Whatever Happened to Manners?

I’m not sure if it’s only me but have manners gone the way of the old Atari 2600? I see instances of disrespect happen before me daily. Whether it is to me or other people, it seems that many people just forgot how to be nice. In this day in age, people are quick to accept a phone call or text while you are trying to converse with them. Yet, it doesn’t surprise me that people miss the point of everyday things, most importantly, simply being courteous to one another.

There are generic moments when people (I say people because adults do this just as much as teenagers) refuse to move over a seat on a local bus to let someone else sit in that row. You’ve seen those people. They are the ones that take an aisle seat and leave the one next to them empty. As the bus continues to fill, they refuse to move over to allow someone to sit down.

Other instances would include: kicking the back of someone’s seat at a movie theater and not even acknowledge it. When you call them on it, they act like you are the one being the jerk. How hard is it to lean over, be a man about it, and say sorry for what just happened? It seems that people follow the idea of ignoring a potential problem so you don’t have to deal with it. Then, when you have to deal with it, you act like a jerk as if that will make the situation easier to handle.

Another instance, which happens to me, is when you are talking to someone that wants to hear about your day yet won’t leave their phone alone to actually listen. I have had arguments with people that don’t understand their disrespectful nature. However, when it happens in reverse, they are quick to slam you for it. While people claim to be able to multitask, you will end with a question only having to repeat it later because they were so engrossed in their text to a friend.

This other instance is for working in the customer service field. If you don’t like dealing with customers, then you need another line of work. It has become harder and harder to find cashiers, sales associates or even greeters with simple manners. Think about the times you walk up to a cashier, you say hi and there is dead silence. You know the person has a personality because they engaged the person ahead of you in a conversation.

Did they use up all their conversational abilities in the previous engagement?

Did they only have a certain allocation of social pleasantries per day?

This, also, applies to us as customers. When you walk into a store and someone says hi to you, do you think you ingratiate yourself to said cashier by simply ignoring them?  Worst off, you will be the same person that will complain that no one said hi to you when you walked in? There is an old saying that goes, “reap what you sow.” Which means, be a dick to someone and don’t be surprised when they are a dick back.

I have developed some ways to overcome this and make myself laugh in the process. When I approach a cashier that has the manners of a dead rat, I make sure that they know I see how they are acting. When you say, “Hi, how are you?” and the cashier refuses to respond. Make sure your voice is audible, reply with, “I guess it truly sucks to be you then.” This will either be responded with an apology for their behavior or a continuation of said behavior.

On the flip side, when you greet a customer with a “hello” and they proceed to ignore you, make sure you have a co-worker within ear shot to reply with “I am doing well. Thank you so kindly for asking.” I worked in a couple of retail jobs that employed this approach. This will receive one of two options: they will continue to ignore you because they realized they are a complete douchebag and pretend they didn’t hear you, or acknowledge what happened and apologize. In either case, you have taken control of the situation and dealt with it in an acknowledging way.

This age of reality television, we have become obsessed with ourselves. We think that what we do and how important we are (even if it is only to ourselves) supersedes anyone else around us. One thing you need to remember is that when someone needs help, the good people will be helped first. The bigger a douchebag you are, the more inclined you are to be the last served, unless you go into Nordstroms and dress like their cliental. Remember that we are all part of the same species, as hard as it is to accept.

No one is better than another regardless of education, race, sexual orientation or political ideology. No one is better than anyone else. The day that people can understand and except that is the day this species will take a step upward on the evolutionary ladder. If you laugh and understand this, then you are on your way to a better life. If you are offended, you are the problem.



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