Yes ma'am, no ma'am

You guessed it - I'm in the South for a week. No matter how many times I visit, I can never quite get used to the, "Yes ma'am, no ma'am" of it all. I often fall into the practice when I'm speaking to my family members, but it always surprises me to hear it from other people. Saying "yes ma'am" does really add something to the end of a sentence. It softens the phrase, and makes it sound just a bit friendlier. They aren't lying when they talk about Southern Hospitality - especially in this town, where everyone knows everybody.

Today, I went to go pick up some treats for my grandma's dog, Ringo. I walked into the Vet Clinic, and everyone was so friendly. Did they know my grandma? "Yes ma'am, and she is the sweetest." Did they have the treats ready? "Yes ma'am, of course, right here. Isn't Ringo the cutest dog?" The receptionist next informed me that the total was $20.96. I looked at my grandma's pre-written check of $20.95, and laughingly told them that she must have forgotten a penny. I fully expected her to say something like, "Oh don't you worry ma'am, $20.95 is perfectly fine. Bless her heart." Yet without missing a beat, the lady handed me a pen and told me to change the "5" to a "6". "Is that alright, ma'am?"

"Yes ma'am, that'll be fine", I muttered.