There is a virus in France that infect more and more companiesโ€ฆ Inverting the T-V distinction with their customers.

In French, there are two pronouns for addressing to somebody : tu or vous (based on latin tu and vos). Tu is usually for family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and any kind of close people. Meanwhile vous is for a more respectful approach, talking with a stranger, a boss, or somebody you don’t know.

Actually, when I’ve started my professional life, my first employer told me “everybody is saying ’tu’ here”. I’ve been a little uncomfortable to address like this to my boss at the beginning.

On the Internet and the various online chatting systems, the common protocol became to use tu to people too. I don’t really know why actually, maybe the idea of small communities could helped to break the ice.

However, there is something that I deeply dislike today : companies communicating to their customers like they’re their buddies. Maybe I’m old school, but I think it’s rude. When a company addresses me a communication, I expect respect because I’m their (potential) customer, not their friend.

Actually, that’s not a new thing. Some brands already did that during the 80’s, but that was quite rare. Today, it’s the opposite.

The image I’ve put in example here is a notification from Mondial Relay, a package delivery company, saying my parcel is available at the retrieval place. The first message could be translated like this :

You parcel is available at {delivery point name}. Your pickup code is xxxx

It’s formal, neutral, maybe a little too cold, but I don’t expect more from a notification saying I can get my package somewhere. The second message can be translated like this :

Hey ! I’ve just arrived at delivery point {delivery point name}. Come and get me quickly with the code XXXXX. - You’re Mondial Relay parcel.

I’m sorry, but that sentence is just stupid. Is that a delivery notification or a hooker saying she’s available for work ? I’ve seen commercials for erotic phone more subtile than this.

And that’s becoming a norm in commercial communication. In some stores, the automated casher also writes tu on their screen… Sorry, but do we know each other ? More and more ads are doing this. I’m not a fan of this communication, it’s just hypocrisy with marketers thinking that if you speak to the consumers like their childhood friend, they’ll be more open to buying.

Sorry, but I’m not your buddy, and I don’t want to be it.

Like we say in good old French :

Nous n’avons pas gardรฉ les cochons ensemble !