By North American standards, I have a fairly simple last name. It only has four letters. It doesn’t disobey any common English spelling or pronunciation rules. However, it is very similar to a much more common last name. I have no problem forgiving people for using the similar name particularly in spoken context where the brain often auto-corrects things it hears.
In a written context it always bothers me though. My name was right there to use as a reference. This email was one I just received which illustrates this. I signed my email with my first name (which I always do because I want people to reply using it), but did include my surname in the message to include in the reservation. The responder took it upon himself to reply more formally (which I really don’t like) and in doing so also mangled my surname.
Sorry… felt like ranting. Also, for those curious, the restaurant doesn’t open until 11:30, which I learned when I called earlier to confirm my reservation. Hence the difference from my request.
Your reservation for brunch at 11:30 tomorrow is confirmed, Mr.Bates.
----- Original Message -----
From: Colin Bate
To: Alex …
Sent: Sat Oct 09 16:05:26 2010
Subject: Reservation Request
I was hoping to reserve a spot for brunch tomorrow around 11am for 6 people. Please let me know if this would be possible. If so, just put it under my name: Colin Bate