The term young man is offensive

This is how it can be done : I'm not a young man!

Again and again I am addressed in shops - albeit never in banks - as “young man”. That happens to me mostly with female salespeople. I am 84 years old and find this form of address inappropriate and offensive. Is my opinion on this old-fashioned and should this behavior be tolerated?

It is always astonishing how many insults are committed simply because of insecurity. On the one hand, you could be happy that bad will is not involved in everything that hurts. On the other hand, one sometimes wants to despair in the face of people's thoughtlessness. It should be obvious that calling an 84-year-old a “young man” doesn't mean a compliment. The address “young man” has something helplessly jovial about it, which can seem arrogant, but is basically just stupid. So it would be high time to bury this expression in the cemetery for used phrases.

Of course, an alternative has to be found. That is the old problem that also exists when addressing waitresses in restaurants who tend to feel as if they were "frolicking". The topic of appropriate salutation would be a good field of activity for creative minds in the German studies institutes. I would suggest that all sellers use the salutation “Sir” in such cases until something better is on the market.

I would advise you not to be offended. Repeat offenders should point out that when they are 84 they are no longer young. If you like, just give your name to the sales clerks you deal with all the time. Then it becomes very easy with the salutation. In banks, people are usually known by name, which is why something like that doesn't happen there.

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