Sunday, May 01, 2011

no excuse for bad manners

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking good manners are vital social lubrication. But I've realised today that there are two types of ill-mannered beings: those who are born into it {not taught good manners as a child} and those who grow into it. I met one of those who grew into it this morning.

As I was standing in line to buy milk at the service station the man in front of me was huffing, shuffling and generally having that air of very-important-person-with-very-important-things-to-do. When it was his turn he burst straight out with "You didn't give me my receipt. I need my receipt." Nice. So the girl asked him how much his petrol was, so she could go out the back and print it out - the registers only save two transactions in a row apparently. He huffed, he puffed, he flustered - and didn't say a word. So the girl asked him which bowser he was at. He huffed, he puffed, he blustered - and waved toward the company car out front.

She went out, printed out his receipt and handed it to him. He snatched it and walked out. No thank you - not a word. Just more huffing - he's-very-busy-and-important you see. Girl on checkout one turned to girl on checkout two and said "If he'd stopped talking on his phone for a second while I served him he might have noticed he didn't have a receipt."

How rude. Apparently he didn't pay the person serving him one ounce of respect. Didn't look her in the eye, say thank you {or even mouth thank you} or even nod his head. That's outrageous behaviour. Imagine what that would do to the self-esteem of the people working behind the counter. They're there, on a Sunday, working for your convenience and you don't even acknowledge it. That's just awful.

Manners cost nothing. Even if you are Very Important. Probably especially if you're very important.


  1. Couldn't agree more, I am often appalled at how people treat others in the service industry to the point I have actually commented to the customer myself - even though most of the time that gets me a foul look.

  2. Good post, I have been thinking about manners since the royal wedding and wondering whether my girls would come up to scratch under the spotlight.

  3. Oh yes, so true. If there's one thing I'm proud of with my kids it's the fact that they have beautiful manners. It's important. Mind you, they don't always display them with family :)

  4. It is so true. I must admit I have a pair of 'rude' pants, like my cranky ones only used even less often. I must throw them out and vow not to be rude again. It is despicable really. x

  5. Huffy puffy people like this really really annoy me. Seriously how hard is it to say "Hello" or "thank you" There is a shop near were I live that has a sign that says something like "if you are talking on your mobile phone we wont be serving you so please step aside"
    It the best sign I have seen in a long time!!

  6. Great post, and so true! This has stuck in my mind all week.

    I tweeted on the sad demise of manners myself this morning as the guy behind me in the coffee shop just demanded his coffee with not even a hi or a "could I have" preamble. Just, "Large Americano." "White with cream." I know people are riled by the increasingly common "can I get" so I'm soooo conscious of remembering to say "please may I have...!"

    When I was young I read a story by Enid Blyton, called 'Polly's Ps and Qs', in which a little girl who forgets to say please and thank you has paper letter Ps and Qs pinned to her dress to remind her (and kind of embarrass her a little) to mind her manners. Stuck with me as well! Sometimes secretly tempted to do this to rude folk now...! ;)

  7. I am so big on manners. It is my pet peeve when someone doesn't use them. As I always say to my students, "Manners are for free, why don't you use them. You rarely get the chance to use something so valuable for free, especially when the rewards for using them can be massive."
    Simple manners and a friendly smile can bring you so much into your life and it can give so much to someone else.


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