Readers' letters - July 24

Don't call us by our first name '“ customers aren't your pals
A correspondent complains about the way the retail sector addresses customersA correspondent complains about the way the retail sector addresses customers
A correspondent complains about the way the retail sector addresses customers

Is it my imagination but are retail businesses becoming over-familiar with their clients?Having been in the retail sector most of my working life – I’m now retired – it was always expected that you were respectful. Admittedly I worked in the motor trade. Nevertheless, respect in addressing your customer was always paramount. However, just lately, service providers and retail companies seem to have adopted the initiative of calling us by our Christian names on correspondence and on emails.I have already taken Tesco to task over this overfamiliarity – not that they care – but having ordered something online from Wilko for the first time, their welcoming email begins: “Hello Karl, welcome to Wilko, we are so pleased you popped by!”Arguably these businesses are adopting a ‘let’s all be pals’ approach, but frankly I am not their pal.I do not know them from Adam. I’m not on first-name terms with any of them.In fact, the relationship is one that they provide a service and, as their customer, I expect a degree of respect, for instance, ‘Sir’, or ‘Mr Sheridan’.Once again, we are seeing old-world values and manners rapidly disappearing.Karl SheridanAddress suppliedToo easy to blame EU for our problems

What are the benefits of the EU? We believe it is about having a community of nearby nations where we can easily travel, live, work and form relationships without any barriers. It seems sad to us that a generation of older people, who mostly won’t be around to witness the fallout of a ‘hard’ Brexit, wishes to deny all these things to subsequent generations of younger people.The EU also provides a trading bloc which can negotiate trade and other deals, such as that signed this week with Japan, and is strong enough to stand up to the bullying tactics of Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia.A more practical reason for staying with the EU is that, for nearly 50 years, we have built up close relations in a large number of areas – research, science, medicine, culture, education and, of course, trade. This can’t just be undone in one bound, despite what wealthy demagogues like Johnson and Rees-Mogg, whose hedge funds stand to benefit from a bad Brexit, will tell you. It will take years to set up equivalent trade deals and links with other (mostly far-off) countries, always assuming anyone else actually wants to trade with us.We would also like to ask Brexit voters what they actually mean by ‘taking back control’? Does it mean handing it over to the bunch of incompetent, self-serving politicians (whether far left or right) we currently have in Westminster? Or is it, in our desperation to secure a trade deal of any kind, sucking up to the likes of Donald Trump, who will happily sell us chlorinated chicken, hormone-injected beef, and buy up our impoverished NHS at a knock-down price? It is all too easy to blame the EU, which accounts for less than one per cent of our tax contributions, for all our problems. For those that seek to do so, we would ask them one final question. Forgetting all the propaganda they have read in the right wing press, or stories they may have heard about EU bureaucracy, floods of immigrants etc, for a moment, can they actually point to a single way in which they, or someone they know, have been directly adversely affected by being a member of the EU?Steve and Janet Hoggervia emailCut political ties with the EU I voted to leave the EU mainly because I do not believe we should have political ties to them. As far as I am concerned, Germany is trying to achieve politically what it failed to do in 1914 and 1939, that is to control Europe. I also cannot understand why we have to negotiate this, that and the other with the EU. All it needs is for our Government to insist that the Maastricht Treaty is cancelled, as far as we are concerned, allowing us to revert back to a free trade area. In fact, at that time, we should have had a referendum to decide if the people wanted political unity with the EU. We should just insist on cancelling the Maastricht Treaty.Fred Wells via email