Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where have our manners gone?

I've been noticing lately that the manners of people here in America have seriously gone to hell. People are rude, they're pushy, and everything is someone else's fault. Now, I'm sure we can all think back to times, perhaps even in the recent past, where we've been guilty of this. Being rude, too much in a hurry, too lazy to hold that door open for the person behind you. Maybe you weren't willing to let someone in front of you at that stop sign, or something that was just an innocent mistake really pissed you off and you over reacted? I know I have. But this goes even beyond these things, though they are at the root of our problems. Here are some things that I've noticed lately, that really annoy me. (in no particular order).

Passenger guy on my last southwest airlines flight. I am aware that you are 150 lbs heavier than me and you could kick my ass, but that gives you no right to cut in front of me in line. B11 is not the same as B07, and yes, they do have the number system for a reason. It's not "close enough" or "approximate." 11 is bigger than 7. I know you know this, so just get in line and stop feeling like you deserve to get in line before me.

Speaking of airlines. Here's two more. 1 - you are allowed one regulation size carry on and one bag to go under your seat. You know the rules so why don't you follow them? Do you think they don't apply to you, Mr. six ton duffel bag that you try to cram into that tiny space in the overhead so my bag doesn't fit? And you, Mrs. I have 3 bags and I don't want to keep any of them at my feet. And 2 - If you're in row 12 and I'm in row 11, I get to get off the plane before you. You cannot just push your way in front of me. Wait your turn.

And this one occurred while I was in the Holocaust Museum this weekend in Washington DC. There were 4 or 5 distinct adults, not children, but adults who were talking. And quite loudly for that matter. It's the Holocaust Museum people, have some respect. When I went there 10 years ago, you could hear a pin drop. Now I could barely concentrate on what I was reading with all the noise around me. Where have our manners gone?

And this one is just a general grievance. Servers at a restaurant. I'm perfectly fine with tipping you 20% for doing your job and making my experience pleasant. But if you are pissy, if you are rude, if you royally screw up my order, do not feel that you are simply 'entitled' to this 20%. It's a tip. It's called a tip, because we are tipping you for doing a good job. If I don't do my job, I don't get paid. It's that simple. Your job is to be pleasant and bring me my warm food. No, I do not think that you are below me in some way, but I do think part of your job is to be pleasant.

And those are just four things that I've noticed in the last few days. Perhaps this acceptability for rudeness comes from a sense of entitlement somehow? We all believe that we are entitled to this wonderful life and others should go out of their way to give it to us. The federal government should bail us out for our mistakes. We should sue someone just because they cough on us or look at us the wrong way. I think we all need to take a good look and remind ourselves every day that we are not 'entitled' to something unless we've done the work to earn it. And maybe if we'd pay a little more attention to those around us and just smile once in a while, the world would be a lot friendlier. So I encourage you, in the next day or two or three, to do something nice for someone you don't know. Open the door for them, say excuse me before you push your way through. Help make this world a better place.


Tanner said...

Haha! You sound like a bitter old lady. Granted, everything you said was true, but throw a "whippersnapper" in there next time for effect.

Shelley said...

Haha, I do sound like an old lady. I think I was cranky from traveling and having not exercised enough. Got on the bike this morning, hurt like hell, but felt great!

Christopher J. Bottaro said...

Everything you said about the tip thing was right on.