Friday, September 25, 2015

Common Courtesy

If I owned a business the first rule would be to smile when dealing with customers. A smile is such a small gesture and it does so much good.

I was once in a fast food place and waited on by a gum chewing young woman who made it very clear that I was interfering with her idly-standing-around time. She wore that practiced look of boredom that I see all too often.

Of course I never returned to that particular place. I do not make threats, I just do it. I know that one customer will not bother them even a little. On the other hand I prefer to be an appreciated customer and try to only patronize the establishments who make it clear that they want my business.

My children grew up in the city so rude people in  stores and restaurants were the norm for them. My daughter was visiting her grandmother here and went to the grocery store with my son to help out Grandma. When the bag boy offered to help her to the car my daughter was insulted. She is perfectly capable of lifting groceries by herself, thank you very much. (City kids!)

When my son moved here to take care of his father he was more than a little worried about being more or less on his own in a strange place. One of the first things he noticed was how friendly people are.

I had been telling my children all their lives about the friendly people I grew up around. We were taught to smile and look people in the eyes. When walking on the street you issue a friendly greeting. If someone is speaking you look at them and pay attention. It is courtesy, plain and simple courtesy.

I lived in the big city when I had my babies. I did not drive then so if I wanted to go downtown I took the bus. I would walk three blocks to the bus stop carrying one baby all the way and the other little one part of the way. I also had a diaper bag filled with whatever I might need during our outing.

When the bus would arrive I would clamber on board carrying two babies and a diaper bag. It was a clumsy endeavor at best.

Usually the bus was full so it was hard to find a seat. Both babies and the diaper bag would be on my lap so we filled a seat but only one seat. Do you think anyone would get up to offer a seat? Nope. I often stood trying to hold onto a pole while at the same time holding my babies and diaper bag and trying to keep my balance through all the starts and stops before we reached our destination.

After all these years I am still bitter about that. I know sitting is an easier way to travel but seeing a woman with two babies trying to stand on a bus... it seems that someone would stand and offer a seat.

That goes for older people too. Often as we age our balance is not as good and our bones are more brittle. An act of kindness takes so little effort and could prevent a mishap. Get up a give a seat to someone who needs it more than you do!

How about people who stand around talking loudly about personal business? At the tops of their lungs they complain about loved ones. You cannot help hearing. They are loud and oblivious to their noise.

But suddenly they will turn and growl, "What are you looking at?"

If you must be so crass as to make such a commotion you should know that no one can help staring at you. So the answer to your question will always be, " I am looking at you."

So you are standing in line, waiting your turn for whatever service you seek. In comes someone who has not been there while you have been waiting. That person walks up and steps into the line in front of someone near the head of the line. The person they step in front of does not know how to object because the interloper is so brazen.

Naturally everyone in the line is upset as the person who took cuts sashays merrily out the door as you are still waiting.

Rudeness is never acceptable. It is so much easier to be kind. A smile costs nothing and makes everyone who receives it feel better. And a smile uses fewer face muscles than a frown so it is better for you inside and out.

Try each day to give an unsolicited smile. Then do something kind for no reason other than it is kind. There will be three happier people in the world. The person you gave the smile to, the person you were kind to, and you because you will feel better about yourself.


  1. Well said. Recently I encouraged a young and extremely hyperactive boy to throw his fist sized frizbee down a corridor, then go down and throw it back. I knew all the offices were empty. Meanwhile his mother continued her business at the window. Suddenly she turned and yelled "Stop throwing that frizbee." I shrugged at the youngster and smiled. He smiled and shrugged back. So, for the rest of her transaction mama had son hanging on her, demandind to leave. The little one and I exchanged grins as he went through the door, literally hanging off his mother's back pocket.

    1. Smart kid! He knew what his mother obviously did not. A child has energy and it is going to be expended one way or another. If not allowed some sort of physical activity kids will bother the person trying to stop it. You were smart to encourage him to move and get rid of a little energy.

  2. I'm with you here. There is no excuse for rudeness. My folks would have beaten me senseless when I was a child (not really but the threats were a deterrent) had I been rude to anyone.

    1. There is never a good reason for rudeness... ever. I am astounded that many parents no longer insist on polite children.

  3. It seems that most people think only of themselves.

  4. It seems that most people think only of themselves.

    1. I think it goes further than that. I don't believe they think. It takes no extra time to smile and be polite. And people respond so much better (and faster) to a kind tone. And it takes no effort to smile rather than work at being a pain in the @&&.

  5. What you have mentioned apply basically to every place.
    But I have to remember to smile, at least, it starts from me.

    1. Whether anyone else smiles you will feel good if you smile. A smile starts at the mouth and moves throughout your body. Others will see it and begin to feel good too. It all starts with your smile.