Whatever happened to good manners?
I mean, good grief, people!
In my day job, I work as a receptionist. Glamorous, I know. What can I say? There aren't too many positions open for "female berserker." In my work as a receptionist, I have come across the worst phone etiquette I thought possible. Before this, working in retail, I had encountered the worst general manners you could possibly expect... from normal people... who one would expect to know better!
Rudeness is, in my opinion, becoming a frakking epidemic.
Some of you might not consider it a big deal. To me, because I'm actually an eighty-year-old curmudgeon stuck in a young girl's body, it's a huge deal. Why? Because it comes down to respect.
Respect is something that is given, in varying degrees, automatically to all things everywhere. It is almost always reciprocal. And while some things get more than others, there is a base amount you give to everything. For example, when you go for a hike in the Canadian Rockies, you respect the hell out of the fact that this is rattlesnake territory. You wear appropriate clothing, and you mind where you put your feet. In return, the snakes will likely respect you enough not to bite (read here: they're actually terrified of the giant two-legged animals that stomp awkwardly over various terrain for fun (hikers) and will try and stay out of the way).
There is the respect that you give to people you know are your superiors (and I'm talking actual superiors, not just people who are of a higher rank than you, though they count as well). You yield to them. When they speak, you shut your gob and listen no matter what. When they ask you for something, you go get that thing they asked for. You do this all naturally and happily because there is something innate (or overt, like a sash... or something) in this person which tells you that they are to be respected.
Then, there is the normal baseline respect. The respect you give to perfect strangers who have done nothing to earn any higher degree, and similarly done nothing to earn any lower degree of your respect. These people include, but are not limited to, your teacher, your parents, your parents' friends, the wait staff at your local diner, the checkout chick at the super cheap grocery store, the janitor, the bus driver, the cops, the homeless, etc. While you're not expected to be immediately best friends with these people, the baseline amount of respect dictates that, at the very least, you mind your frakkin' manners when speaking to them! At least, people used to give that baseline respect. That's not happening any more.
Look, I realise that we're living in an age of entitlement; that tonnes of people believe that they are simply owed whatever thing they desire, and they should get it no matter how much of an arsehole they are (and whether or not they worked for it... but that's a different rant). These days, one doesn't ask a waitress for their meal, they demand it and you better get it quickly because I'm spending money on this, wench! These days, one doesn't excuse oneself from a social engagement, they just up and leave, and no one cares if the people left behind are confused or upset about the sudden absence. These days, people make demands, not requests of perfect strangers in as abrasive a manner as possible.
It's really starting to piss me off.
Can you tell?
And here's the thing, respect is reciprocal. The more you give, the more you get. Unless you're dealing with a grade-A arsehole... which appears to be a much more frequent occurrence than it used to be, I'll admit. At the very least, at the very least, you say please when asking someone to do something. And then you follow that with a thank you when they do it.
It's not hard, people!
"Move!" is unacceptable (unless they're deliberately blocking your way and being polite has not worked. In that case, feel free to also throw a solid right hook, especially if they're getting handsy).
"Move, please" is the absolute bare minimum of acceptability in stranger interactions.
"Yes, please" not "Yes."
"No, thank you" (alternatively, "Thank you, but no") not "No" (there are situations where a flat out 'no' is certainly warranted. Again, if they're getting handsy, time to bring out that solid right hook... possibly a good knee...).
On the phone or otherwise, when someone wishes you a good morning, 'Yeah' is not the appropriate response, you obnoxious brute!
Speaking of phone etiquette, while it is no longer expected that you state your full name before uttering your request, please and thank you are still a part of the conversation. "May I speak with [insert name], please" is correct. "Yeah, [insert name followed by expectant pause]" is so far from correct it makes me want to shove the receiver right up your....
Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.
Be warned, if we happen to be interacting in any way and you are rude to anyone, be it wait staff, myself or to my friends, you will be so told. I will not spare you a tongue lashing for sake of propriety. I am too old to be putting up with that shit, and no one else should have to put up with it either.
So mind your p's and q's, thank you very much. You will be surprised how well people respond to just that little bit of respect.
It boggles my mind how people have forgotten what getting along in society is and how to do it, and it makes me sad for my own species when people remark with such genuine gratitude on how polite I am.
Polite is what I should be. Polite is what you should be.
Now get off my lawn, you hoodlums!