So it's not cultural difference. It's mere incompetence. Here's the reply I received yesterday from F*** (nice that her name has the same number of letters as another, very favored and often used, word in my vocabulary) at the PPA. Note that in the previous entry, Cultural Difference: Part I, I never used any title in any self-reference. And also note that the first reply that I received from F*** did not contain any salutation and that her tone was rather curt. But look at this new email. See how her tone has changed. Once she checked the facts in her files and found a) that she was wrong and b) those two pretty little letters that now introduce my name: the 'D' and the 'r', well, there's no way around it -- once F*** realized that, she changed. She grew... polite. How powerful is the team of the 'D' and the 'r'! Of what alchemy it is capable! It can change sour apples into apple pie!
But seriously, aren't I the same person who -- just last Friday -- didn't even deserve a salutation from her? There's a lesson here somewhere, but it's not about treating people with special letters like they're extra-special. It's about treating people, in general, with kindness. (It's a lesson I could stand to review every now again, myself. I know. You don't have to remind me.)
Here's F***'s email from yesterday (I will not comment on grammar, style, or punctuation. I will leave that to you):
Dear Dr DumbOkie
Further to your email sent at the end of last week, I have looked into your comments further and have discovered that there was a typo on the database and your flat is in fact 2/1, which links with Royal Mail.
We apologise for the confusion caused and we will be in contact with your utility suppliers to rectify the situation. If convenient we would like to ask you to come into our office to resign a corrected lease at any time. Our offices are open between 9-5 Monday-Friday.
Unfortunately as we do not have any connection with the flat next to yours we are unable to assist you in retrieving your mail.
Kind regards F***
This morning I visited F*** at her office and we signed a new lease together. She's promised to identify the appropriate government office and make enquiries about the names of the owners next door so that we can retrieve my mail. That's a sweet girl, that F***.