Plastic Manners in a Rubber Society
I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off of me and sticks to you. You’ve heard it said across the land. From playground to playground. The early training in speech for politely letting the aggressor know they have crossed the line. This is supposed to shock them into stopping in their tracks. The problem with this is that each generation learns less from the one before about how to use its manners. This creates a cycle of practiced pretense at having manners. People creating their own moral code. What they think good behavior should be. Everyone sets the bar at a different level. So, while little Bobby chants about rubber and glue, Bubba is making a knuckle sandwich. After all, these are the manners he is learning at home.
That is just school yard politics. Let us talk about adults on an average shopping day. The setting is a mildly warm Texas day in the end of December. Just a few days before Christmas. All the stores have the tinny music of the season blasting out of the speakers. Shoppers are wandering to and fro in a last minute shopper stupor. People are pushing and shoving. No apologies uttered. Grabbing items haphazardly from off the shelf. Change of heart, throw it on a shelf in another department. Who cares anyway, that’s what the people get paid for right? Rush, get it don’t make eye contact. What is the first thing you notice as you look around when you walk into a store, restaurant or coffee shop? That’s right, No one wants to be there. Especially the employees. Not very often do you hear I’ll be with you in a moment. It can be frustrating yes? Yes.
Another area that I notice a lack of learned politeness is when you are in the never ending loop of being passed from non-helpful person to non-helpful person on the phone with customer support. The veiled contempt that a customer is shown over the phone is very difficult to deal with. Often I feel like dispensing with good manners and having a nice verbal throw down. Especially after the 3rd or 4th person. More often than not, say with a cable company, you are told it is user error. This makes you feel quiet bright. Am I right? I think I am.
Let’s not even talk about what happens as we drive about. How about people calling to telemarket at your home? Doesn’t that feel like an invasion? Not so polite. I don’t mean to be so negative. It would just be so much more of a peaceful and quiet world to live in if we were all a bit more polite and nicer to one another.