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Common Courtesy – Just Do It

September 18, 2007

It seems that folks just don’t have the common courtesy gene anymore. And perhaps I’m more grouchy this week than most. Whatever the reason, people seem to be rubbing me ALL the wrong way. I think there are a lot of folks out there that could stand to find some manners. Maybe they need a class. Whatever it is, these are my suggestions (today) for improved common courtesy.

At the Store:

Parking your cart sideways in the aisle at Wal-Mart? There’s just no reason for that. The aisles are small enough already without your cart causing a bigger traffic jam than the 405 has ever seen. And when I say, “Excuse me,” nicely, you could try not to sigh and roll your eyes like I’ve just asked you to dig to China with a grapefruit spoon.

“10 Items or Less” means 10 items or less. It does not mean 11 items. It does not mean “My 25 items takes up less room in the cart than your 9 items.” If you do not know how to count, re-take Kindergarten, or find a good website that can teach you how. Check with your kids. Maybe they know. If you show up in the Express Lane with 11 items, or 25 items, or 13 items, or any number of items more than 10, expect the dirty looks from those around you and expect me to laugh the next time I see you in the Express Lane with 2 items, right behind some guy with 25.

If the line behind you is not empty, feel free to NOT chit-chat with the checkout person. I don’t care if she’s your long-lost Aunt Thelma and you haven’t seen her in 30 years. I have four restless kids that have already removed every item from the endcap, dinner to make, laundry to be done, and phone calls to make. I don’t care to stand here while you two catch up on your whole lives for the past 30 years. You want to chat while your credit card authorization is going through? Fine, I’ll give you that 10 seconds. Otherwise, exchange phone numbers and drive on, already.

And when you leave the store? Stopping to examine your receipt in the middle of the Exit doors is not appropriate. Back to the whole “bigger traffic jam than the 405” thing. You could actually go all the way to your car and check it out there. You could even stop outside the store, to the side of the Exit doors, if you just don’t want to have to go all the way back in from your car to get your 30 cents or whatever back. Either way, I’m sure you could find a more reasonable spot to verify the checkout person’s accuracy than right there. Did you not see the flood of people behind you?

In the Restaurant:

If you have not paid to rent the whole place exclusively for yourself and your loud party, feel free to lower your voice at any time. There are, in fact, other diners around you that might enjoy being able to hear themselves think over your ridiculously loud story. Even better? They would probably like to have a nice dinner, and some conversation… which is why they’re in the restaurant in the first place. Look around. If people are staring at you and the only sound you can hear is yourself? And no one else is laughing? Try eating instead of talking.

And when you actually eat? Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, chew with your mouth closed. Italian food is really appetizing on the plate. Not so much when it’s half chewed and falling out of your mouth. And if you’re sitting right behind me in the booth and I can actually hear your lips smacking? Try to remember that the starving children in Ethiopia don’t need to be saddened because they can hear you eating while they go without. Or if others can see food flying out of your mouth while you’re talking? You should be ejected from the restaurant. That’s just plain disgusting. Did your mother not teach you to chew with your mouth closed? Have you not heard that no one likes “See Food”? Grow some manners already.

On the Road:

Driving right on my bumper does not make me want to get out of your way. And driving up my tailpipe will not encourage me to go faster. In fact, it encourages me to see how close you can get to my bumper before I slam on the brakes as hard as I can. How about if you assume that I have a good reason for going the speed limit, take a deep breath, slow down, deal with it, and pass me when you get a chance? That way we can both save the insurance headache you’ll have for rear-ending me after I saw that cute little squirrel run across the road in front of me. Capisce?

Those little yellow lines in the parking lot? They’re there so that you can manuever your giant SUV, or even your little tiny Escort, in between them. They’re there so that everyone can have an equal shot at finding a parking space. Really, there are generally plenty to go around… unless you park your car sideways or manage to get one of the little yellow lines centered directly underneath your car. If you can’t park it, don’t drive it. If you park it like an idiot, expect your shiny paint job to be in jeopardy. I might just give you a dirty look, but there are plenty of folks out there far less courteous than I when parking spaces are at a premium.

And if I’m sitting in the parking lot, with my turn signal on, waiting for the person now occupying that parking space to pull out? It’s seriously rude to pull into that space just because you happen to be on the same side of the row as the person leaving.

Even if your windows are tinted, others around you at the stoplight can see you. Feel free to spend your time singing, laughing, or talking. Please don’t pick your nose. We can see you. Really. And that’s disgusting. How old are you anyway? Did your mother not teach you that anything smaller than your elbow does not belong in your nose or ear? Seriously. No one wants to be grossed out at the stoplight. Get a tissue already.

At the Office:

If you live in cubeland, feel free to actually get out of your chair, walk over, and have a quiet conversation with the person on the other side of the cube. If you shout at the top of your lungs so that you can be heard by that person? THE REST OF US CAN HEAR YOU. And we actually have work to do… that is being interrupted by you and your loud conversation.

And if I am on the phone? Which you should know because I sit in the cube right next door, try to wait until I’m actually done with that conversation to use your canned air to clean off your keyboard. Because trying to talk over that makes me feel like throwing my stapler at you.

When you send e-mail? And you copy everyone on God’s green earth, it really looks like you’re tattling. My kids go to time out for trying to get others in trouble purposely–surely you don’t want that. You might actually try getting out of your chair, walking the 20 feet to my cube, and having an actual conversation with me about whatever it is you want done. In reality, I probably wanted to help you before you sent that e-mail. I would have even wanted to help you if you had just sent the e-mail to me. It’s just possible that I’m on my 50th phone call, and 75th emergency today. Getting my manager to come over and give me a hard time will not ingratiate you for future requests. If my next list is 100 things long, rest assured that you’re 101st.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2007 8:06 am

    HA! I never thought about the canned air thing! HA! That is too funny.

    I also have another one, but this is for AIR TRAVEL COURTESY:

    1) Please do not stop in the middle of the walkway to look the departure/arrival board. If you must, “pull over” to the right side, and glance up. Better yet, just glance to your right as you’re walking and find your gate. Cities are alphabetized, so it shouldn’t be that tough.

    2) I know everyone loves their iPods. But, please turn the volume down so those around you don’t hear “cccchhhhhhkkkkkk” every two seconds while your rock out to Usher or Kanye or whomever toots your horn these days.

    3) Please don’t lean on me. I know the seats are tight, and big ole’ fatty here takes up every square centimeter, but armrests are for BOTH OF US TO SHARE. Please don’t assume it’s yours and claim it for the entire flight. I don’t like crossing my arms — it’s a defensive posture first and foremost and second, the blood actually does need to circulate down to my fingers (just occasionally).

    Oh there are so many more…

  2. September 18, 2007 8:29 am

    If only I had a Jesus-mobeel….

    I have managed, in two jobs so far, to sit in the vicinity of the men’s bathroom. I’ve lost count how often I get to hear the toilet seat get flipped up at light speed with a bang before the door even slams shut. Then? The hacking/sinus/nose/throat clearing thing they don’t quite finish before they open the door to the public again….as they walk out with their magazines….

  3. September 18, 2007 9:29 am

    Hang in there Stephanie, for everything is going to work out. You will make it through the turmoil! Just keep smiling and laughing. Kill’em with kindness. (I must remind myself to listen to my own words)

  4. September 18, 2007 12:09 pm

    A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Stephanie…you did have one recently – right???

    We are praying for you and your husband and the kids. God sees, Stephanie. He will be your defender and He will bring righteousness.

    Meanwhile – love the ranting – we may as well just get it all on the table right now! Here is mine-at church: OK-I am walking in just seconds before it starts because I have been, you know-fellowshipping! I spy out 2 great seats in the fourth row and off my husband and I go to find out – just as everyone is asked to stand-that some one has put their Bibles there to “save” them. We turn back, humiliated – the losers who are now “late” looking for seats that aren’t being saved. It’s funny how in church, if you don’t already know people, they rarely see you looking and motion, “Hey-here are some seats.” Just doesn’t happen?

  5. September 18, 2007 10:02 pm

    I love this post and all I can say is, “Amen!”

  6. September 18, 2007 10:34 pm

    Haha…love the rant! You made some good points.

  7. tulips4me permalink
    September 21, 2007 5:33 am

    I know we have talked about this before…Common Courtesy and Common Sense are not quite so common anymore.

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