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Brat -- Writer's Poke #190

Panera Bread likes to know its customer. So when you place an order, they ask for your name. The local Panera still asks for your name even though they now hand out those coaster-size buzzers that let you know when your order is ready for pick up. And they still ask you for your name even if you hand them a credit card that has your name clearly imprinted on the front of it.

When I go there, I always give my name, and then I spell it out for them, just in case my tongue is overly lazy that day, or just in case the ever-attentive employee taking my order has pieces of cheese stuck in her ears.

My name is a one-syllable, four letter word. And this is what I say when they ask me my name: “Bret: B-R-E-T.”

When I pick up my order, I like to look at the receipt to see what they’ve heard me say. If they happen to spell Brett or Brent or even Brad, that’s no big deal. People often mistake a Bret for any one of those. But here’s the kicker: on multiple occasions, the name written on my receipt has been “Brat.”

And my mom doesn’t even work there.

Has anyone ever mistakenly called you by the wrong name? If you didn’t correct them, why didn’t you?

How important is your name to you? Does it bother you when other people can’t remember your name?

“I used to be a brat.” – Jonathan Brandis


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