[LMB] OT: unexpected touch, a question

Louann Miller lqmiller at ev1.net
Mon, 17 Nov 2003 13:54:50 -0600

At 12:26 PM 11/17/2003 -0500, Arlene Medder wrote:
>In the past, when I was trying to go around someone, stand behind
>someone, etc who is obviously absorbed in what some occupation
>(reading/conversation, etc), I have touched them lightly on the
>shoulder or arm if I could not get their attention with a
>gentle 'ahem'. This is a learned behavior to prevent being stepped on,
>knocking someone over, being knocked over, etc. I have on occasion
>startled someone when I did that & I have apologised profusely in that
>event. My purpose was to prevent accidents, not cause one.
>Does anyone know an alternative?

You are behaving with impeccable manners; that's exactly what the "ahem" 
sound is for. The only suggested change I would make is an intermediate 
step between "ahem" and gentle pressure where you say the person's name, 
inquiringly, a bit louder than you said "ahem."

If you don't know the name (e.g. woman in a grocery aisle blocking the 
whole thing with her cart) I suggest "Sir?" or "Ma'am?" in the same tone of 
voice. Maybe a couple of times.