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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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ExCUSE Me! Has Common Courtesy Become A Thing of the Past?
Is it just me or are people crabbier, ruder and less courteous than once was the norm? Have you ever received an email without any sort of greeting or salutation, but which ‘demands’ that you must do such-and-such for him/her and right now as well? Or perhaps had a parking spot stolen? Been given the one-finger salute? Been behind the person in the ten-items only line who has at least twice that amount? (C’mon! I know that you count them, too!) Held the door open for someone who obviously thinks that it must be your job or something and so has no need to thank you for YOUR courteous gesture? Tell us your horror stories! What can we do to make the world just a little better mannered?
For some background info, talking points and helpful suggestions, see: Courtesy by Chuck Gallozzi.
| Reponses: There are 97 responses posted to this question.
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| Retail Jobs... ||Oct 17th. at 3:22:21 am EDT|
|Lavender Feline (Denver, CO) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I've worked at many retail jobs but the WORST is working at video stores. I currently work at a Blockbuster and you wouldn't believe the way people treat you! Let me just say - if you don't want late fees then TURN YOUR MOVIES IN ON TIME! If you don't like how much the rentals cost then RENT SOMEWHERE ELSE! O.o
I have had *so many* people say things like "I just hope you know your company is a HUGE rip off and you can get this dvd SO MUCH cheaper at Best Buy or K-Mart!" Well, why don't they go there, then?!
"I turned those movies in on time! I swear it! You guys didn't check them in! Your computer is late! BLAH BLAH BLAH!"
Let me tell you - even if it ISN'T the store's fault (which it is only probably 5% of the time) I will take off fees for people if they are polite. Almost everyone that rents yells at me, even if they don't have fees.
Everyone has something to complain about.
Remember: The customer service people that work at the places you shop in might be younger and more uneducated than you, but if you're nice to them you're going to get treated well. Be rude and we aren't as prone to going out of our way for you.
| Let's Blame Society. ||Oct 17th. at 4:51:15 am EDT|
|Chris (Tokyo, Japan) ||Age: 18 - Email |
We haven't always had the internet, nor the television, automobile, or even the phone. As these devices have dawned, they seem to have streamlined communication and interaction to the degree that we can live and survive without ever needing to see the face or hear the voice of another living person. And while the majority of us of course have a degree of interpersonal interaction throughtout the day, I'd venture to say that it's generally become weaker and shallower than in times before.
Quite simply, we're with people less, we interact with them less, and even when we do, we're all the more detatched.
Just look at a child who spends hours watching television who would once have played outside with the neighborhood kids; look at the millions upon millions of single-passenger car commuters who once walked or took a train; look at the empty stands of local sports teams whose fans now sit home watching televised professionals; look at the roaring dance halls of the earlier century that don't even exist anymore; look at online banking, and think to when the tellers used to greet you by name; look at the handwritten letter, which nearly demanded a degree of etiquitte and politeness, compared to the blunt and formless emails we get today; look at old communities, complete with a thriving downtown and vibrant neighborhoods, and then look at the faceless stretches of sprawl and suburbia, where the town center is a conglomerate mall and our neighbors five doors away are no more familiar than neighbors five states away; simply look at the unending facets of our life that have starved the interpersonal, interactive sense of community that once was the very definition of civilized life.
We've created so many devices and means to make our lives convenient and interconected, and yet it seems we've never had to endure so much anxiety and isolation. Our countless amenities created in the guise of improving communication have done little but impede and weaken it.
So when we see a society that has lost its sense of etiquite, and when "please" and "thank you" seem as antiquated terms as "golly gee" and "fiddlesticks," I think we only need to look around us to understand why. Even as we're deluged in stimulation, where communication and information have never flown more freely, I think we've lost many of the links that connected us the world we live in. And as this happens, courtesies which used to be indispensible have now gone the way of the corner grocery store. We can now pour out a stream of anger, indifference, and inconsideration without the slightest ramifications.
Think of how telling it is when salespeople today need to undergo thorough training simply to know how to treat clients with a bit of courtesy. And on the flip side, think how effortlessly we can growl and complain right in someone's face without ever realizing how inconsiderate we're being.
Anyway, next time we hold the door open for someone, it's just a little something to think about.
| Rude = Social Ignorance ||Oct 17th. at 4:52:36 am EDT|
|Araelus Stormwolf (England) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Just for the record, I work as a Security Officer working in a benefits/welfare office, and in England, that means unarmed. I know that in the States many are armed, I have to make do with a my ready wit, thick skin and a smile. Perhaps a sidearm would act as a deterant to the ignorant. (Not that I'm advocating Violance you understand. It's just that sometimes I'd like to throw the occaisional Lightning bolt.) I can't even write down some of the things, that I've been called. This wouldn't be published if I used such language, but I get called Animal, Vegetable and mineral, and get told to do things that are bordering on the impossible, my spine doesen't bend that way. So Screwing myself is out of the question. I just smile at them, I'm six foot tall and kinda bear-shaped. So I get these halfwits making weight jokes. They also mumble these just loud enough for me to hear as I pass them. If they had anything of note to say, thay should stand up and say it to my face. But they're cowards, So remember when this when someone calls you a name, you should pity them. When they're rude, rather than get mad, pray that they get smarter. It's dumb to be rude. Only stupid people are rude in my opinion. these are just the socially ignorant.
| Not Dead - But Very Ill ||Oct 17th. at 8:34:38 am EDT|
|Trish Telesco (New York) ||Age: 42 - Email - Web|
I travel regularly and am amazed at how many times when I use the words "please" "thank you" "sir" or "mam" do I hear this response: Wow, I haven't heard that in a while - thanks! That's really sad IMO, and in fact I've begun sharing with people the need to make "common courtesy" really COMMON! Like so many things in life, we didn't appreciate how much those little words and phrases meant until many people in a couple generations never actually learned them!
The key is first changing our own behavior. We can't bitch about courtesy if we don't give it. Next, teach our childre in word and deed. Every time my kids go to a friend's house I remind them to mind their "Ps and Qs" and always ask the other parents if they were mannerable. Additionally my 16 year old is constantly getting the lecture about "it's not just WHAT you say - it's HOW you say it"
I know that I can only make a lasting difference in my little corner of the world, one day and one person at a time, but I'm going to try. I loved the idea of random acts of kindness - paying the guys toll behind you, saying "have a nice day" and really meaning it. We have become thoughtless with our words, and actions followed in kind.
I hope it changes. I think we can help bring back the fine art of courtesy, but we have to begin in our own back yards.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Are Their Lives So Miserable......... ||Oct 17th. at 9:35:56 am EDT|
|Phoenix (South Carolina) ||Age: 45 - Email |
In my opinion, those who show anger, hostility, rudeness, etc...
towards others are in and of themselves miserable and unhappy...
with their life, with their situations, with their family problem, and most
of all with themselves.
I was raised to show manners and concern for others. It was
basically drilled in me from the time I could understand directions.
Like others I worked in Retail for afew years. For the most part I found
if you show others respect then they will return it..But there are those
few that just don't get it...
I appreciate when someone does something for me that would not otherwise
be done..and I always respond to them even if it just a "Thank You" and a smile.
Next time someone is rude or obnoxious to you, remember, they probably
don't love or care for themselves..so how can they love or care for others.
This is not meant to be an excuse for them. Just a sad reality.
| Do As You Would Be Done By, As My Old Granny Might Have Said ||Oct 17th. at 12:42:30 pm EDT|
|Adorian (Florida) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Well, I've worked in payroll and, coincidentally, I've also had to call payroll to find out why they screwed my pay up on more than one occasion. I therefore know from experience that if you want anything doing, a mistake corrected, (your pay any time soon) then you stay civil for the sake of pure self interest, iffor no other reason. If you want someone to do you a favour then you have to make them want to. If you want someone to calm down and stop throwing abuse at you, you need to make them feel like you actually want to resolve their problem - don't give them anything back but courtesy. Courtesy, in my experience, is contagious. And even if the person you're dealing with doesn't catch it from you, hey, you're the better person, right? And maybe, just maybe it'll give them food for thought when they've gotten over their hissy fit.
To me courtesy is about being aware that, strange though it may seem, the world does *not* revolve around me. Whether calling, writing, emailing or dealing with people face to face I try to think about how the situation appears from their point of view. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone did that? Say after me: "Yes it would!"
As for time keeping, don't get me started. OK, so I'm really bad at it but I *know* I'm likely to be 15 minutes late for whatever I'm doing and I warn people accordingly. Mostly my friends just tell me an earlier time so we're all happy, but if it's really important then I make myself be early. (Early I can do, just not on time!). Unfortunately it does seem that a lot of people (yes, it's not merely a pagan affliction in my experience) really hold no value for other people's time. Forty-five minutes late for a two hour class? What were you thinking? Obviously not about how you'd feel if someone did that to you.
Sorry, started to drift into a rant. To answer the question, I don't know. Maybe in "The Good Old Days" (tm) there was less travel, less email, less telephone - less ways to get in immediate contact with strangers. With a letter you have plenty of time to think about what you're saying before you actually comunicate it to the addressee, plus there's politeness inherent in the structure. Maybe also, back in "TGOD" (tm) communities knew each other better so there was more benefit to being courteous (everyone else in your town wouldn't bitch behind your back about how rude you were).
Oh, and rude drivers? That's just people who don't have the self awareness to realise that they're behaving in a primitive territorial way and that actually they don't own the fifteen foot radius around them. We should pity them, not try to teach them a lesson by, oh, I don't know...cutting them up or tailgating? Cos when we do the lesson teaching thing they, oblivious to their previous rudeness, are probably just thinking, "Jeez, what's their problem? How rude!" End that cycle now!
Yes, alright, I've said more than enough and should just move on. Thanks for letting me vent. :-)
| Spreading Courtesy ||Oct 17th. at 3:20:44 pm EDT|
|Catdra (smalltown in Texas) ||Age: 42 - Email |
I try to be polite ESPECIALLY since I have a temper. Many,many times I have had to hold my breath or walk away. Whats worse I work for a private ambulance company people will cut us off on the road or will not let us change lanes. This happens even when we are going lights and sirens!!!! The only solution is to try and keep on being courteous and pray that your courtesy is catching! After all what you send out comes back to yoou threefold!
| Thing Of The Past ||Oct 17th. at 3:49:30 pm EDT|
|WHN (Helena MT) ||Age: 44 - Email |
Yes, common courtesy is athing of the past.
Why? Because courtesy is no longer common, it is rare!
Seems the same thing applys to common sense.
| No Common Courtesy Nowadays At All ||Oct 17th. at 4:25:42 pm EDT|
|Courtney (Erie PA) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Yes common courtesy is gone. I was brought up to say please and thank you, but many of my peers were not. I still am quite courteous, but if someone does not treat me with repect back then I am not rude, but I don't go out of my way for them again either. With the internet things have become so impersonal now adays that I think many people have forgotten how to be courteous. I think it is something that needs to be taught especially to our children.
And in response to the person about ambulances and stuff. I used to be a volunteer EMT and when people would find that out they would automatically complain about how slow the ambulance service was in our small town. Being a small town it had very few roads wide enough for two cars let alone more than two so if you didn't get out of the way for the ambulance then the ambulance was stuck with no way of going around except maybe driving on the sidewalk. It never failed that shortly after that conversation with someone I would see that same person's car right in front of me going down main street not pulling over for the lights and sirens of my ambulance.
Just my thoughts.
| Common Courtesy ||Oct 17th. at 7:43:20 pm EDT|
|Greenearth (Florida) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I work in a grocery store and Its all about retail of some sort. When speaking to a customer some just act like you are not there. Basically do your job and don't worry about how I am doing. I was brought on 'Yes sir or Yes Mame'-'Thank you and Please'. I teach my kids on just the little things like opening the door for someone and always making sure that they say 'Thank you or Please.
Our society has lost a lot of that over the past. Like it doesn't matter or they just don't care. 'Like if they don't do it why should I'-That type of attitude.
The best thing is to continue to have common courtesy even when that next person isn't.
| Courtesy - Not Quite Dead, But On Its Way ||Oct 17th. at 8:02:40 pm EDT|
|Shae O'Herne (Apache Junction, Arizona) ||Age: 44 - Email |
As a strong proponent of excellence in customer service, I have noted the demise of courtesy for some time. I can't say if it has any relation to the increase in technology or what, but it should not matter how busy someone is or how tired they are, people should remember to treat others the way they wish to be treated. I teach my children two versions of that philosophy: The Law of Three AND The Golden Rule. It matters not to me what religion these adages were born in, they make sense. If you want people to treat you nice, then treat them nice. Obviously, you won't always be treated nicely, but don't make it your business to beat the others to the ugly side of town, if you know what I mean. Rudeness is only a small step from violence, and if we watch the news at all these days, we know that the line is being crossed more and more every day.
The only way to even begin to change the tide is for each of us to make an extra effort to exemplify what we see as good behavior, good judgment, and good attitude. Those of us who are parents have to teach our children the same - not in a military "yes, sir" "yes, Ma'am" sort of way, but in a kind "Please" and "Thank you" sort of way. Some of the laxity we see today may be a direct response to militarily imposed control by extrememly strict upbringing.
As a society, perhaps we need to stop worrying about what is "Politically Correct" and think about what is right or kind. Stop regulating so much behavior, so that people have a chance to act out of their own hearts. Who really knows the answer? Certainly not I. But as a Pagan I believe that we do each have the power to begin to create change, and to add positive energy to the universe through our own behavior and through spellwork and prayer.
Anyway - Blessed Be to all, and good luck to us as we try to make the world a better place!
| From My Point Of View ||Oct 17th. at 9:03:39 pm EDT|
|Athais (Harrisburg) ||Age: 45 - Email |
As a nurse, I am trained to observe what goes on around me. One thing that I see is tired, worn out people running here and there but never happy. They want the most out of life and feel that 'taking it all in' and 'doing everything' is the way to acheive the most of life. They measure themselves by how high they can go up the corporate ladder or by how much money they make or by how many possessions they have. I measure myself by how I treat others and how many people I make smile. The key to this 'courtesy' thing is in what a person places value upon. If they value those people that are aggressive and care only for themselves, unfortunately they will pattern themselves after those people.
I once had a patient who barked orders to the nurses. He never was nice no matter how nice he was treated. I asked him one day why he treated people this way and he replied, "So I get what I want." That's the key. People want to 'get what I want' without realizing that true living is not in the getting but in the giving.
I have found that people are getting ruder and ruder everyday. Where I work, some of the doctors are very rude to the nurses because they want to get what they want. I am not one to be abused so I walk away telling them to look me up when they can be civil. I do the same for others who treat me poorly and when on the telephone I hang up.
I think that the television has alot to do with the way people act today. People view shows where characters disrespect each other in the most abominable ways. Some call it comedy but I call it bad behavior reinforcement. Additionally, I have often felt that people who are disrespectful to others don't like themselves. When one disrespects others one disrespects themselves because how others view you will be in a negative way. Nobody wants to really be viewed that way, do they? That is why I say that one disrespects themselves when disrespecting others.
There is, also, a lessening of the value of humans. Babies are thrown away, old people beaten, women raped, children starved and abused, etc. I think this, also, comes into play.
Until the value of humans can be raised, until what one values as success in life is raised, rudest will always be present. Unfortunately, it is passed down from generation to generation. One should not tolerate rudeness. Being rude in return is not the answer. But, when I walk away from someone abusing me, I am showing respect for myself. To not do so is condoning the behavior which only perpetuates the problem. I have noticed that people respond to this. It calls attention to the bad behavior. I have, also, noticed that people are not rude to me because I am not rude to them. I weigh every word and action before saying or doing it. What I reap in return is politeness.
In summary, when dealing with rude people it is best not to reduce yourself to their level and be rude back. They have to look at themselves in the mirror and live with who they are and how they treat others. So do you.
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