Being called ‘babe’ isn’t so bad

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There are a number of requirements which come with being a northerner, some would say that they are enshrined in law.

It doesn’t matter where you move to in the country, being a northerner is something of an occupation for those of us born north of Stoke-on-Trent and we wear our heritage with pride.

That pride manifests itself in the way that we live our lives: a regular fry-up is mandatory, as is pouring gravy on top of chips, before putting them inside a butty.

But what really sets us apart from much of the country is our penchant for over-familiarity, as you don’t have to go very far in the north of England before being addressed as ‘love’ by a complete stranger.

Be it in your place of work, at your local pub and even down the supermarket, there is every chance you will be greeted informally at least once a day.

In my experience, this type of greeting is genuine and serves as the antithesis of corporate Britain, where workers appear to read from cue cards when greeting customers. It reminds me of a bygone age, before the advent of political correctness, where warm sentiments weren’t mistaken for a lack of respect, which is sadly the case today.

Last week it was reported how a female supermarket shopper had boycotted this particular chain after being fed up with being called ‘sweetheart’ and ‘babe’ by a woman working on a checkout. After complaining, she claims that she was told she could chose to be served by somebody else if she didn’t like it. And that was that, the shopper in question says she will never set foot inside that supermarket or any one of its hundreds of sister stores across the country.

There are many reasons why somebody should boycott a business or product – connection with an oppressive regime or a toenail in the coleslaw would do it for me.

But being addressed in an over-familiar way? The need to get a life is required.

We live in an age where our youngsters are more at home with a screen and headphones than they are with a firm handshake and eye contact so it is reassuring there are millions of people who use a term of endearment to greet others.

We need to remember that there are far worse things which we could be called.