Where Did The Civility Go?

Missing The Manners Our Mothers Taught Us

Feb 5, 2011 by

"Sticking Out Your Tongue"Whatever happened to courtesy? I remember when it was a sexist insinuation for a man to hold open a door or pull out a chair for a woman. No insult to Gloria Steinem but I never took offense to those gestures, they just seemed like simple civility to me.

Whatever happened to courtesy? Right before the holidays I was at the supermarket. The wait was long. I was tired. All I wanted was to go home pour myself a glass of wine and just veg. Finally I made it to the front of the line. I gave the checker my frequent shopper card and politically correct, green cloth bags. I expect some pleasantries but she never even made eye contact.

While my order was being tallied I began to bag my groceries. Where was the bagger you ask? She was very involved in, what I am sure was, a very important conversation with friends who were visiting her line.

At the end of my order the checker looked at me with her hand held out. She spoke not a word. I handed her the cash, received my change. No thank you, no have a nice holiday…nothing. She and the bagger stood there as I finished bagging my own order. I said thanks twice trying to elicit a response…nothing!

I don’t need to know a cashier’s life story. She doesn’t need to be overly solicitous about my day, my food choices or my holiday plans. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a “hi” or a “thank you.” Do you think I’m being overly sensitive?

When I was in school I worked retail to earn extra money. Our training began with teaching us to smile, say hi and thank you. Have the rules changed that much from when I was a kid?

Whatever happened to courtesy? I came out to my car the other day and saw that someone had hit my bumper. Lulabelle is just a year old. Yes, I name my cars and Lulabelle was perfect until then..

Now, it’s not a huge dent, more of a series of scrapes. BUT!!!! We’ve all seen the commercial where the guy who dings someone’s car writes a note in crayon leaving his name and number. That guy is not the one who hit me. Playing Nancy Drew I think it was a white van or SUV when you consider the location and leftover paint. Narrows it right down doesn’t it? It can probably be buffed out, not worth the hassle of dealing with the insurance company but come on!

Where has civility gone? I’m not talking about grand gestures but little courtesies. Holding the door for the person behind you. Letting someone loaded down with bundles go ahead of you. Holding the elevator if you see someone obviously trying to rush for it. Letting someone know they’ve dropped something and then picking it up and handing it back to them. And just for something really adventurous, how about saying thank you if someone does those things!

What I’m missing are the basic manners our Moms taught us. So I ask you, “What happened to courtesy?”

About the Author

Polli Graham Has Written 19 Articles For Us!

I am by education an RN, have worked the majority of my career in ICUs. A few years ago I traded in my scrubs for lady clothes and a briefcase and now I am a liaison for group of excellent Rehabilitaion Hospitals here in Massachusetts. I get to travel around talking with people all day, do some direct marketing and education, and use skills honed over thirty years. In my real life I am a sister, an aunt a daughter and a friend. I have wonderful nieces and nephews who I can play with, travel with, be proud of and spoil! I’ve saved pictures of all our adventures so that someday I can blackmail them into taking me to Early Bird specials.
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