I can’t say with all honesty – or much honesty – that I have stellar manners, or know my way around any social situation with grace and ease. I’m sometimes abrupt, and I do tend to forget my “please” and “thank you.” However, I do at least try to be respectful and polite when I am speaking with someone I don’t know, or in the course of a business transaction (or both). (However, if you are a close friend you know all bets are off!)
Well, I seem to be in the fucking minority. As I go about my day-to-day business, and (worse) as I conduct my work, I find that manners seem to have begun to permanently reside in the pockets of those around me. The deep, dark pockets of the ugly winter coat that isn’t worn anymore, and has been shoved to the back of a closet. Perhaps the one from the blind grandmother three Christmases ago. That, I am convinced, are where the manners are.
For example, I go to Target a lot. A LOT. There is one downtown, and you’d be amazed how many times through the week there is something you gotta have there. Truly amazing. And even when I’ve shopped there three times during the week, I go at least once on the weekend, too. No wonder I’m always broke.
But I digress. My point here is, I come into contact with many of their “fine” employees on a regular basis. And it is a rare transaction that the cashier even talks to me. Not a “did you find anything?” or “have a nice day” or “my, that’s a lot of Reece’s”. Nothing. Not.one.word.
Ditto at fast food restaurants – especially the drive up windows. (Note: I don’t want to hear a damn word about my eating habits over the last month. I start a whole new me on April 9th.) You get a barely audible something out of the box, and then just an Arm – first demanding money, and then handing food. God/Goddess/FSM forbid you want some extra ketchup or water. The Arm does not provide such things.
I am, as always, particularly stunned by the bad manners I see on the phone coming through my work lines. Granted, I work in a low-level, asshat job. But in defense of my co-workers, we are not your usual call center folk. Organization For Which I Work (OFWIW) has actually hired some people with brains and talent (totally uncalled for in this job, but still). When you call us, you are always getting someone with a degree, sometimes getting someone with a Master’s, and always talking to someone that knows far more than (a) you and (b) almost anyone else working in a similar environment, ever.
Now, I know the wo/man on the street isn’t going to know that. But we are not dealing with those people. We are a membership based organization- in theory, anyone calling us has dealt with us before, and knows that we are not your typical asshole.
So why the hate? Why the condescension? Why the lack of manners? Why the absolute assurance that no one you talk to has any fucking idea what they are doing?
I’m not going to go into the whole list of Thou Shall Not of manners, as those of you familiar with me have heard it all before. However, I am going to briefly put out there that I think this lack of manners might be the beginning of the downfall of civilization. You can talk about the lessening of moral fiber all you want, but I think that manners are really the basis of the whole thing.
Talk amongst yourselves.