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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 81 - 10/13/2002
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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| May I Borrow Your Phone Please? ||Oct 20th. at 12:37:42 pm UTC|
|Shawnel (Montana, USA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
My husband and I had invited over friends for dinner. It was one of my best friends from childhood and her new husband. I didn't care for her husband because he was selfish and unbearably rude but I hoped that wouldn't keep my friend and I apart. I had really outdone myself for the dinner. Home made chicken pot pie with my mother's special recipe crust, home made mashed potatoes with fresh garden herbs, and fresh picked corn on the cob from a farm down the road. I knew he liked apple pie so I had bought one for dessert. When they arrived I was pleased because her husband seemed to have his best manners. He even politely asked if he could borrow my phone for just a minute. As I walked back into the kitchen to check on dinner I heard him ordering a pizza on the phone he had so politely asked to borrow.
| Customer Service/Plug And Pray ||Oct 20th. at 11:30:41 am UTC|
|Wyldcard, Carole Richard (Toronto, ON) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I've been working in telecom as a Bilingual Customer Care Rep (French-CAN) for over three years. I answer calls from all over North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. I like my work. Most of the time, I get to speak to some really interesting people. People who remember my name, who are courteous, etc. These are the people who are responsible for me enjoying my work.
Sometimes, I get really nasty people. I can understand those who want to vent because they've had bad cell phone service overseas or have received an error on their bill. It happens and I help when I can. What I don't understand are those people who think that just because I'm a girl I can't possibly help them with their technical issues. Or people who are so angry, they don't bother to let me help them.
I work varied hours and I love/hate the evening night shifts. I enjoy the really off the wall calls (like Richard Dean Anderson asking for help using a satellite phone) but I dread the heavy breathers and the drunks who tie up my lines trying to get my phone number/address, etc.
I know that customer service has a bad wrap, but the company I work for is really great. Hold times are less than 30 seconds and we don't have the maze of answering machines to navigate through. My co-workers are nice people, well-trained, but we get all get frustrated after the third and fourth times of being told to *** off during a shift.
I don't think manners, good and bad alike, are the result of good/bad parenting. My family is bigoted throughout and the high school I attended festered resentment between the French-speaking and English-speaking students who attended it. Good manners are behaviours that come naturally when people acknowledge and respect others around them. Good manners are a by-product of compassion.
Other than work, there is one pet peeve that really gets under my skin. I've seen it throughout the pagan community (both in person and online). I'm a solitaire with no historically-proven tradition. I've been unable to find a tradition that "sings" to me, so I've made do with "borrowing" aspects from different traditions, from Native traditions to Celtic to Greek to Chinese. Whenever I explain this to historically-proven traditionalists (either solitaires or those part of a craft), I've been shown a lot of disrespect. I've been called a 'wannabe' and dubbed a 'plug and pray pagan' (quick note, I actually liked this term, but the person who used it admitted to using it in a depreciative way). I have never tried to tell others what to do, but when I stand up for what I believe in, it seems my voice matters less than others. I don't pretend that I know everything (for the record, I don't) and I don't pretend that my path is better than anyone else's (it's just the best one for me). I respect others and would request others to respect me and the path I have chosen.
| Common Courtesy Is On It's Way OUT! ||Oct 20th. at 10:53:40 am UTC|
|HeatherPhoenix (Leesburg, GA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
YES! I totally agree that common courtesy is on the endangered list. I would like it if cashiers would treat me as if they're glad I choose to patron their business and contribute to their paychecks instead of like it's "killing" them to ring my purchase. I would appreciate being waved at with the whole hand instead of the middle finger. I could go on. I work in health care, in a hospital. I would like to see health care workers be more courteous to patients. Think for a moment and ask yourself this question: How would you feel if it were you in the bed? How would you feel if it were a memeber of your family or a friend? Folks already feel bad-they are in the hospital! Rude, uncaring health care workers only make the situation worse. Smile, be genuine. Say yes ma'am and no sir; please and thank you. It doesn't hurt and it isn't hard. Compassion and politeness goes a long way towards helping our patients feel better and recover more quickly.
| I Just Wrote A Paper On That At A University Were I Am At! ||Oct 19th. at 9:45:02 pm UTC|
|Melissa Cundiff (KY) ||Age: 27 - Email |
WHO SAYS WE’RE RUDE?
Lately it seems, you can’t get through a day without someone stressing you; doctors are rude, the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, cell phone bullies are everywhere, there are jerks at work, or at the supermarket, or you’re dealing with an HMO or cable company’s phone menu. Chances are you’re going to be treated impolitely. Nine out of ten people (88%) feel that bad manners are a serious problem and it’s getting worse. Nine out of ten Americans’ think that bad manners increase opportunities for violence. More than eight in ten people, both with children and without children agree that bad parenting has become the failure to instill good behavior in our young children and this is the starting place of bad manners.
Violence and American Youth was a project I undertook in sociology and in the research I found a national survey that found that 43% of high school and 37% of middle school boys believe its ok to hit or threaten a person who makes them angry. Nearly one in five (19%) of the girls agree. Are students morally adrift? Almost three out of four (71%) said they cheated in the previous year, 35% of students surveyed had stolen something from a store, and 47%—almost half—could get a gun if they wanted to. What’s going on? We’re rude and we’re mean; there’s road rage, air rage, cell phone rage, boat rage, desk rage, car alarm rage, and driver rage who honk at some people on crutches. According to my research, there’s also “funeral rage”—people actually flip the bird and cut off funeral processions.
The home is the foundation of all good things and the manners that win respect must be taught at the home circle. A child who has pleasant, courteous parents, who seek to inculcate simple maxims of good behavior are fortunate, and starts out in life with an advantage over the children that is not so instructed. There are many well-bred people who would not for the world transgress a rule of politeness, but who neglect laying down any guidelines for their children. Thinking possibly that when they are older they will naturally acquire that ease of manner which is essential to success in this world, they may possibly do so particularly, if the little children are of good dispositions and are imitative. However, that does not relieve the parents of their duty in the matter. They owe it to their children and to society, to instruct them on how to be gentle, courteous, and, above all, self-denying. Raising a polite child means teaching your child to live by the Golden Rule. Before your child can treat others like he or she wants others to treat them. They have to learn how to empathize, to be able to think through an action before doing it, and to judge how the consequences of their actions will affect them, and others. Therein lays the basis of a moral person. An apology helps your child accept responsibilities for a wrong and provides a tool to make things right again. Mark Twain once said, “A man should not be without morals; it is better to have bad morals than none at all”.
It is sad that rage has become out of control in this world. Why is it so acceptable to become a destructive member of society? The media has one of the biggest impacts on shaping our young youth to become abnormally angry at the world around them. On television, it is acceptable; due onto others what they have done to you. Aggressiveness is spawning from the media's dark view of the world. Destruction and rage attracts viewers and attracting viewers is the goal of the hungry media. Unfortunately, people are somewhat influenced by the violence they see and begin to accept it as normal, Parents have the single most influential in their children’s upbringing. They teach mostly by example and if they are not good parents, their kids turn out to be bad parents themselves. Rage stemming from childhood is the underlining cause of most disrespectful adults. The more anger a person possess the less room there is for other emotions such as love, compassion, or faithfulness.
| Excuse Me - Lost Art ||Oct 19th. at 6:09:31 pm UTC|
|Debra (Massachusetts) ||Age: 37 - Email |
"Excuse Me" is part of the lost art of common courtesy. A little kindness goes a long way. Luckily, I was raised with these now so-called "old fashioned" ways.
| Politeness ||Oct 19th. at 3:20:18 pm UTC|
|Katherine (LaGrange, Ohio) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I'd read in a few of the responses that people are often annoyed with the average retail or fast food worker. Let me shed a little light. As someone who worked in fast food for a year, here's what I went through...
I've had food thrown at me.
I've had drinks dumped on me.
I've been cussed out more times than I can count.
I've been spit at, repeatedly.
I was brought up, as well as trained, to be polite at all times. But if I'm not exactly cheerful and smiling, after being informed by a 60year old lady that our "service ******* ***** so ******** badly, that if she had a gun she'd shoot me, you'll have to forgive me. *chuckles* I think I almost cried after that one.
I've had patrons approach me after a confrontation witha customer and ask why we didn't call the police. They usually looked shocked when I tell them it's normal for me to be threatened by staggering drunk men three times my size.
Sadly, yes, politeness has gone down the drain. Our society is one of instant gratification and Lady help the one who stops us from getting that immediately.
| Ravenrose ||Oct 19th. at 2:03:16 pm UTC|
|Cassandra Machemer (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I'm 34 years old and back in school full time. I spend most of my day with younger students. Aren't manners being taught anymore???? Don't we hold the dorr for people anymore??? It's not even a feminist thing. I mean I'll gladly hold the door for a man, its just the common courtesy i was instilled with. The other day a guy was holding the door for 2 of this fellow male buddies, but when it was my turn he walked in front of me and there I was to grab the door for myself. Come on, he couldnt be nice and hold it for one more????? And whatever happend to chivalry??? Can't a guy hold a door for women anymore??????? Ok, ill get off my soap box, lol
| Mostly... ||Oct 19th. at 1:27:10 pm UTC|
|Treasa (PA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Yes, I think it mostly has. I try to be polite and courteous but unfortunately when people are rude to me I want to be rude right back. For some reason some people think it's all right to just ram right past you with their strollers and carts. I'm not bashing people with children but some people with children act like it's all right to be pushy and impolite just because they have their children with them. Like I said I'm not bashing people with children but in my area I have had a lot of bad experiences with people like that. I'm just saying it's not that hard to say, "excuse me." Once my husband and I were in a Wal-Mart and these 2 young girls were blocking the way to an aisle and he said, "excuse me." The one girl said she was sorry and moved out of the way and then the other one said, "I'm not." The one girl's attitude was completely uncalled for. It was like she thought it was "cool" to be rude and nasty. What she didn't realize is that she made herself look like an idiot. Another thing people don't do, that I consider discourteous, is that they won't acknowledge a person who is extending courtesy back to them, for example moving out of the way to let them through. I used to work in a department store and some of the attitudes I got from customers were simply atrocous. It's like they didn't know how to say thank you and didn't have the common courtesy to speak to me because I worked there and therefore was a lower being to them.
It doesn't take much time or effort to be a courteous person. It's not that difficult to say, "please," "thank you," "excuse me," "pardon me," or to at least smile at the person who is extending courtesy back to you.
| Pass The Courtesy Please ||Oct 19th. at 12:35:56 pm UTC|
|fluffy bunny (idaho) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I can't say that courtesy is a thing of the past, but it surely isn't in danger of becoming the norm. The worst case scenario I experienced was when I had knee surgery. People in the stores would knock into me basically shove me out of the way. I couldn't believe how inconsiderate alot of people were. I was on my way to healing when my physical therapist had me do some excercise that broke my kneecap. Back to surgery and the immobilizer. This all happened around xmas time so everyone was expectedly rushing about. I decided not to let this stop me from a family visit in another larger city. I had to run to this huge shopping mall to get a few last items, and I was really dreading it. I could not believe the difference in the way I was treated. People were stepping aside, opening doors, telling me to get ahead of them in line, I was flabbergasted. This in a city 4 times of the size I came from. I really appreciated the way I was treated, and I will never forget it. I try to put myself in the other guys shoes alot more since that happened. I think alot of the reason people are rude is that we are all in such a hurry to be somewhere, nowhere, and are focused on that. The world is a pretty fastpaced busy place. Maybe we should slow down a little, and think about the other guy.
| My Thoughts... ||Oct 19th. at 11:11:24 am UTC|
|Sondra (Jax, Fla) ||Age: 53 - Email |
Yes, “common courtesy” appears to have become a thing of the past. There are a lot of reasons/explanations as revealed by these posts. There is no mistaking rudeness for directness, however.
When did it become acceptable to refer to acquaintances as friends? This familiarity is astonishing to me. In an effort to make the world a softer, kinder place, it seems that we take people into our confidences inappropriately. This always leads to problems.
When did people stop teaching their children there is a time and place for everything? People who speak their minds without thinking about who could be harmed are irresponsible in every sense of the word. Do no harm is an excellent mantra to use before providing an opinion or thought on any subject that pops in the old brain.
There is no easy solution. The Internet has made millions of people friends, lovers and even brought them together in marriage or life arrangements. This sharing of ourselves, feelings, events and hopes and dreams is good as long as every one is doing it. All too often, there are folks out there who, for whatever reason, take that vulnerability and use it to their own ends.
We can each set our own examples, live our lives doing “harm to none” and eventually the tide will turn again.
| Values ||Oct 19th. at 3:32:20 am UTC|
|Lindsay (East Bay, CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I think a lot of it comes down to our values, what our parents teach us. Parents seem to be slacking off in the parenting department these days, teaching their children that it is okay to judge and be disrespectful to others. People think that just because they have more money or nicer things that it is their given right to walk all over people that they think are less fortunate. Even thought they might not be, they just choose to spend their money in a more important way, rather than materialistic things that have absolutely no meaning. I am so sick of everybody judging by clothes, cars, houses, or whatever it might be. So a person dresses differently, 9 times out of 10 I bet that person is a lot happier than the person with the $3,000.00 suit! Our society has made judging a priority. Starting with famous people who make millions and millions of dollars a year, but are the first ones to bitch when they can't get 2.5 million instead of 2 million. These are the people who don't even deserve it, too. Why don't we use the money to go towards somebody who is making a difference, instead of memorizing a line. Yeah, most people do give money to charities, but why don't they try working for minimum wage and give the rest to the charities? Then they wouldn't be able to live up to the standard that they have set for everyone else. People need to learn to just be themselves and not to worry about what others think of them. We would all be better off and a hell of a lot happier.
| Mostly Driving ||Oct 18th. at 11:34:10 pm UTC|
The one reason that I hate to drive, above the people weaving through traffic, and even the tailgaters, is the people who won't let anyone merge. They are the people who, as soon as they see that blinker light come on, step on the gas and rush to fill the gap. I don't know why this happens, but it is happening more and more. Sometimes it might just be bad timing on my part, but even my out of state cousin commented on it when he came to visit. That is just my observation.
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