Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Manners and Courtesy

Today I’m talking about manners. Or, more specifically, courtesy. Something’s really been bothering me lately, possibly only because I’ve seen so much of it, that I thought I’d get it off my chest. Now, I realise not everyone has been brought up to think of others before themselves, or if they have, society or whatever reason has made them change their ways and just look out for number one, but effing hell!

Let me explain. On the way to town yesterday, there was a lady pushing her baby in the buggy and also walking her dog. Yes, she took up all the narrow path, but instead of expecting her to manoeuvre her pushchair out of MY way, I stepped into the road so she could carry on her merry way with the least amount of hassle possible. After all, it’s easier for me to move for her than it is for her to move for me. I remember very well the amount of people who literally stopped in front of me when I had a pushchair, huffed and puffed, and wanted ME to move, so because of that, I don’t do it to other people. She said thank you and smiled. Brilliant. Just what I would have done if I was her, but some people expect others to do this and would have walked on as though it was their right to have me walk on the road, hoping I could get back onto the path before that beast of a truck got closer.

I do the same thing for joggers. I imagine their frustration of having to slow down or jog on the spot while they wait for me to shift my arse, so I shift it before they get anywhere near me. They can continue with their pace and everyone’s happy. I do the same for bikers. There’s a REALLY narrow path on the way home from town with uneven grass either side. If a biker had to move out of my way by going on the grass, they could go down a bloody pothole and come off their bike and fall into the damn road. Okay yes, I have heavy shopping bags in my hands, and yes, I risk standing in dog’s shit when I move off the path for them, but to me, it’s just something you DO.

Also yesterday, after I’d dropped my smallest off at school and I was leaving the cloakroom, I allowed a man to come through the door before I walked out of it. I’d dropped my child off, and he had yet to drop his off, so I thought it best I wait so he could get his child into school on time. This morning I planned to do the same, as I do every day, and you’d be amazed at how many parents shoved through that door to get out, leaving the incoming children and parents waiting in the cold.

That is all kinds of what-the-fuckery! People are just so damn rude it isn’t funny.

Have you noticed a decline in manners and courtesy over recent years? Are there only a few of us left who do simple little things for fellow humans to make their life easier? Maybe I treat others how I would like to be treated myself a little too much. Maybe this is why the decline has happened, because people have started thinking: Eff this for a laugh. What’s the point in being courteous when no other bastard does it for me?

Can we give a unanimous ARGH here?

What gets YOUR goat?


Tess MacKall said...

I was thinking about this yesterday. I was fuming because everywhere I went, people had parked their cars in such a way that they were slanted or taking up part of the next space and it made me park farther away from the stores. Not only that, some were parked in front of the stores and you had to walk way up the sidewalk to even gain access to the damn doors. Pissed me right the eff off. And there is a little grocery store I sometimes frequent because the cut of meat there is much better than anywhere else and there is a one way type of driving system there---but it never fails that someone drives the wrong way and you have to back the eff out to let them out before YOU can get it. It's obvious the damn thing is one way. There are lines and signs but do they care? NOPE.

Sarah Masters said...

Bloody sods!

What about when you come out of the store to find someone has parked so close to your door you can't even get in your car? That winds me up too.


Tess MacKall said...

That's when I look around the parking lot to see if anyone is looking at me...lol...and ding their damn door!!!!!

Faith said...

My biggest issue is the holidays. From Thanksgiving until Christmas people turn into rude, inconsiderate monsters. What's so ironic is that's the time of year folks are supposed to try to be kinder to their fellow man. Instead it's fights over parking places, the last "IT" toy of the season and who manages to snag it, cutting in line at the cash register, and so on. I hate the holidays!

In my neck of the woods, people are pretty courteous, but the one thing that seems to be a problem are rude, inconsiderate drivers.

Sarah Masters said...

Oh, Tess. I'd feel really guilty doing that. Laughing at your balls, though.

Sarah Masters said...

Same here, Faith. The people in the village are, for the most part, nice. It's when you go into the main town it gets shitty.

That cutting into line thing... God, I've been known to say loudly, "That's okay. You just cut in front of me. I don't mind. I've only been waiting in line like you were supposed to."

Guess what one person said to me? "Thanks!"


BrennaLyons said...

Personally, I don't go to stores from Halloween through Christmas, unless I absolutely have to. People are nuts, and I don't want to deal with it. I do most of my Christmas shopping online with good reason.

Yes, people are rude. What's worse, since I grew up in PA (where we are blunt but not inherently rude just to be rude), is living in New England (where people are insufferably rude and self-centered). It has made me completely intolerant of the breed. A friend raised here told me, "It's not that we don't know manners and laws. It's that we don't give a shit."

Forget going the wrong way down the isle in a parking lot. Try them going the wrong way down a one-way street or the wrong way down a divided street, because they can't be bothered to make a U-turn or go around the block as they should. I had a school bus driver run me off the road because she was on my side...with my youngest child in the front seat with me!

Try people pulling out without looking or driving on the cell phone (still legal for adults over 18 here) and causing accidents. Daily occurance around here. Try people parking sideways across someone's driveway, the entrance to a store or cemetary, or even a side street. I see it every day.

Try cars that don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, that routinely send two or three cars through an intersection AFTER the light has turned red, and that don't stop for stop signs...at all. But they ironically do stop for yield signs when they don't have to and run into other cars not stopping when they should.

The pedestrians are no better. It's no wonder that they can't drive; they can't walk, either. Pedestrians that just step out into streets with no warning, ten feet from a crosswalk, from between two cars, against the lights...and look at you like you're wrong because your car can't stop on a dime. I'm not stretching the truth here at all.

I hold doors for elderly, people with packages, and people with small children. I give up my seat on public transportation for the same. And they look surprised that I do it. When I reach a stop sign and wave through the person who was there ahead of me, they act like I'm going to pull out and hit them, because people raised here often do.

But it's the very rare person that will do something nice like that for me. Every time it happens, I want to ask, "You're not from around here, are you?"


Sarah Masters said...

Gosh, Brenna. So many arseholes around!


KelRhiasMum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KelRhiasMum said...

Since moving back to UK from Spain, we have found that people in UK have far better manners than the Spanish. That said, we now live in the North of England having lived in the South for most of our lives, and we are finding that most Northerners are far nicer, friendlier, more helpful and have better manners than many Southerners, my family memeber excepted of course ;o)

KelRhiasMum said...

I am NOT deleting my comment again because I can't spell today!!

family MEMBERS I meant!

Faith said...

Emmy, you sound like me on the cutting-in-line thing! I've been known to voice my opinion about line cutters too, but I have to say my mother is the one who embarrasses me when we're out. She's one of the nicest, sweetest people in the world, but she has no tolerance for rudeness or stupidity and can clear an area in five seconds flat. She's one major time bomb when her button is pushed!

Brenna, you're my next-door neighbor. I'm a Buckeye! And one thing you mentioned that pis**es off instantly is people who drive while talking on their cell phones. I've had two near accidents in two weeks where cell phone users/drivers nearly ran me off the road. The last one was last week. I drive a Cougar LS and met a big SUV in the MIDDLE of the road. Seriously, the woman driver was straddling the double yellow line as she talked on her darn cell phone! How I got between her SUV and a big, steep bank without wedging my car between the two or at least scraping dirt on one side and paint on the other is a miracle!!!

Nicole Zoltack said...

When I was 7 months pregnant, I still walked son #1 to the park. It's not a far way, but walking back to our house is up a very steep hill. I was walking up the hill, obviously very pregnant, it was pushing 90 that day, and some jerk wanted to turn left and mouthed off at me because I was supposed to let him turn first. Um, excuse me??? I was in a crosswalk, I had the right of way! So I told him so as he floored the gas to pass as soon as I had reached the sidewalk.

I had already been pissed because where the hill starts is at a gas station and a truck driver had positioned his truck to block access to the sidewalk. I had to do into a patch of grass next to the sidewalk to get around. Of course there was a divot in the grass and my stroller got stuck. The driver just watched me struggle.

Debbie said...

I get a lot of that at work. Rude people who believe they are your only clients and are just waiting around for you to take their call and do their bidding. NOW!

But the other thing is some of the people on the loops. For some reason, there are people out there that believe they can say anything they like, no matter if it is at the expense of another person. I don't know if they believe they can hide behind the anonymity of the computer. Like their not face to face so they feel they can say what they want. I don't know, but I've seen some pretty nasty exchanges on the groups. It makes me afraid to post to many places. Afraid that something I say innocently will be jumped on and attacked by all those who are far more superior to me. So I rarely post these days.

Just today I've seen another attack on someone. Why? If you don't agree with someone else's opinion, either politely give yours or better yet say nothing. Why start a verbal fight that embarrasses everyone including those reading the war.

Sarah Masters said...

Yo, Wend! *My sister is here. Wheee! Excited!*

I've heard northerners are more courteous. It's getting worse around here, so you'll be even more glad you live "up there", dearest. I tell you, I'm glad I don't drive. I'd be a road-rage maniac at the things people do.


Sarah Masters said...

I need your mother to come shopping with me, Faith!

Sarah Masters said...

Nicole, I feel for you on that driver. WTF? I would have said, "That's it, you just watch me struggle you...you EFFER!"

Sarah Masters said...

Oh, piddle, Debbie. I don't frequent groups anymore for that reason, among others. I prefer to let those who want to be mean to others in public like that get on with it.

Hit the delete button, love.


Faith said...

Debbie, I feel for you. I post blog announcements and frequent three groups to actually chat, but I steer clear of the others for the very reason you mentioned. The rudeness and the pettiness online is mind boggling.

Lex Valentine said...

In the office, my bestie the HR Manager and I grit our teeth when we say "Thank you" and the reply is "Uh huh", "Sure thing", or nothing at all. Does no one remember that "Thank you" has a partner named "You're welcome"?

Great post, Em!

Lily Harlem said...

We moved from the city to the countryside and I found that people in the country were not only more courteous but also friendlier. They don't seem to be in such a rush all the time. Maybe this is what makes people rude - the rat race and the traffic and the demands of living in the city. It took me a while to get out of the habit of rushing around and slow right down. I love it now.

Sarah Masters said...

Yeah, Lex. That reminds me about Halloween the other night. When the kids took a sweet from the box and said thank you, I said "You're welcome!" Ok, so I had to repeat myself several times if I had a crowd of kids at the door, but this one time the parents looked at me like I was mental. As they walked away, the mother said, "F***ed if I'd have answered them each in turn!"

Eh? She's complaining because I was polite to all her kids?

I just don't get it at all.


Sarah Masters said...

Hey Lily! Yep, I agree with you on that. Our village is cool. Laid back, slower pace, and the town isn't so bad either, but when we go into the nearest city...oh, man, get ready to meet the rudest people going.

We don't go there often.


Cassie Exline said...

So true, so true. It's like manners went out the window or stomped on and then tossed out the window. When I don't get a "thank you" I smile and say, "you're welcome!" LOUD. Boy the looks I've gotten, but I'm all smiles and sweetness. If they only knew. lol

And while we're on the subject of rudness, what happened to "excuse me"? I don't have eyes in the back of my head, so don't hit me with the cart or huff or puff just say, "excuse me." I'll move. Although I don't think that term is being taught any longer. A few times I've said it, I just get glares and no movement.

Jaime Samms said...

Not long ago, we were at the mall, going out to the parkinglot and my son (he's seven) held the door open for an elderly couple going inside. The woman stopped, turned around and smiled at me, and she had this glassy, almost teary look in her eye and she told me: "Thank you. You raise a good boy. People don't any more." That just made me sad that simply opening a door for a person could make them want to cry because it was such a rare occurrance.

Darah Lace said...

OMG, Sarah, you've hit on one of my biggest soap boxes. You sound a lot like me in that I try to anticipate the needs of others.

And I'm with you on the door thing. Nothing ticks me off more than to walk up to a set of double doors and open the one on the "flow of traffic" side only to have some lazy ass man walk through it before I can walk in. Like I am the designated door man. Like I opened the effing thing for HIM. Do people honestly think I live to open doors for them? When there's a perfectly good second door for them to open and walk through themselves?

Or when your walking up the sidewalk and there are three people coming at you and they don't form a single file and you're forced to step into the grass. I've gotten to where I stop and hold my ground to make them move. I'll second that ARGH!

Sarah Masters said...

Hi, Cassie! I'd forgotten all about "excuse me" and the cart thing! God, it seems people are just rude all over. I cracked up at you saying "you're welcome" though. Very funny.


Sarah Masters said...

OMG Jaime! You sure you don't live here? LOL. Similar thing made me cry the other week. This woman was saying goodbye to her son at the school, and he said to her, "See you later, Mum. Have a great day."

Shit, that sprouted the tears with me because he cared that she had a good day, and I said to the mother he'd made me cry. I have no doubt she's very proud of him, but she raised him so well and it shows.


Sarah Masters said...

Ah, Dara. A woman after my own heart. I HATEEEEEEEEEE those non-single-line buggers. Christ!

And yes, those who let you stand there holding the damn door. No concern on their faces that they're actually taking the damn piss.

Shit, I'm getting arsey now LOL.


Faith said...

Cassie brought up something that made me remember my days when I was a bagger at Marsh Grocery Store. I was fresh out of high school, looking into the local art college of the town I moved to, and was trying to save up enough money for a decent car so I could drive to school.

One of the duties as a bagger is to go out in the parking lot and gather carts.

One day a li'l old lady in a huge Cadillac wanted a parking spot next to the front doors. She edged the nose of the car into the space, but I was still arranging the carts there into one joined line so I could push them into the store.

Impatient--and so RUDE--she started bumping the carts with her car to make me move! I lost my temper, she reported me to the manager, and I told him I didn't care if they had a policy of "the customer is always right" or not that I would not tolerate someone using a vehicle to make me move out of their way. What would they have done if she'd hit the carts too hard, knocked me down and rolled over me? Say the customer is always right? Bull crap!

Denise said...

I think what you're seeing is an overall sense of entitlement. I don't think it helps that people are watching reality televisions shows where rudeness is glorified as being "cool." Negativity is glorified as cool. Adults should know better, but I think some kids watch this stuff and they think it's cool and their parents never tell them the type of behavior they're seeing on television isn't acceptable. What I've started doing, when other people are being rude, is to NOT get rude back or to allow myself to get riled up about it. What I've found is the more you huff and puff about it internally, the more negativity you seem to attract. I just keep on being polite.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, you've nailed a sore spot for me! I am a pedistrian almost all the time... I own a car, but it seems the hubby always has it... but it's okay, I like to walk. What drives me NUTS though... I walk to either exercise or go places... I don't mind going AROUND to pass... (if I can) but people coming at me in twos or threes in the other direction who can't get on their OWN FREAKING SIDE of the sidewalk (especially if I basically have to presse into the bushes to avoid being mowed over)piss me off. CARS who can't be bothered to slow down on rainy days so they don't dowse me in in gutter water--those people are going to HELL. People dawdling along slowly and talking and filling up the freaking hallway when I have places to go!

Totally with you that courtesy has gone WAY down hill. I think there are an awful lot of people who came of age under this instant gratification age and they just don't get it. For the most part, I think baby boomers have failed at raising pleasant people.

Faith said...

"...rainy days so they don't dowse me in in gutter water--those people are going to HELL."

ROFLMAO!!!! That is a hoot! Thank you for the laugh!

Laura G. said...

First off, excellent post, Em. And I'm sad to hear that the south where you are is heading in this direction. DH an I were there around 2000, and I was just so totally enchanted with the courtesey that everyone displayed that I came in contact with. I didn't want to leave! LOL So, I hope people wake up...everywhere! or this will be a sad little world to live in. Seriously.

Sooo....when I was 8.5 months pregnant (elephant sized) with my first child and living in a whole other state than we are now, I was coming out of a store and the guy in front of me actually looked back at me, made eye contact, and then dropped the door in my face. Here I was huffing to make it out to the parking lot, and the guy thought it would be funny to watch me scrabble with the door. Idiot...and just plain mean. Hope the effer got a good chuckle...because I'm positive his home life sucks.

After my first child was born, I was in a hobby store. I needed some fabric cut...just a half yard. Not much. But oh, the line was long. Fifteen people--yeah, I counted. (lol) Had to kill time somehow. Okay...so I got in line, right? Then this other person glances at the line and then walks up to the cutting table with a spool of lace to be cut. Demanded that their order be filled ahead of the other fifteen people standing in line. Thankfully, the girl wouldn't be bullied, to the person that they couldn't, that they had to wait in line like everyone else. So, then the 'scene' commenced: "All I NEED is an eighth of a yard of lace! You shouldn't BE so rude!" And as they tromped off to the back of the store, they yelled, "It's just ridiculous! I mean, who is RIGHT and who is WRONG here?" And they stormed off. O.M.G. Never in my life did I want to scream, "YOU ARE WRONG!" But I didn't...and nobody in line did either. That person was put into their place by the cutter, and everyone else just continued to wait their turn. But yeah...that sense of entitlement? Yep...seeing THAT all the time. Nothing in life is free. And nobody DESERVES anything. Whoever told 'em it is and they do is a lyin' fool. LMAO

Oh....but on a good note...went to Olive Garden the other day. The waitress was amazing. Seriously. She said thank you and please and you're welcome to everything. And get this...when we'd ask her for things...like my oldest likes grated cheese on his breadsticks. He says, "Can I have some cheese on my bread, please?" And she runs the grater over it and then he says, "That's good. Thanks." And she looks at him and says (I kid you not...to my 7 year old no less!)..."My pleasure." OMG!!! MY PLEASURE! I about fell outta my chair! And she ACTED like she was pleased to serve us, too, because all through our meal, she kept telling us, "My pleasure." Well, that led to a fat tip and a we spoke to the manager and raved about her service...Two adults and three little kids? Amazing.

And I am sooo going back to the UK. And yeah, guess I'll let my kids and hubby tag along too. :)

Laura G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthology Authors said...

I talk about this all of the time. When we went trick or treating Sunday, I made sure my daughter said "thank you" every time. Sometimes, she'd be saying it as she walked away. No, you say it while facing them. As she knows better, I was getting pretty upset with her. Then she started noticing that people weren't saying "you're welcome" and it bothered her. She's six.

The other day, I was picking up some food for Charlie and I. Every time the man behind the counter asked me if I wanted this or that, I'd say "yes, please" or "no, thank you." He was shocked and said, "You sound like you're from the South with all those pleases." I laughed. Nope. My parents raised me to be polite. If we weren't, you didn't eat, and you got a dressing down you'd never forget.

I'm with you, Darah. We live by a high school. Those kids will take up the entire sidewalk and not move over. So, I'll stop and wait for them to move. Most do. (g)

When someone holds the door for me, I always say "thank you." If I see someone with a stroller at a door, I'll hold it open for them. Heck, I hold doors open for others period. I don't let my daughter run around like a little hooligan when we are in line. If she misbehaves in a restaurant, I take her outside and we sit in the car. As a matter of fact, she was so difficult (tired, but no excuse) last Wednesday, the next time we are up visiting my mother and we go out to dinner, I am hiring a babysitter. I've warned her. She'll learn. Call me mean, but I don't like bratty children at the dinner table, especially when we are out at a restaurant.

Okay. Off my rant. I have work to do.

Sarah Masters said...

Oh my bloody God, Faith. That's insane!


Sarah Masters said...

Very good points, Denise. If we all did that, refusing to be riled, maybe it would make for a better world? I get arsey every so often, when I've had a day of being in town and everyone is being a pig. By the end of that time I snap and mumble things.


Sarah Masters said...

Hart! The gutter water thing. Oh. My. Goddddddddddddddddddd! I hate that too!


Sarah Masters said...

Laura...OMG @ that cutter story. Stupid-arsed lace-buyer! Jesus!

Ah, the restaurant story is a cool one.

And if you come to the UK again, come and find me!


Sarah Masters said...

Marci, those bloody school kids freak me out when they're in crowds like that.


P.A.Brown said...

There's a definite lack of manners and politeness today. It seems to be a general decline in civility.

Robert Heinlein commented on this often -- he said 2 things signaled the fall of a civilization. The first was manners, the second was dirty public bathrooms. When people stop caring about either, or see politeness as weakness, then that society is on the way toward failure.

And sadly I see it everywhere. Including in public discourse on and off TV.

Sarah Masters said...

It's a bummer, Pat, it really is.


Maggi Andersen said...

People get testy in crowded environments when they're rushed and worried. In the country village where I live there's more time to have a friendly chat, and people smile more.

Fiona said...

I'm in high schools all the time as a substitute teacher. Not all teens are rude and impolite, and the ones who are usually haven't been taught any better. I expect them to treat me and everyone else in the class with respect, and though it is a new concept for some, they all respond when corrected. I think it's a massive failing on the part of their parents who are too busy or too intent on being "friends" with their kids, and not serious about the fact that parenting involves teaching them how to be nice, polite people, not just watching as they get bigger.

Ronna Gage said...

Debbie said a mouthful of truth just a bit ago about the 'relity' shows. I especially see thisin the middle school. Kids watch this show 'you mamma' and bring it back to school. I cringe when someone makes a pot shot at someone's flasws to make a joke. I.E. mother's weight, how ugly someone is, how 'stupid' someone may act. The kids see it as being alright, but I think it's hurtful and rude.
This generation is growing up with NO social skils, and bringing it to class.

Sarah Masters said...

True, Maggi. I think I'm so used to this village where most people are polite, that when I go elsewhere it's a shock.


Sarah Masters said...

True, Fiona. I have teenagers. To me, they are all polite, but I did have one who acted surly and disinterested in school, very bored and talking, which then distracted the other children. He's not like it now, and he's certainly not been brought up that way, but he acted up for a while there.

Sometimes it isn't the parents, I've learned that with a few things now. Sometimes it's the child's personality, and no matter how good a parent you are, the child will go their own way. I had this discussion with a neighbour the other day about her son. She has three kids. One is a total arse, the other two are lovely. All brought up the same, with manners, respect etc. The arse is just an arse.

Those gangs of kids I'm scared of, they're not even doing anything rude or threatening. They're just gathering for a chat, but the crowd aspect freaks me silly.


Sarah Masters said...

You know Ronna--hi, my darling, by the way!--you're right about the TV shows. I find myself saying, "Oh, I say!" or "WHAT did she just say?" when I hear these shows, then telling my smallest, "That wasn't very nice, was it? You mustn't act like that! She's just rude!" It's like the writers are competeing to make the rudest shows out there, corrupting our kids!


KarennaC said...

Brenna, sounds like you and I must live in the same city. I was driving *through* an intersection one day and a pedestrian started across the street--with my car right in front of him. He almost walked into the side of the car, and then flipped me off for having the audacity to drive on a street! (He wasn't waiting to cross the street when I started through the intersection; I usually let people cross if they're waiting at crosswalks.)

I hate going to the grocery store, because people will leave their cart in the middle of the aisle so they can go to the side and look for something. Meaning there's no way around them. Or they and one of their BFFs will both stop in the middle of the aisle so they can gossip.

Right now, my 15-year-old is on crutches and yesterday when I took her to the doctor to have her ankle checked, an elderly couple walking the other direction almost pushed my daughter off the sidewalk. (This was balanced out by the number of people who held doors for my daughter and even stopped the elevator for a moment longer so she could board.)

Some people just feel entitled. Some don't give a damn.

Sarah Masters said...

Awww, bless your daughter, Karenna.

Yep, some people... Don't even get me started on some of the elderly. Their contradictions are astounding: In my day, we had respect and were polite. In my day... And then they proceed to be extremely rude and act disrespectfully.

Oh, but it's their right because they're old. I forgot...