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The Right to Be Nice

Updated on January 9, 2011

Everybody deserves respect

Today I'm being serious. No pictures (well, maybe one picture). No video. Nothing to review. I know this is pretty far off the beaten path for my hubs, but it's actually one of my pet personal projects in real life.

As individuals, we're often deep in our own thoughts. We may not notice or think about people around us. Especially those in the service industries. Often, they're just treated as background. A prop, a tool that's expected to work without thought or consideration.

Be the customer... be the server... but be courteous!

I've been there.  I've been the customer, but I've been on the other side of the counter, too.  When you're running a register, or helping customers in the store… whatever the job is… most people are pretty nice.  But every now and then, you run into the person who thinks it's their God given right to abuse people.  Just because they can?  Maybe because they're in an inferior social position?  Possibly a result of a really bad day? 

Do the Right Thing

I was raised well by a great Mom and Dad.  They taught me many things, but it boils down to trying to always do the right thing.  Sometimes, I mess up.  But thanks to my folks, I do make the attempt. 

I know, the "Right Thing" can be a shifting target sometimes.  And it's not always the same from person to person. 

I'm not here today to teach my version of right and wrong.  Not worried about shades of right and wrong.  You don't have to tell me there's a difference between being rude, and being a pathological murderer.  I know all that.

It's a choice we all make

I just wanted to draw attention to a choice we can make.  One that can make life better for those around us.  It might even have an impact on our lives.  Just try to be a little bit nicer to your cashier at the store.  Your waiter at the restaurant.  The customer assistant who helps you have a better experience in their place of business.  Or… in my case… the Blockbuster employee who's trying his best to be friendly and helpful.

No need to go overboard

You don't have to go overboard.  But at the very least, don't deliberately try to make someone else's day worse.  I've got a friend who works in a food store.  He's a very nice, gentle, soft-spoken fellow, yet recently he had an entire day full of customers berating and cursing him.  The reason?  Because they didn't bother to read. 

Okay, I'm being harsh.  Actually, his store had a sale going on, but it was conditional.  You had to spend a certain amount of money to get the discount, but it was a whopping huge discount.  Most customers read the sign, did what they needed to do, and left happy.  But several didn't bother to read the entire sentence.  Then when they got to the register, they acted like bullies, hoping if they were loud enough and ugly enough, they'd get their way.  And sometimes, that works.  It's not right, and I'd sure like to see there be a punishment for that kind of behavior.  But there are times a store manager will cave in just because it's costing the store money to stand there and argue with a loudmouth who won't go away.

Oh, THAT sign?

You'd be amazed at what people can say.  These people my friend dealt with would accuse him personally of trying to rip them off.  Like he's going to pocket the money he's overcharging them.  At times, he's led them back to the sign hanging from the ceiling to prove he's not lying.  You know what they said?  "Someone must have put that up while we were at the register!"  Like they'd have an employee just hiding around the corner with the sign, waiting for the poor unsuspecting customer to leave in order to hang the sign.  "Oh, that sign?  Why, sir, it's been there for years!"

The People of Wal-Mart

Too many people these days hide behind the old saying, "The customer is always right."  As if that's an excuse for any kind of rude behavior.  Well, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, made that phrase a commandment.  And it works, up to a point.  Until the customer abuses the privilege.  Now, Wal-Mart may be big and successful, but I avoid shopping there if at all possible.  Why?  Because it brings out the worst in people.  When I go to Wal-Mart, the employees range from nice to surly.  But the customers?  Wow, I've been stomped, trampled, shoved, had people take things from my own shopping cart… I rarely escape Wal-Mart with a good mood.

Because of Winn Dixie

So I do my shopping at Winn Dixie.  Not just any Winn Dixie.  Because there are 3 locally, and 2 of them are just fair.  But my favorite one?  There's a reason it's my favorite.  Every employee there has a smile for me, a pleasant comment, a helpful suggestion.  If I've got a question, someone's always happy, for real, to help me.  If I ever have to work in customer service again, that's the kind of environment I would look for.

But in my favorite Winn Dixie... here's the best part… the customers are outstanding, as well!  I like to tease and say they have a better class of customer (since I AM one!), but the truth is simple.  They foster an attitude of mutual respect.  I'm sure exceptions happen, we're all human, but overall it's a good place to be. 

Share your smile

So what am I suggesting, exactly?  Well, fortunately most people are nice at heart.  What I'm asking, is let's all just be a bit nicer to each other.  It'll help make up for the rudeness of the few.  If you see an employee having a rough day, try to get a smile from them.  At the very least, give them one of yours.

No need to go out of your way about it.  It's enough to know that maybe someone's day was a bit better because of you.   


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    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Eiddwen, I appreciate it. I was in need of an encouraging word today, thank you for providing one!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and i can't believe I haven't come accross you on her before now.

      Thank you for sharing this one.

      Take care


    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      That's perfect- instead of letting the hate win, you won her over. Thanks for sharing that, it's an excellent example of what I'm trying to say.

    • Pente profile image


      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      A few years ago, I often needed to go to a nearby store where the cashier was extremely rude and mean to me. I decided to play a game. The worse she got, the nicer I would be. This battle of nice vs. mean escalated to the point where I eventually would respond to her hateful and racist remarks by telling her how much I was in love with her as I walked out of the store. I still thought it was a hopeless situation though, until one day I was walking out and she called out to me. I had accidentally dropped my wallet without realizing it. Rather than keep it for herself, she returned it to me. After that moment, she was always polite to me. My kindness had finally paid off.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks, Downeaster, I appreciate your thoughts. I'm afraid 'nice' has always been my downfall. I'm just not aggressive enough in today's world. I've truly enjoyed finding others who share my... affliction! :^)

    • downeaster profile image


      8 years ago from Downeast, NC

      Thank you for posting this. You are absolutely right. I'm afraid our society today, particularly TV and movies glamorizes obnoxious behavior. Its great to see someone promoting nice behavior.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Listlady, thanks for much for your thoughts. I've heard some of those reports. Like the lady last year who called 911 because she couldn't order chicken nuggets.

      Love your sense of humor - and appreciate the comment!

    • TheListLady profile image


      8 years ago from New York City

      Of all the rights to embrace - this is one that shouldn't be ignored but sigh! Usually is. Somehow adults have gotten it in their heads that they can be as rude and stupid as possible. There was just a report on the news tonight about adults, not children, throwing temper tantrums out in public. How dumb is that?

      Well, that tears it! I know my rights and I have the right to be nice!

      I enjoyed your hub - thanks a lot.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Amen brother! Thanks, Rich. :^)

    • richtwf profile image


      8 years ago

      I am glad that you had a good laugh my friend! Wish we could all share smiles and laughs instead of scowls and frowns, and the world would be a happier and more beautiful place!

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Richtwf, thank you; not only are you right, but you managed to make me laugh... drawing blood from a stone is all-too-accurate at times!

    • richtwf profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes useful hub to remind us that it doesn't take much effort to be nice. A simple smile, being simply courteous and polite in manner - Not much to ask for but sometimes can be like drawing blood from a stone!

      Excellent reminder and cheers for sharing.

      God bless and peace to you!

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks, Docmo, I appreciate it. Glad to hear you've had good results with your program. It's worth making the effort!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Great hub and shows that decency and respect needs to be reminded again. I advocate a culture of mutual respect, friendliness and support to my organisation and we've had good feedback from clients. Cheers!

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Annmarie, Amber, thank you both for your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 

      8 years ago

      This is an excellent observational hub. Like you I have my favorite shops and I would drive a long way to get to them as I enjoy shopping in them. I also agree if we could all be just a little bit nicer to each other the world would be a much better place.

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts.


    • profile image

      Annmarie Benavidez 

      8 years ago

      Good hub. I just finished a book called "A Culture of Honor" by Danny Silk. Very good book that talks about the way we treat people. Life changing stuff. When we all learn how to honor one another, the world will be a better place.


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