxer hearing from a Brigadier General? Silly General! He addresses Barbara as “Ma’m”, and she CORRECTS him, telling him she’s “worked SO hard to earn the title,”Senator”, so please to use that when speaking to her.Mame…Senator Barbara Boxer / Alaskan Airlines PilotGet a load of this letter! Read the letter sent to Sen. BarbaraBoxer from an Alaskan Airlines pilot below. Many of us witnessed the arrogance of Barbara Boxer on June 18, 2009 as she admonished Brigadier General Michael Walsh because he addressed her as “ma’am”and not “Senator” before a Senate hearing.This letter is from a National Guard aviator and Captain for Alaska Airlines named Jim Hill. I wonder what he would have said if he were really angry. Long fly Alaska !!!!!Babs:You were so right on when you scolded the general on TV for using the term, “ma’am,” instead of “Senator”. After all, in the military, “ma’am” is a term of respect when addressing a female of superior rank orposition. The general was totally wrong. You are not a person of superior rank or position. You are a member of one of the world’s most corrupt organizations, the U.S. Senate, equaled only by the U.S. House of Representatives.Congress is a cesspool of liars, thieves, inside traders, traitors, drunks (one who killed a staffer, yet is still revered), criminals, and other lowlevel swine who, as individuals (not all, but many), will do anything to enhance their lives, fortunes and power, all at the expense of the People of the United States and its Constitution, in order to be continually re-elected. Many even want American troops killed by releasing photographs. How many of you could honestly say, “We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”? None? One? Two?Your reaction to the general shows several things. First is your abysmal ignorance of all things military. Your treatment of the general shows you to be an elitist of the worst kind. When the general enteredthe military (as most of us who served) he wrote the government a blank check, offering his life to protect your derriere, now safely and comfortably ensconced in a 20 thousand dollar leather chair, paid for by the general’s taxes. You repaid him for this by humiliating him in front of millions.Second is your puerile character, lack of sophistication, and arrogance, which borders on the hubristic. This display of brattish behavior shows you to be a virago, termagant, harridan, nag, scold or shrew, unfitfor your position, regardless of the support of the unwashed, uneducated masses who have made California into the laughing stock of the nation.What I am writing, are the same thoughts countless millions of Americans have toward Congress, but who lack the energy, ability or time to convey them. Regardless of their thoughts, most realize thatpoliticians are pretty much the same, and will vote for the one who will bring home the most bacon, even if they do consider how corrupt that person is. Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) so aptly charged, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Unbeknownst to you and your colleagues, “Mr. Power” has had his way with all of you, andwe are all the worse for it.