No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service…Manners: Optional

I learned three things during my first month working fast food in high school:

  1. People are particular about their food;
  2. The general public can be a rude bunch; and
  3. 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.

    Give ’em your best “cheesy” smile

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


21 thoughts on “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service…Manners: Optional

  1. SuziCate July 19, 2011 / 6:17 AM

    There are times I am apalled at people’s behavior! It’s like they never learned manners or they just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

    • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 10:03 PM

      I know people have different definitions of rude, but common courtesy should be…well, common.

      Thanks for sharing your comment SuziCate!

  2. Tori Nelson July 19, 2011 / 6:23 AM

    I had a pretty giant dose of this over the weekend. I went to get my hair cut. I showed up a few minutes early for my appointment. About ten minutes after my appointment was to start, the stylist walked by and told me I would need to wait a minute because she needed to get a bite to eat. So I waited. I waited some more. I could hear her and a fellow hairdresser cutting up and cracking jokes in the back. I waited and waited. About 40 minutes later I poked my head back there to nicely inform her that I would be leaving. She scoffed, rolled her eyes, and said “What? I’m not supposed to eat?”. Shocked and still split-ended I left. I couldn’t bring myself to put money in her pocket after that 😦

    • pattisj July 19, 2011 / 10:11 PM

      Good for you. It sounds like they need to get their scheduling in order.

    • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 10:12 PM

      That’s awful, Tori. I go to walk-in places, so I expect a wait. When you have an appointment, there shouldn’t be a long wait. The appointments should be scheduled with time blocked out for lunch (but what do I know, right?) To me, it would be less annoying had her last appointment just ran late, or if she actually had a ‘quick bite’ to eat instead of a gab fest with her co-workers. I hope you can find a new hairdresser who wants your money!

  3. Richard W Scott July 19, 2011 / 7:18 AM

    This is a very tricky subject (rudeness, I mean). The problem is, not everything that seems rude is actually a perpetration. When I’m on the road, and someone cuts me off, I know that he (or she) is a jerk and should have their license revoked. When I accidentally cut someone off, I’ve made an honest mistake. Of course the person who I cut off knows I’m a jerk, and should have my license revoked. It’s kind of a matter of point of view, I think.

    Most of what we take as rudeness is unthinkingness. In fact, most of what we think of as evil is that, too.

    Make no mistake, I’m not rooting for the rude person here, but rather making the point that a lot of rudeness is not on purpose. It is simply unthinking behavior.

    Yes, there is a lot of behavior based on a feeling of self-entitlement. But those same people, when they get rained out, bitterly complain, “…why does this always happen to me??” As though rain had an agenda. The person who believed she should not be passed up on the way out of Costco (I know whereof you speak!) felt entitled to her spot in a line that hadn’t really formed yet. The idea that somebody else might delay her 10 or 20 seconds was unbearable. I’ve slowed down my normal brisk walk, sometimes, when a slower person is strolling toward the door, and they’re close enough to mistake my own hurry for rudeness.

    We, people, are complex beings. We overthink some things, and underthink a lot more. We are self-involved, histrionic, and convinced of our entitlement. (Think of those commercials on the radio that encourage you to use system x or y to evade paying your bills and get the “freedom from debt that you deserve”)

    Ah, well. This was meant to be a comment, not a post.

    Thanks for bringing this one up!

    • clarbojahn July 19, 2011 / 1:05 PM

      I agree with Rick, a lot of rudeness is people not thinking about the other guy or just not thinking.
      I also want to point out that a lot of people aren’t teaching manners to kids these days and so the kids grow up to feel entitled. Just volunteer at school like me and see what teachers put up with. They are now teaching manners at school.
      I also want to bring up email manners. Is it the new rude just not to answer emails if you don’t want to have a relationship these days?

      • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 10:59 PM

        I could never be a teacher! For the record, we do teach our kids manners…whether or not they use them in our absence, I don’t know. We don’t take demands – if there’s not a ‘please’ with a request, we pretend like we can’t hear them until they get it right. If we give them something and they don’t say ‘thank you’, we say ‘you’re welcome’ as a reminder that they forgot something. When someone talks, look them in the eyes and speak clearly, don’t interrupt, if you accidentally hurt someone, ask them if they are okay…the instructions never cease 🙂

        I don’t know about the email thing – I don’t communicate via email on a personal level very often and I do respond to those. On the business side, I have a lot of issues with people not responding so I have to follow up three or four times.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the manners topic. I enjoyed reading your perspective, Clar.

    • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 10:48 PM

      I agree that much of the rudeness can be due to unthinking behavior. But there’s a line where it’s more than that. Using my example of the guy in the Armada who nearly hit my car – I figured he wasn’t paying attention when he came into my lane, but I didn’t consider it an act of rudeness until he flipped me off. Perhaps that could’ve been unthinking too, but if that’s the case, we need to move thinking to the top of our list as a society 🙂

      I think you nailed root issue: sense of entitlement. When we get sucked into the “me, me, me” way of thinking, no one else matters. I chuckled at your freedom from debt example – I’ve heard those commercials. (I know another way to be free of debt: don’t spend money we don’t have.)

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Richard. You’ve made some valid points that are worthy of a post of their own!

  4. nrhatch July 19, 2011 / 7:50 PM

    When I am in a happy mood, people don’t seem nearly as rude and when I’m in a “crappy mood” (who, me?). When my mood is less than stellar, I notice ALL manner of manner deficiency in other people that escapes my notice when I’m smiling.

    Coincidence? Or not?

    Speaking of smiles . . . love your smiley face. 😀

    • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 11:03 PM

      Hahaha! I’ve noticed the same thing, Nancy. I stay away from people on those days (whenever possible) because I fear I’ll come down with a bad case of Manners Deficiency if I go in public.

      Glad you liked the smiley face…it made me smile (and I saw absolutely no rudeness in that moment ;))

  5. Widdershins July 19, 2011 / 8:14 PM

    And underneath it all they’re so afraid! Very sad.

    • jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 11:04 PM

      Sad, indeed.

      Thanks for stopping by, Widdershins!

  6. pattisj July 19, 2011 / 10:17 PM

    I like your suggestions, especially #2 and #3. Sorry to report we have a lot of the same behavior here. You could still relocate, I’d love to have you for a neighbor. 🙂

  7. jannatwrites July 19, 2011 / 11:08 PM

    I’m glad you liked the suggestions. It was my attempt to lighten up the topic so I didn’t come across as “cranky”…or worse, “rude.” 🙂

    Sorry to hear Manners Deficiency has hit your area too. This could be the next pandemic!

    I’m glad you stopped by tonight, Patti.

  8. crumbl July 20, 2011 / 2:15 AM

    I couldn’t agree more that Manners Deficiency is pandemic, JT. Common courtesy has all but vanished. You should see the looks of shock and surprise I get if I hold a door and let someone in (or out) before me. It’s worth the wait just for the comic relief.

    I think part of the “entitlement” thing to which you refer isn’t so much a question of “unthinking” behaviour, but of wrong thinking … my time is more valuable than is yours, and the more valuable I can make my time appear to be, the more self-importance I have and the more important others will perceive me to be. I don’t have time to wait, but clearly, you have nothing better to do, so I go first, and if you’re waiting on me, can’t you see how busy and important and pressed for time I am, so get your tushy in gear and get me what I want … now would be good.

    Very much like your highway story, I’m sure you’ve seen the road warriors racing along, weaving in and out of traffic, caution and courtesy to the wind, only to end up at the same spot as you at the same time.

    30 years ago, I was that guy. I’ve mellowed over the decades.

    Good post.

    • jannatwrites July 20, 2011 / 7:53 PM

      A part of me hoped that the Manners Deficiency I’ve seen was limited ot my area. I’m a bit disappointed that it is more widespread.

      I make every effort to have a loose schedule so I’m not late…rushing leads to impatience, which easily turns into rudeness, or the idea that (as you stated) I’m in a hurry, so everyone needs to get out of my way.

      Since I don’t ride the bumper of the car in front of me, I have lots of people that pull in front of me (some cutting it closer than others.) I laugh because all it means is that they have to slam their brakes harder when when traffic halts.

      Thanks for sharing your comment, Crumbl. I’m glad you’ve mellowed. Life is more enjoyable in a mellow state (in my opinion.)

  9. dorcas July 20, 2011 / 5:36 AM

    Calgary… THis place is awesome when it comes to manners and politeness…OR maybe I just havnt met any of the usual rude people…

    Hoping to see you soon here??? 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 20, 2011 / 7:58 PM

      You’ve given me hope and a dream destination, Dorcas! Of course it has to be super cold there (desert dwellers like me are wimps in freezing temperatures.) Still, maybe I need to get a passport so I can check it out someday…

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. Barb July 25, 2011 / 12:10 PM

    Stay away from Italy, Janna! Especially Roma is totally affected by Manners Deficiency…
    In know I’m supposed to smile, but sometimes I get bit by that bug too! 😦

    • jannatwrites July 25, 2011 / 9:29 PM

      Don’t worry, Barb…I don’t smile all the time, either. I punish myself with guilt when I exhibit Manners Deficiency.

      Thanks for the warning about Italy. I’m sorry the pandemic has taken over there. I fear we’re not far behind…

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