Carsten Becker writes:
> But then I've been taught that English speakers often
> address each other by their first name -- much more quickly
> at least than Germans, who are rather formal in this
> respect. E.g. I'm only 20 but I'm throughout referred to as
> "Herr Becker" at work. At vocational school, teachers use
> _Sie_ and the first name usually. It's also strange that a
> co-worker of mine in the department I'm currently in is _Sie_
> for me as a matter of fact despite of her only being 4 years
> older than me, while a co-trainee of mine is also 24 and he's
> definitely _Du_.

At university, 'Du' is common among students of whatever age.  So when
people switch from uni to work, they often feel strange by the switch
of addressing, especially because it does not have much to do with the

And since AbsInt has emerged completely from people from university,
we're all 'Du'.

But I really get annoyed by Ikea having started to address their
customers as 'Du' on all the signs.  Probably that's considered much
more cool(tm) and dynamic(tm).  It feels like an insult to me -- I
don't know them anonymous advertising and managing people and my only
potential interest is of purely commercial nature, so 'Du' is totally
out of place.

IIRC, the employees are also forced to use 'Du' among them, which, I
think, is none of a company's business to decide.  Quite annoying.

Anyway, when customers and personel talk, I think it is quite
impossible to enforce 'Du', because it would be direct insult.  At
least I addressed them with 'Sie' and I did not notice any direct 'Du'
from them.