Shopping for Bad Manners at the Wal-Mart
Everywhere we look political correctness has invaded our lives. It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, but we do not dare call it a duck for fear of offending someone. It would stand to reason that this prevalent fear of offending someone would translate to an overabundance of good manners. This is not the case at all, as bad manners seem to run amok in our society. We only need to venture to a nearby Wal-Mart, where, beginning with the parking lot, venturing through the shopping aisles, and ending with the check-out, we are assaulted with a wide variety of bad manners.
Upon entering the parking lot of a Wal-Mart an air of bad mannerisms is felt immediately. The drivers, in their rush, will nearly flatten women and small children as they exit the store. In retaliation, the customers walk straight down the middle of the parking aisle, often two or three abreast, on the way to their cars. Often times, cell phones are involved as drivers and pedestrians are holding conversations or text messaging with no concern or acknowledgement of other human beings around them. As retaliation to retaliation, directed in the wrong direction, people will park their cars and walk up the middle of the parking aisle, two or three abreast, eliminating the ability of other vehicles to travel up or down the aisle.
After a fifteen to twenty minute battle in the parking lot, we finally make it inside the store to find more bad manners on display. People will usually stand with their carts directly in front of the items we are looking for. This is usually a result of a cell phone conversation or a conversation with another customer, while we stand patiently waiting for countless minutes until they finally acknowledge our existence and reluctantly move out of the way. This is usually followed by sighs of disgust as they display their anguish for the inconvenience we have wrought upon them. Much like the parking lot aisles, jockeying for position in the shopping aisles is met with the same resistance. If by accident an arm is brushed or a shopping cart bumped, followed by an "excuse me" or "I am sorry", we can sometimes expect a further exhibition of bad manners. I am too much of a gentleman to write what is often times hurled back in response.
Adding insult to injury, we end our adventure at the check-out line, where once again, the cashiers show us a variety of bad manners. The "have a nice day" buttons and tags on the cashier’s shirts offer an excuse from exhibiting any more good manners. The cashier is often times a younger person who puts on an air of "I would rather be somewhere else than here". Many times they will be smacking their gum and have an Ipod earphone in their ear. Too many times it seems there is no recognizing that they are dealing with a person and the process of ringing someone’s items up is the equivalent of a jet on auto-pilot. If there is any indication of human interaction, it is usually the conversation between two cashiers. One gets the impression they may as well be an insect.
Like political correctness, good manners seem to apply only to other people. We only point this discrepancy out on other people and are not concerned with holding ourselves accountable. Bad manners have become the rule and not the exception in a short time. I can think of other places this is displayed but traveling to Wal-Mart numerous times a week, the display becomes more apparent. Other places do not offer, however, the variety of bad manners displayed at a Wal-Mart. At a Wal-Mart we get to see it all; from the time we get to the parking lot, shop up and down the aisles, and as we finish up at the check-out line.