Archive for November, 2008

Common Courtesy

Posted by Heather
In life
19Nov 08

       Many of my friends who have blogs write about whatever they are thinking and feeling at the time.  There have been a few things on my mind lately, so I thought I would share them.

      One thing that has really been bothering me in the last few years ( mostly due to having jobs in the past where I had to deal with the public ) is the enormous lack of common courtesy these days.  When you are fortunate enough to be brought up by parents who taught you to be polite, to respect other people and their feelings, and their property, and not to be selfish, it is very difficult to understand that not everyone came from that kind of background, and therefore, may be unaware that their behaviour is so offensive. ( or yes, perhaps they’re just too selfish to care about others, which is sad .)

     It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, who you are ( or think you are ) – we are all the same.  We’re just people, and we all deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy.  It seems that in recent years, most people have completely run out of patience. If they have to wait in a lineup somewhere, they grumble and complain, and blame the Cashier or the Bank Teller ( or whomever they are waiting to see ) instead of the Company that is too cheap to hire more staff, or treat their employees well enought to retain the staff that they have.  Do people really think the person working enjoys having a long lineup of grunting, toe-tapping, verbally abusive people glaring at them, as if they are doing something wrong ? ( Have a little compassion, people.  If you have a complaint, take it up with Management, don’t dump it on the poor employee who is worked to the bone trying to get all of you through as quickly and painlessly as possible … )

     Why do so many people think the world revolves around them ?  They imply that if you don’t drop everything you are doing ( even if that includes helping a customer or client who was ahead of them ) then you are not providing them with good customer service.  At one of my old jobs, we always used to say ” Customer Service : License To Abuse ” – and it is so true.  People feel that they can stand there and speak to you in a condescending tone, insist that you break rules ( that could cost you your job ) to make them happy, or else they’ll try and get you in trouble – it’s simply ridiculous.  Haven’t they figured out yet that if they are patient and polite, they may actually get farther with people ?  I know personally, that if someone starts raising their voice to me, or trying to intimidate me, or starts swearing, I just put up a wall, and think ” This person seriously needs to get a life “.  Any kind of bullying, condescending tone, or loud and obnoxious behaviour does not mean you are important, it just makes it glaringly obvious that you have issues.  ( and it also means that you will never get the respect you so obviously crave ) 

     What ever happened to saying ” Please” and “Thankyou” ?  Yes, many think that’s old fashioned, but it’s just plain good upbringing.  I hear people complain about the “young people today ” – well, I know a lot of people younger than me who have better manners than some of the elders we are supposed to “respect” simply because they are older than us.  ( that’s a whole other issue:  in my world, respect is something you must earn from me – it is not something I give away, or think about lightly. )  It doesn’t seem to matter what you do for some people, they still walk away at the end of the exchange without saying anything.  When this happens, I like to say ” You’re welcome ! ” loudly, in the hopes that they will either learn some manners, or at least feel a little silly for not having taken the time to use them.

     One of my personal favourites is when people are going on and on about how bad their day is, and waiting in a lineup is making it worse, and of course that’s the person who is helping them’s fault (not ) – what they don’t seem to realize is, we all have bad days, even horrible days, and we don’t take it out on them , so why do they feel they have the right to take it out on us ?  ( Oh yeah, that old saying – “The customer is always right ” )  Whatever.  Everyone has unpleasant things to deal with in their lives – even the “robot” who is serving you ( we’re not human, we don’t have feelings, after all, we’re just there to serve … )  Again, where is the compassion ?  What happened to caring about people other than yourself ?

     I have left jobs in the past because I was becoming disillusioned with human beings.  I used to believe that most people are generally good, decent people.  Working with the public opens your eyes to the fact that, unfortunately, the balance has shifted, and there now seem to be more rude, impatient, self-centered people around than ever before.  It really is sad.

     Luckily, there are still quite a few decent, kind people left in the world, who can easily erase your memory of the unpleasant ones.  Those are the people that really matter – the ones who treat others well.  I always say that I am pretty open-minded, and I don’t judge people, but that’s not entirely true.  I do judge people based on one thing, and one thing only: how they treat other people.  I admire people who are patient, polite, and have some class in their dealings with others.  We’re all in this together, and it would be really cool if more people could stop and think before they say or do something that might cause someone else to become uncomfortable or upset.  I think that’s the key – people need to think beyond themselves.

     Venting is so therapeutic.  Please let me know if any of you can relate.  ( or am I simply being old-fashioned ? )

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