Is it me or have good manners and common courtesy fallen completely to the wayside? Show of hands here, how many of you have experienced rude or incompetent customer service in the past six months or so? That many, huh? I can see you, it’s kind of like the magic mirror on Romper Room. I think that if you work in customer service or any type of job that deals with the public, the first basic requirement should be that you are friendly. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. In fact, I often feel like I might be imposing just by asking questions and requesting them to get some information for me. But, it’s not just customer service reps who seem to need an attitude adjustment but, the public in general seems to be permanently set on blast!
I am generally oblivious to most things going on around me, particularly if it doesn’t directly include me. Therefore, if one’s intention is to offend me, one would have to be extremely direct. Keep this in mind as you keep reading. I am like this in part because, instead of feeling like I have been insulted or slighted, I would rather give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that their rudeness or short temper probably has nothing to do with me at all. After all, I have no idea what you were dealing with in the last ten minutes prior to our encounter. Everyone deserves a break now and then, don’t they? I think so. However, this is not a common position to take. Everyone’s fuse is so short and they are itching to tell someone…anyone…everyone off. It’s like they are practicing in the bathroom mirror for their big moment to light into the next person that sets them off! Crazy!
Ok, I have to tell you this story about something that happened to me the other day. Big Poppa, Thing 2 and I were at the McDonald’s drive – through and I was driving. Thing 2 was watching a DVD while Big Poppa and I were carrying on a conversation. After we ordered I looked in the lane next to me and the driver appeared to be still ordering so I pulled up in line toward the cashier window. About 10 seconds later I notice this loud, profanity laced rant coming from one of the cars behind us. I looked back and saw that it was the guy directly behind me and assumed that he was talking to a McDonald’s employee. So, immediately I rolled up the windows because my daughter was in the car and continued the conversation with my hubby. Meanwhile, the yelling of epithets continued. By the way, my husband is on his phone checking email and hasn’t noticed any of this. At this point, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed that the guy is using the “one finger salute”. Odd, I thought. Then he said something that included a naughty word that rhymes with “rich”. Well, that caught my attention because all of the McDonald’s employees that took the order and were at the cashier’s window were male. That’s when I started to go back through the things that he had said (because I really wasn’t paying that much attention to him, except that he was vulgar) and realized that this rant was directed at little ole’ me! Apparently he felt that I had cut him off in line. Well, I started laughing (Big Poppa was now paying attention and was not amused) because…like…really?!?! Five extra minutes – okay, ten extra minutes because the McDonald’s drive through down here is really, really slow – between you and a McDonald’s burger sends you straight over the cliff? We weren’t at Smashburger or Fuddruckers, dude. It’s McDonald’s! My laughter didn’t help the situation because I kept looking at him and laughing. I laughed in part because I was so completely oblivious for most of this scene and he was so worked up (his face was so red!) but, also because it was so completely ridiculous. Ridiculous but, more and more common.
We watch all of these reality shows where every week we wonder who is going to get in whose face. Is Ne Ne going to tell off Phaedra? Is Snookie going to go off on someone, drunk or not? I actually do not watch these shows because I don’t find bad behavior entertaining. And, quite frankly, we don’t need to watch television to encounter completely obnoxious people. These days you can probably find them living right down the street from you. One of my favorite words in the English language is decorum, which means propriety and good taste in conduct or appearance. You rarely hear it being used anymore and even worse, you rarely see it being exercised. So sad. Promise me that the next time you feel compelled to go off on a someone for some misdeed, promise me that you will take a deep breath and consider that this person’s actions are probably not intentional or that it is probably not worth it. Consider this, all of the drivers of the other cars in that drive – through line at McDonald’s that day probably do not remember me at all but, I guarantee that they do remember the guy who behaved badly. Just a thought.