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Courtesy Dies in Public...

Updated on August 5, 2011

Once again another human principle has died. Along with Valor, Integrity, Brotherhood, Camaraderie, Chivalry, The Golden Rule, and a host of others, they all have died. And Courtesy has left us too, to join her family in Principle Heaven.

We know she’s passed on. It is evident she‘s gone. No matter where you go, everyone seems to be so rude. No longer does counter workers say, “May I help you? Instead you will get, “What?” No one even says “Please.” It doesn’t matter if you are at the deli or the bank; people look at you like they’re doing you a favor for your business, and the last thing they say is, “Thank you” and mean it. The problem is no one knows how to be courteous anymore. The proof she’s dead.

It is apparent her death went unnoticed. For my generation Courtesy was always expected, taking for granted she would always be here. But it seems this generation didn’t see how important she was. They think she was like the china you save and use for special occasions, and treated her that way. They believe to be courteous meant; it is a special privilege you use to bestow only a chosen few, but not a concession for the rest of us. Some people think because they are being paid a low wage, they don’t have to go out of their way to be nice or courteous. They take the attitude of, “I’m not being paid to be nice” and they’ re not. Letting Courtesy down.

Attitudes like those make me not frequent a shop often, or come back in the future when Courtesy is not there. When sales are down, the owners of these establishments should take a look at their books, and then take a lesson from Confucius who said, “Man who cannot smile, should never open a store” and he was one hundred percent correct. He too was a friend with Courtesy.

When employers trained their employees, Courtesy 101 gets left out of the equation. I could bet, she is mentioned, but not stressed upon how their attitudes are a reflection of their business, and if it suffers, they suffer. No one takes that position, and you wonder why she has passed away? But for those who own shops and who have workers who have to deal with us, the public, want to know, how much energy does it take for your workers to be courteous? Did you ever stop to think that by using a little Courtesy it could make you a little richer?

No patron wants to be greeted by a worker with an attitude or with a sour puss on his or her face. But with smiles and a feeling of being welcomed and their business is being appreciated. After all, there are many more stores available selling exactly what you have to offer, so the odds of you being exclusive is quite slim. And even if you are exclusive, that doesn’t give anyone the right to treat customers in a less than respectful, courteous manner. She would not have wanted it that way.

You don’t have to like your customers, or even agree with how they are dressed, but to have any customers these days that spend any amount of money with you, consider it a blessing, and you need to see it as such. There are many long established businesses going out of business every day and without Courtesy, they wouldn’t have had the longevity they’ve enjoyed.

So if you’re a smart business owner, treat your customers with respect and keep her memory alive. Without Courtesy, your business is doomed. And for you employees, don’t wind up as a statistics on the unemployment line because of your less than courteous attitude. A smile is worth a million bucks and a great attitude brings you a promotion and a raise. If you are incapable of going out your way to be a polite, decent, human being to strangers as part of your duties, then you can’t complain when you find yourself out of a job.

So here is a word to the wise. Say a prayer for Courtesy and remember what she stood for, and maybe we can help save the future of her other siblings, Politeness, Good Manners, Civility, and we can’t forget her favorite, Consideration. Because without them, the world’s society will be Hopeless, and Courtesy’s presence will be a thing of the past.

May she rest in peace…


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    • Valerie Howard profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Howard 

      7 years ago from Fort Lee, NJ

      While I appreciate your comment, my piece is an observation of the times. In regards to your statement, "a decline?" Well, hell yeah, that's why I wanted to bring attention to it. For those who already practice courtesy, then this article doesn't speak to them, but if they don't, then I hope someone is embarrassed and shamed into doing "it" by reading this.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Valerie Howard, you are right about some attitudes and a decline in courteous behavior, but let's not be too pessimistic. Check out my hub on customer srvice as there are still many kind, considerate, and courteous people in this world. And I do believe you can be counted in that number. Thank you so much for contributing to the hubpages community and for sharing your writing talents with us.

    • Valerie Howard profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Howard 

      7 years ago from Fort Lee, NJ

      You see it's an epidemic...I can't stand it! But GOD bless you and the work you do...somebody appreciates it!

    • Hollie Would profile image

      Hollie Would 

      7 years ago

      Amen to this! I volunteer in a food pantry and am trained to treat the less fortunate with dignity and respect. Most of the times I get entitlement junkies that come in and expect my volunteer time and donations without even getting a fricking "thank you". Meanwhile they are sent out the door with 20lbs. of free food making me and others feel like giving it all up and closing the doors.


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