I atoned for one of my customer service sins today.
Last week I served a customer who was dressed in a feminine manner, but wasn't very feminine physically. It doesn't bother me one bit if someone is transgendered, but unless I know which pronoun they prefer I generally try to avoid using gendered pronouns and just use their name if I know it.
She left a bag containing her prescriptions on my register when she finished shopping and in a panic I called out "Sir! you left your bag!"
After she left, I felt terrible that I might have really hurt her because I called her sir. I felt pretty bad all week about it and could only think of much it would have hurt.
I served her again today, and before she left I told her, "I want to apologise if I hurt you by using the wrong gender pronoun last week. It was wrong of me to automatically use the cisgendered (the opposite of transgendered) pronoun. I'm really sorry."
She replied, "Thank you, I prefer to be called ma'am." She got a big smile on her face too.
I feel so much better now that I've been able to apologise, and I'll know next time I see her to use female pronouns. I feel like I was able to right my wrong.
Has anyone else had a similar experience? If a situation like that arises again where I'm forced to call out to someone, but I'm not sure what gender they identify as, should I just call out, "Excuse me person wearing red shorts and blue top"?