We were at the cash register at the Core Life Eatery in New Hartford recently, and Beth was paying for our casual dinner when I said to her Thanks, honey. The cashier thought I was talking to HER and she responded You're welcome, which drew laughter all around.

It was extra funny to me, because I would never use that kind of language on ANYONE other than my wife. But, it did raise an interesting discussion on Facebook and on our radio show. How appropriate are those words when spoken to a stranger? Does it matter whether it’s the patron or the employee?

Here are some of the responses from Facebook commenters in Central New York and beyond:

-Ariana Sheehan said: "Hate hate hate hate hate when people I don't know call me 'honey'."

--Christopher Stevens asked "If women do it all the time and it seems to be ok or acceptable, BUT if a man does it, women scream sexual harassment...WHY?"

John Wiley: "When I get "honey" or "sweetie" tossed at me by a cashier or bartender......I ALWAYS reply back with "ok puddin'." (Just don't make that JELL-O puddin', John.)

-Matt Ossowski: "Better than 'here you go, a*******'.”

A 2014 article in Vogue magazine covered some of this ground and determined it's pretty much universally bad language to use, except someone from an older generation gets a pass, because it was more widely accepted in days gone by.

So, is it okay to talk to strangers this way? What do you think, sweetie?


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