May 18 2011

Becoming a Name Namer

So last night I was in the local fish store buying some fish. I like my local fish store alot. And I like eating fish alot. So I’m in there alot. Buying fish alot. To cook at home. With spices I like alot.

The people who work there are really nice and they know alot about fish. Usually we have a quick clerk/customer conversation. I ask how best to cook the fish. Or we chat it up about this and that.

It’s a pretty friendly place. I’ve been going there for years. They give away lemons. But yesterday… something changed.

I paid with a credit card and the very familiar guy behind the counter said, ‘Thanks Todd!’ I thanked him back while I did quick math to figure out how he knew my name (he looked at my credit card— ding!). And then I wandered away.

On the walk home I felt a little bad about myself. I should have immediately asked for his name and made a formal introduction on the spot. Why is it that I feel compelled to know my neighbor’s names or bartenders names– but never really make an effort to know the names of the people who work in my local stores?

I made a point next time I go into the fish store (or any other store I visit on a regular basis) to say hello and start asking for people’s names. I mean it’s always cool to walk into a bar with friends and have the bartender know your name like Clayvin style, right? Why not be all by name in most stores in the neighborhood?

The problem with this plan is that I’m terrible at remembering names. Neighbors that I’ve talked to way too many times to re-ask their name are bumped in to on a daily basis. A bartender who have served me drinks for years are either Jessica… or Vanessa? With most people I sort of know– I only sort of know their name.

So maybe I have the wrong idea here. Maybe my reaching further into the named world is not a world I should venture. I could be exposing myself to some future insult down the road by being busted not knowing their name. I do admit I am comfortable with the no-pressure element of going into a store without feeling like I’m snubbing someone if they go all first name on me– and I can’t return the compliment. I dunno. I’m gonna have to think this one out…

But I know that after that dude made a point to call me by name after selling me fish for years— I did wonder if I’m top secretly a neighborhood jerk.

ok bye!


Sh!tForBra!ns says:

But how was the fish? That’s what we’d all like to know.

Anonymous says:

Now I’ve seen a lot of bullshit. Angel dust. Switchblades. Sexually perverse photography exibits involving tennis rackets. But this. This is the greatest thing ever.

the REAL weeze says:


Anonymous says:

you’re not first and you never are you douche bag

Anonymous says:

Todd, can you block ‘the REAL weeze’? Please, do us (and yourself included) a favor.

On My Lunch Break says:

Don’t bother. You can say the same thing for other personalities on OddTodd such as Ginger. Just ignore them.

Jay Wolfe says:

I think your worried too much about the social implications of your actions/inaction.

In the case of names I can see how you might feel that the olde tyme world of knowing the names of everyone in your neighborhood is a normal thing however it’s just not how people are today. (run on sentence I know, I need to pee and leave the house in an hour, sorry I’m in a hurry)

To some extent, and as a former register jockey I can say we did learn peoples names after repeat business. Often this was little more then just to be polite and was never expected in return, although we also wore name tags a lot whatever.

So relax and don’t worry about it.

Long-time fan says:

I had this problem for years. And then one day, after a friend’s suggestion, I started saying, “I’m really sorry, but I have forgotten your name. I’m terrible with names.” And it wasn’t that hard. I also try to repeat the person’s name several times when I first meet them because if I don’t, at the end of the conversation they’ll say, “Nice to meet you, Adam” and I’ll think, “What the hell is your name again?”

cb1 says:

you’re the customer, you don’t have to remember shit. it’s their job to remember yours.

Bagle says:

You are the jerk.

Anonymous says:

Hey Todd, it’s a lot not alot

And I wouldn’t worry too much about it, he probably only said your name because he read it on the card. If you hadn’t used a credit card you’d still just be that random guy that comes in to the fish store.

HEY says:

I fail to see why a glass birdhouse is a bad idea.

Amy says:

Birds fly into glass windows

Amy says:

Nice outfit

flowy dress waitress says:

maybe it’s a thing sales people do to hook you in and create loyalty.

darkengo says:

That’s why I like name tags. I can say thank you {insert name here} to the sales clerk.

Sales Clerk says:

You don’t know me well enough to use my first name. Call me Sir or Madam.

bd says:

Yeah, I do that a lot. I blame the A.D.D. I probably have, distracting me from asking someone’s name. I’m getting better at it though.

Anonymous says:

It bugs the crap out of me when service people call me by my first name. It also bugged me when i was working service when called me my first name when looking at my name tag. It just seems too personal for the situation. Unless you are a regular or whatever then its cool.

caligula says:

you pay him money to remember your name.
the customer is always right. he is lucky you didn’t throw a cup of acid in his face.

tainted says:

you just gotta make some sort of association with his name and the situation..

for example, since hes at a fish store, lets say his name is “Tom”.. about try remembering “Tilapia Tom”? Or if his name is Ben, how about.. “Ben the Bass”? or “Sally the Salmonhead?” If you make it a funny name, theres more of a chance of you remembering it. “Odd Todd” is actually a perfect example of an association that someone can remember your name by!

Anonymous says:

if I am bad at remembering things how does remembering a second thing help me?

TribeMember says:

You like fish eh Todd? How about posting some of your fav fish recipes? ‘Cause that’s the big deal with fish…many people don’t know how to prepare it. And knowing your “glorified slacker” lifestyle, you probably have some easy yet delicious methods for cooking fish. Share!


Jimmy the Juicer says:

There is something fishy about this,I can’t put a name on it though.

Jill :-) says:

When they take your order at Jamba Juice they always ask your name first. I know all of their names! But now I’ve gotten sick of their oatmeal and will never see any of them again! (unless they decide to work at Starbucks across the street!)

MsM says:

They started calling customer by their first names at a large discount store in my area. I hate being called by my fist name by people I don’t know. I would answer with OK, thanks Shawniqua, or whatever their name said on their tag. It lasted about a month. They don’t make the clerks do that anymore.

MsM says:

Yes, I said ” Fist” that’s what you get in the face if you call me by my first name.

Ginger Campaign says:


Guest says:

Seek help for your anger and your racism.

Nami says:

Todd, as long as you’re a decent customer (don’t pay a $20+ tally with change, don’t bawl out the cashier because the store is out of rice krispies, don’t bring 2 carts of items into the express lane, don’t talk on your cell phone during the transaction) The clerk probably wont mind if you don’t know their name. They have to serve you no matter how bad you act, but treat them with a little human dignity and they’ll like you just fine.

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