Since when did manners cease to matter? I’m not talking about how to set a table for a ten-course meal. I mean every day, living life, being courteous to others, manners. There are several that I see regularly that are ignored on a regular basis. So for this post, if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about some of these and how I think life could be better if everyone followed these simple rules of etiquette.
In stores: Move over so someone can get by you in a store. If you have read my post – Syringo my what?!? you are probably aware that sometimes I have to use a cane for balance. In a store the other day, I was trying to get by a man and woman in an aisle. One polite man had said, “Oh, here, let me move my cart so you can get by.” My polite response was “Thank you, very much.” The other couple both stood covering most of the walking area and did not move an inch. The polite man did not care for this much and said “Get out of the way. Can’t you see she is trying to get by?” They looked at both of us and stood their ground. I waited. Really? if I am blocking anyone’s way, I apologize and do my best to move. How rude it is to stand there like you are the only people alive who matter. I will say that the polite man then told them that they were very rude, and unfortunately broke the one about language around others. In this case, I really didn’t mind. They were exactly what he called them! 🙂
Also, if your child is screaming, crying, begging loudly in a store, take him/her outside. Not only does this teach your child that his/her behavior is not acceptable, but it also allows those shopping without screaming children to do so in peace. Taking a child out of the store and home and returning later without the child (letting them know you are going back without them because they were not behaving appropriately) is a very good lesson for the child. From experience, I know that you only have to do this 2-3 times before the child realizes “stop crying or I will take you home” is not an empty threat, but an actual punishment.
In restaurants: The same rules apply in restaurants for crying babies as the ones in stores. Take them out! If they do not know how to behave in public, teach them before taking them in public. This is really just common courtesy to others.
If you must talk on your cell phone during a meal out, treat yourself like a crying baby and walk outside. No one in the restaurant, including those at your table, want to sit through a one-sided conversation.
Saying please and thank you: This one should be as ingrained in your everyday life as breathing. There is just no other way to put it. Say please EVERY TIME you ask for something. Say thank you anytime someone puts something in your hand from theirs, or a compliment from their mouth to your ears. Please.
Waiting your turn: You learned this one in kindergarten. Do not break in line. You are no more important than anyone else waiting for their turn and your time is no more valuable than anyone else’s. No matter how much you think of yourself, this is the truth. After waiting 2 hours and 39 minutes the other day at the DMV to have my license renewed, this one hits home with a big pow for me right now!
Minding your language: Speaking of the DMV, it took me 1 hour and 47 minutes of STANDING in line waiting to get a number to be served. Maybe I should direct a post to them about wasting other’s time and working efficiency. Could they not just hand you a number at the door and have you wait while sitting to determine if you had all your paperwork? Anyway, I digress…
Three people behind me was a young girl of 18. At first, all was well. Then about half-way through the waiting, she began to drop the “F-bomb.” There, right in front of her, was someone’s grandmother. The first time, I ignored it. The second and third times, I gave the grandmotherly lady a shake of the head and a frown. The fourth time, I politely turned to her and said, “Would you say that in front of your grandmother?” She furrowed her brow and then said “No.” I swept my open palm to the older woman and said “Meet someone else’s grandmother. She doesn’t want to hear it, either.” Thankfully someone had taught her manners at some point, because she apologized to the woman, who said to her, “Always consider others when you speak out loud.” Manners. Good ones.
Common courtesy: A couple of days ago I was heading into a store. There was a senior saint waiting patiently to enter, much more patiently that I probably will when I am 80 or so. Three 20 somethings walked out of the store and completely ignored her. Really? Would it really ruin your tight schedule to hold the door for this woman, people? If you are not emergency personnel on your way to an accident scene, you should hold the door for others, no matter their age, who are entering/leaving through a doorway.
Anytime someone appears to be older than you, they should have first dibs at whatever it is you are doing. Buffet line? That food will still be there when they get through. Door? Hold it for them! Restroom? I can tell you that the older you get, the smaller your bladder feels! Just be polite, people!
Don’t ask personal questions: The other day my neighbor asked my hubby how much it was going to cost to redo the railing on our front porch. They are not bosom buddies. Not really appropriate. A friend whom he talks to 4-6 times a week asked. Close friend? Appropriate. Acquaintance…not so much.
Telemarketers – not only is this entire practice a nuisance in my opinion, but I am NOT going to tell you my income. Nope. Not happening. I completed a survey the other day and was asked for this information. I declined. The person told me it would cancel out all of my answers. So sorry that you wasted my time, then, buddy. I do not give out personal information to complete strangers. It is positively rude to ask.
Talk quietly: If you are in a public place, always consider that not everyone cares about you and your conversation. I certainly don’t. At a very nice restaurant the other day, hubby and I could not even carry on a conversation because the people behind us were so loud. Get a grip, people. I do not care about your life when I am trying to peacefully live mine!
In the waiting rooms of every doctor I go to (again, Syringo my what?!? , there are quite a few of them) there are signs that say Please turn off your cellphones. YES, THIS MEANS YOU, TOO! Why is it that certain people think they are not the intended targets for those types of signs? ARGHHHH! Also, if you have someone with you, whisper, talk softly. Do not talk in a normal volume of voice, be considerate of others, and think that maybe they would like to have some time alone without having to hear your entire conversation.
Just think it through. My history teacher in high school used to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes by saying “Your right to swing your fist ends where another person’s nose begins.” It is true. I can swing all I like, but others have a right not to be hit. This is true not only of fists but also of the rights of all to be treated with respect and dignity and not to have to endure Emily Post’s worst nightmare in public!