I learned three things during my first month working fast food in high school:
- People are particular about their food;
- The general public can be a rude bunch; and
- Manners Deficiency strikes people of all ages and socioeconomic statuses (but seems to become more severe as wealth increases.)
Though not scientific by any means, my observations were further substantiated during my waitressing years. Working the 6AM shift, I discovered morning-after drunk people are the worst kind of Manners Deficient breed. Somehow, I was responsible for their throbbing heads, upset stomachs and their inability to say, “Water, please” to the bartender the night before. Some find drunk people silly (I don’t), but hung over people are no laughing matter.
Here’s the problem: people aren’t just rude to service industry workers – bad manners are directed at anything with a heartbeat. I don’t know if it’s the big city, the dust kicked up from monsoon storms, or the desert heat dehydrating brains, but Manners Deficiency seems to be on the rise. Let me share some examples from the last two weeks:
- A man driving a (huge) Nissan Armada was next to me on the freeway and I felt him drifting into my lane. I stomped on my brakes and honked my horn because I didn’t think he could see my small car. He sped up and moved in front of me…and then extended his left arm out his window to flip me the bird. Severe case of Manners Deficiency (and stupidity.)
- A lady ran into my side with her cart when I walked too close to the cheese and cracker samples in Costco. I didn’t even want a sample – just a jar of pesto that was in that aisle. When she gave me a nasty look, I apologized. She grunted in response. I’m pretty sure people have been hospitalized or even died from encounters with hungry people pushing carts, so I consider myself lucky to have walked away uninjured.
- Leaving Costco (yeah, the same trip), a woman had a fit when I walked past her to catch up with my husband and our cart. (I had the receipt, which they need to check at the door.) I smiled and told her the receipt was catching up to the cart. What I wanted to say was, “Get a life!” (But that wouldn’t be polite, now would it?)
We’re all in this sand box of life together. Wouldn’t it be much more pleasant if we could all play nice?
Here are some suggestions for combating Manners Deficiency before it decays our society:
- Use “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” more liberally than hand sanitizer.
- If a person is perceived as rude, say something nice. Maybe they’re having a bad day.
- If every person is rude, you may be having a bad day. Stay at home to prevent the spread of Manners Deficiency.
- Infect others…with smiles. A frowned-up face is more susceptible to Manners Deficiency.
Have you noticed widespread Manners Deficiency where you live? If manners are plentiful in your town, please let me know so I can plan for my relocation 😉
Dust Storm Photo by Howard Waggner – News of Maricopa