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Have Americans Become Ruder?
Is polite old-fashioned?
I and a few like me seem to think so. Ask some people thirty-five and up, and i'm sure the the answer will be a resounding , yes!For those a little younger, it may seem the etiquette meter reads high enough. Though in fairness to the very young, this rudeness seems to be a manner all ages have adopted.
It must also be said that I live on the west end of the country . Westerners are known to be a bit more 'aloof'. On a recent trip to the south, however, it wasn't the friendly , 'in-your-face' feel i'd encountered years ago there either. Wonder if i'd fare better in the Midwest???
Now admittedly i'm not the paragon of politeness. Growing up in the Midwest in the seventies though,words like 'please',and 'thank-you' we're taught. (let me rephrase that) Drilled into you.
I can forgive rudeness on a personal level; but it's reprehensible when merchants or public service workers behave this way. Ever go in a store, make a purchase, and wait for those words...'thank-you, come again'? Or ' did you find everything okay?'
OK, in truth, we know those merchants of old were only being polite to bring you back.Hey! It worked! Wouldn't it be nice to pull into a gas station and have someone ask you to do your windows? (I mean someone who works there, not the scary, toothless, raincoat wearing guy hanging in the parking lot). Especially considering what we're currently charged for gas. How about a foot massage with every fill-up?
It can be said that being polite is a personal choice. Maybe us old farts shouldn't be so nostalgic. Maybe we're the rude ones for wanting to impose our standards on everyone else. Next we'll probably be demanding that men open doors for ladies, carry packages, or help old people across the street. Remember when most young people said ,"sir" or "ma'am" ? And is that all the opposite of rudeness, is? Words, phrases, actions?
My mother used to say that being polite is a sign of your upbringing. In retrospect; she obviously had a motive . A selfish one at that. She didn't want anyone to think her son was, "raised by a pack of wolves". Though , admittedly, it may sometimes seem debatable. The other day ,in the grocery store was proof of that.
After making my purchase I waited a few seconds. I stood holding my bag , waiting for those magic words from the clerk. After giving me this blank stare, not seeming to have a clue, as to why I was being so odd. I walked out realizing i'd behaved rather rudely myself.
In fairness though, there are some establishments that do still pride themselves on polite service. Some individuals do too . Last week ,in fact, the staff at the theatre were incredibly customer friendly. All my fellow theatre-goers were even polite enough to turn off their phones before the movie. Talk was even at a minimum. Quiet whispers only audible to it's intended hearers.
Then it happened ! Someone brought a screaming infant into the theatre. Now it's undestandable that maybe the babysitter didn't show. Maybe it's just that they don't trust anyone with their baby...also understandable. Yet here I sat hoping that sooner, rather- than -later , they'd take their little bundle of joy to the foyer. Nope. He screamed till he tired.
That's apparently how it is, or maybe the screaming baby people are the same ones who don't say ' please', or 'thank-you'. Or sneeze and cough on you liberally. Or step on your foot, without ever acknowledging you. (ouch!) Good manners though, are like a fine wine...manners need to be aged to perfection. Which means that it would be to our advantage to teach children these things at an early age. Maybe then this behaviour will continue into adulthood.
America always known to be as a 'melting pot', is a certainly collage of manners , which according to recent research it can have a profound effect on the individual as well as society as a whole. In such cross cultured society it is good to be as aware as possible of the manners and customs of those around you. It would be great if good manners could be practiced , all-around.
Some blame it on this new cyber, fast-paced, high tech society. Computers and such gadgets do cause less physical interactions. As a compromise, i'd accept a simple 'ty',or a 'plz'. lol. Even with that being said , there is a new 'cyberethics' which focuses on, as it may sound polite behaviour via web communication , while some educators are introducing these standards to children...adults can most certainly benefit from 'cyberethics 101'.
The bottom line though, is to just be aware of others and there feelings. The treat thy neighbor as thyself model and we'll all be o.k.
Oops... forgive Me for being rude I forgot to thank YOU, for letting me vent!