“There are some things money can’t buy…like manners, morals and integrity.” I wish I knew who first said this because I’d like to thank them. Growing up we had house rules and expectations. If you open it, close it; if you use the last one, replace it; if you turn it on, turn if off; if you unlock it, lock it; if you break it, fix it; if you borrow it, return it; if you make a mess, clean it up and many others. Everyday rules for a family of four to live, survive and exist in supreme harmony, well most of the time. These manners stemmed from mutual respect for each other, common sense and the fear of retribution from Mom & Dad…more Mom than Dad.
Politenesses, like the magic words ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’, seem to be on the verge of extinction like elephants, rhinos and lions – oh my! Why is this happening? Are people just rude? Have they forgotten lessons they were taught as a child, or even worst, were never taught?
Am I being overly critical or sensitive if I send a gift and expect the person to acknowledge that they received it? My grandmother once said, ‘expect nothing and you will never be disappointed’. I tried. It doesn’t work. Nothing drives me up a wall quicker than sending a gift and still wondering, weeks later, did they receive it? Whether you liked it or not, let me know that you got it and then re-gift it to someone else.
In this age of technology it’s so easy to send a tweet, an email, or a text message. Heaven forbid we should expect a written note, phone call or a letter tied to the leg of a pigeon! When a sent gift goes unacknowledged and I complain about it, as I usually do, and my husband, the voice of reason will say, “That was your generation, this generation is different.” Poppycock! Certain courtesies like saying ‘please’ when you ask for something and ‘thank you’ when you receive something should transcend generations. But have they? Maybe Jeff’s right…so off I went to conduct my own secret study.
First to the supermarket. When checking out the young cashier looked me straight in the eye, handed me my receipt and said “There you go”. Excuse me! When did “there you go” replace ‘thank you’? I wanted to scream but held my tongue and took off for my next secret study – a restaurant. During lunch I asked the server for a bottle of ketchup and was answered with a “no prob”. Now maybe my age is showing but I wouldn’t think that getting a bottle of ketchup should be any sort of problem to start with. It’s not like I asked him to tell me what the stock market was going to do! Now THAT might pose a problem!
My third and final stop was a local department store. I stood in the check-out line behind an elderly woman who was paying for her purchase. Ten minutes later after a sundry of questions, she finally walked away. The two sales clerks turned to each other and started to mimic her. I stood ramrod straight, biting my tongue and willing the vein in my neck to stop pulsing! After they took my payment and bagged my purchase, I looked them straight in the eye and ask, “Are you going to make fun of me when I walk away?” Before either could answer, I asked for their names and told them I was the new corporate customer service trainer and I’d be seeing them soon. Then I walked away. FACT – I am a corporate customer service trainer. FICTION – just not for their store!
Maybe good manners and courtesies have changed and mean different things to younger generations. I do believe however, that certain courtesies are just plain common sense. Of course, in the words of Mae West, “If common sense were common, men would ride side saddle.” For taking the time to read this story, here’s a sincere THANK YOU!