October 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Politeness and manners


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I have just returned to my office after some business to take care of and it was painfully obvious that we are nothing but a nuisance to the very people who rely on us for their wages. Although we are in the year 2012 and we are technically progressing with all the new innovations and gadgets at our disposal we are sadly lacking when it comes to politeness and manners. And it makes me mad. In a space of 30 minutes this is what happened.

First stop was a bank in town. I walked in. In front of me was another bank customer and he was wearing a cap. We are met at the second door by a sign saying LEFT. Just LEFT. There is a security guard inside the banking hall. I follow the man in front through the left door and inside a roped ‘corridor’ so narrow a really big man would have to walk sideways. The security guard (who did have a nice smile) shouted to the man in front of me, “Take off your hat!” The man stopped, as he was startled and I nearly bumped into him. “What!” he exclaimed. “Take off your hat!” was again the command. The man did as he was asked looking extremely annoyed as his sunglasses were perched on the hat brim.

Now this really annoyed me. Not because of the security element now having to be brought in by our society’s scum but the rude way we THE CUSTOMERS are ordered about and having to endure this security without any words of apology. I turned around and spoke to the security guard and asked him if he had forgotten the word “please’? He just smiled and looked at me as if I was an idiot so I walked on. When I eventually got served the teller didn’t even look up or say a word so I wished him a cheery “good morning” and asked him how he was. He gave me a strange look and said nothing but turned back to completing my transaction.

Then to one of our hospitals where I waited as patiently as I could at the desk whilst the lady talked and answered three phone calls without once looking up at me standing there. Eventually I got served and she did say “good morning” to my greeting.

Then to another bank where one security guard and a man dressed in black always stand by the door. They never open the door for you, whether you enter or leave. They say nothing. Today the security guard did smile and nod at me when I greeted them but the man in black’s face was expressionless. I visit this bank regularly and I have as yet not managed to get him to say a word or change his expression. I have complained when my hands have been full that they won’t open the door and that has been futile. I think no one has taught them to do this because we may have a gun so they need to keep watch; although the man in black is often trying not to look at you.

Thankfully the teller was a very nice young lady with a lovely smile and I commented on it and it made her blush. She was a breath of fresh air so there is hope.

I have to ask all of you. Why do we put up with this? Soon we will have to take our trousers off before we get into a bank and will that pass us by without a murmur from us? Whilst the word “awesome” is used excessively the words “please” and “thank you” are becoming almost redundant.

And look how most of us act today, especially the young, because we older ones haven’t taught them. Perhaps we have forgotten too:

1 Talking on a mobile phone while being served by a shop assistant
2 Sending text messages while at the dining table and at the theatre/cinema whilst the show is on.
3 Writing abusive comments on Internet message boards.
4 Listening to music through headphones in the office
5 Talking over the show at the cinema/theatre
6 Dropping chewing gum or spitting on the pavement
7 Cycling on the sidewalks
8 Gossiping loudly in public places where quietness is essential like churches, libraries and hospitals
9 Failing to hold doors open for others – and failing to say thank you when someone does hold open a door for you
10 Sitting in an aisle seat when the window seat is empty – or putting your bag on the seat beside you so others can’t sit there
11 Failing to give up a seat on public transport to women or the elderly
12 Disregarding traffic lights (especially cyclists and pedestrians)
13 Failing to stop at zebra crossings (motorists)
14 Failing to acknowledge fellow motorists who’ve given way for you
15 Stopping to chat in busy shop doorways
16 Allowing your children to be noisy in restaurants and churches
17 Drinking at the bar when it’s busy and other customers are struggling to get served. Or taking up a table at a busy restaurant.

I could go on and on but lack of space permits. Or am I getting too old?

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