4.11.2016

Common Courtesy Etiquette Discussion



I write in Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic that "common courtesies are the Manners 101 of the etiquette world". They are the basic courtesies that we extend each other each day that make the world a more pleasant place. Common courtesies can be as simple as saying please and thank you, or they can be more complex like helping someone in need or offering refreshments to a guest. I have noticed that common courtesies in our society have taken a decline in recent years. Have you noticed this too?

This week, I have three stories for you from my personal life that have to do with common courtesies. This will be a fun discussion to have, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I want to hear it all- the good news and the bad! Do you have any encouraging stories to share? Any common courtesy horror stories? Chime in below and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News
Huffington Post travel mentions me in their article, 8 Travel Etiquette Tips to Get You Off The Ground.

Castlephile Travels writes about Lessons from Madame Chic in her article called, Simple Pleasures.

Comments of the Week
Pauline D writes: I must tell you a most embarrassing story!! We are in France at the moment and I wanted to get my hair cut. As there always seem to be a lot of hairdressers around I thought it probably wouldn't be necessary to make an appointment and so today when we were shopping at the Leclerc there was a hairdresser in the mall ........let me back up and tell you what I decided to wear today....As it's still cool I put on a long paneled skirt in a grey weave, my leather boots (so far, so good) and then, although we were going to town I figured as it's cold I would keep my coat on so I decided to pull on a grotty old white long sleeved t-shirt (why do I still have it you ask...) and a dusty purple short sleeve t-shirt over the top with my camel coloured corduroy short belted coat. I figured that as we drove into town I could always pop back to the motor home and change if it got warmer. Well, the hairdresser was able to cut my hair right there and then, no appointment necessary.......and she asked me for my coat!! To say that she audibly gasped when I took my coat off would be an exaggeration, but her eyebrows definitely rose and she did give my a funny look - I think she thought I'd forgotten to take my pyjama top off. I could have crawled in a hole. So ladies, lesson learned, if you're layering, make sure the underneath layers are as presentable as the outer layers!! (In my defense I will say that a lot of my staples were in the wash......but I'm sure I could have come up with something more presentable).

Pauline, I appreciate your bravery for telling this humorous story! I think we all have a story like this from our past. I know I have many! It's something to laugh at and learn from.

Marla W writes: I learned from your books, Jennifer, how to dress up even simple food by setting a beautiful table. I made a simple soup for a friend for lunch and put on some nice jazz music and welcomed her graciously. She was so enthralled by how she was treated by me that she wrote a lengthy thank you card about how special it made her feel. You are right, it's not about having fancy things, it's about using our best to say to our guest, "you are important to me." I do this with my sons and husband too, and they love it!

Hi Marla, the lunch you made for your friend sounds so special. I'm glad that it made a meaningful impression on her too! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Amy M writes: For my birthday last week a sweet friend gave me your first book, Lessons from Madame Chic and even at 50 years old, I'm enjoying perusing the pages, remembering my many trips to Europe. Having been reared in the deep South, we still carry on many of the formal traditions, especially at mealtime. But, as Americans, we have sadly lost the art of the life well lived! Thanks for reminding me to continue to teach my three teenage daughters define art of living passionately and beautifully!

Thank you, Amy and happy birthday!

Lisa P writes: I had a similar background to you Jennifer; lots of classical music and lots of books. But, honestly, it was Nancy Drew ( don't laugh) who opened my eyes to intentionally good behavior. I loved her and still do. Nancy had manners, took pride in her appearance, and handled tough situations with grace and poise. I still read those books to remind myself to act my best and try my best. And I'm 53!

Hi Lisa, I loved your comment because Nancy Drew was a big influence for me too! I read every book in the series and still look at them every now and then. Nancy Drew sure had class.

I receive so many interesting comments each week and am not able to feature all of them, so be sure to check out what your fellow connoisseurs are saying on the blog, YouTube channel and social media sites. Chime in this week and let me know your thoughts on common courtesies. Do you have any common courtesy stories to share with us?

See you soon!

Jennifer x

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41 comments:

Genuine Edge said...

A pet peeve of mine -- - it's not ok for the immediate family to host a baby or wedding shower. Bad taste! I guess this rule has gone the way of " a lady never leaves the house without a slip," "no white dress shoes after Labor Day and other things that our comfy generation has gone away from. Maybe Americans just don't like rules.

Margery said...

I'm so grateful for the part of my culture in the South (Georgia) which still values common courtesy and gentle manners. As long as the mommas keep teaching and heir children, we will continue to enjoy letting others go first, or "pleases" and "thank yous" and "good mornings." I have noticed that there is sadly, still a general trend away from graciousness and courtesy.

Patricia said...

Jennifer,
I think it is so sad that no one has ever offered the man who put in your play set a cold drink. We had a fence put in last year and I offered the men ice water although they did not take it because they had their own cooler with beverages. I do my best to be courteous and kind in all situations. Whether holding the door, saying please and thank you, greeting people, or giving my seat to an elderly person, I try not to overlook anything that I can do.

It's true that there are many rude people. I have neighbors who completely ignore me and my family when we wave or say hello. I have to admit that I've stopped saying hello after dozens of attempts, but maybe I'll begin again and raise to the higher level. My biggest pet peeve is when I hold the door for someone and they just glide on by without looking at me or saying thank you! I will keep doing the right thing by spreading kindness. My children have seen me and my husband being courteous and they have been that way since they were very young and they are now teenagers with kind hearts and good manners.

07d584f2-e0a2-11e5-8d5c-ab61e1d3ba3d said...

@Genuine Edge: My family still adheres to the no hosting showers for family tradition. I never had a bridal or baby shower for that reason. My sisters were my only bridesmaids and my wedding was tiny so there were no non-family members who offered to host. Again when I had my children no one offered to host a shower so I didn't have one. So there are definitely still families that adhere to these principles. Even if it means having nothing at all as the alternative. Although I appreciate my family adhering to their principles I do get a little wistful every time I attend a shower. It all worked out fine though- I am still married and have 2 lovely children- even without a shower to celebrate either event.

Kristina said...

Hi Jennifer, what I have noticed lately is more and more people do no not hold the door open for me and it drives me crazy. I don't know if it's because they don't have patience or if they can't be bothered. Either way it's extremely rude and I try to not let it get to me. I agree that manners is first taught in the home and it's important to be a role model to your children. I am always proud of my children when I catch them being polite and helping others. It's true that we should never lower our standards because others are lacking in common courtesy. Thank you for bringing up this important topic and let's hope we can inspire others to practice poise.

Lily said...

Hello Jennifer,
I must say that I have lost count of the times I have held a door open or stood back to let someone go past and not even had a smile in return-let alone a thank you but I always think I would feel worse if I didn't show manners than I do when I choose to be courteous and get ignored.
I live in England and sadly, not everyone says thank you when you hold back to let their car through, although I think most people do.
Genuine edge mentioned baby showers. I am going to one soon (fairly new thing in England) which is to be hosted by the sister of the bride. I would be interested to know why this is bad taste? I have no idea what we are supposed to do. Is the idea to give presents for the baby?
I really look forward to your posts Jennifer. There are many of us out here who still believe in good manners and kindness.

DPMindy said...

Jennifer,

Your Costco story reminded me of an incident that happened to me a few years ago that I will never forget. I was working in an office downtown and at the end of the day one of my coworkers who had left for the day returned to her desk very upset. She was a young mother whose older model vehicle would not start and suspected the battery was dead. She had no husband, no auto club or any one to help. She was very frustrated that she was late to pick up her kids from daycare (and frustrated with the cost also associated with this!). I kept jumper cables in my trunk and another lady on our team offered to help. It was right around 5 PM and we parked in a tower style parking garage that was basically one way traffic on the way out at the end of the day. There was no way to position my vehicle near her dead one because of where she was parked. Since the garage ramped downhill except on the ends and the distance was short, we decided it wouldn't be too hard to push her car down to the open spot next to my car so she could get started and be on her way.

So we managed to push the car out of its spot, down the ramp (thanks gravity!) and over to the open parking space next to my car. One lady in the driver seat steering and two women in office clothes (I specifically remember wearing a pencil skirt and heels!) pushing this car from the back as we turned it into the parking space. During all this time, not a single soul leaving the garage offered to help. We had moved the car down an entire floor, around a corner, into a parking space AND had connected the jumper cables, started the car and were removing the cables before a gentleman stopped to ask if we needed help!

I'm thankful someone did ask finally (not that we needed help by then!), but was shocked at the 30+ cars that passed and did not even offer to help three women in heels pushing and jump starting a car. I don't play the damsel in distress card either and am proud to be sufficient enough to handle these things, but it was eye opening how so many people were too wrapped up in their own business/schedules/etc. to help people who obviously could have used a hand!

Emma Knight Peel said...

I live in the country in Michigan and commute to Chicago for work, and the difference in politeness is palpable. In Michigan, on the first icy morning last winter, I was going too fast on a curve and touched my brakes and spun across the road into the ditch. The second person who came along stopped to help me, and then the next couple in a car also stopped, so the three of them were able to push me out of the ditch. A few weeks ago, I passed an old lady pulled over with a flat tire, and as I was thinking what I should do (try to change it myself, go and get my dad (where I was headed), or stop and ask if she's called someone, I passed a truck and watched in my rearview mirror as he turned around to help her. I think it's so nice how people immediately help those in distress in my hometown area. I find Chicago to be polite with holding doors, but that's about it. On the streets, they bulldoze over you like they don't even see you, and almost no one says hello or good morning unless I say it first. I always wave when people let me go first at a stop sign or let me into traffic. Hopefully, those tho don't will think it's nice and start doing it. Another time, I saw an older lady with a lot of "pop" (soda), loading from her cart into her trunk, and I stopped and helped her. She looked suspicious at first, probably wondering what I was after, but after it was all loaded, I went to my car and she thanked me. Random acts of kindness and courtesy are so nice.

Emma Knight Peel said...

Last week, I was waiting for an elevator at work, and a woman walked past me headed toward our reception area to a meeting room. I said hello, and she marched right past me with a grumpy look on her face. I see that look all too often. People have lost their joy! I think it's especially rude to ignore people who work at the same company! Why not respond when someone speaks to you? I assumed she was focused on her meeting, but still... how disappointing!

Jeannie said...

Good story: I've noticed a change for the better in my city (northwest). 15 years ago if you let someone merge in front of you on the freeway you would get no acknowledgement and didn't expect one. One day someone waved to me in their rear view mirror and it gave me such a lift that I decided to do that too. 5 years ago I noticed that most people wave and you feel let down if they don't.
About 20 years ago I noticed an 8 year old boy who'd just moved into the neighbourhood wave at someone who stopped to let him cross at a crosswalk. I'd never seen that before either. Same thing, it is now common, not rare. One little act can make a difference, give it time.
Funny story: a coworker's car broke down on a remote stretch of highway and 3 people stopped to help. Her car broke down again on her way to work and she watched the fellow who sits in the office next door to hers drive right by (fact is he's a very sweet guy). She laughed and said "in the country everyone stops, in the city not even your friends stop" :)

felicita castro said...

Jennifer,

I remember standing at my bus one day when a neighbor came up to me and said she usually takes a later bus, the same time as my son. She told me whenever my son sees her or any female/elderly person, he would always let them get on the bus first. If he was already on the bus, he would automatically offer his seat to a lady/elderly person. She also noticed my son always walks on the outside while walking with a lady/elderly person. She wanted to thank me for his manners. I have taught my son proper manners, such as holding the doors, holding a person’s chair while sitting, opening the car door for a lady/elderly person, not to mention please and thank you. It makes me feel proud my sons does this without hesitation and I wish many would follow. As you said all this is common courtesy.

I love your posts, keep them coming. Felicita

Jane said...

The standards are certainly too "casual" where I live...My husband and I eat out with our 3-year-old son quite often and I am constantly complimented by other patrons and staff on how well behaved he is compared to most children. We aren't frequenting upscale restaurants with him in tow, but I do belive he would be able to handle that too. It's a lot of work to constantly remind him and explain to him how things should be done (instead of resorting to taking out a tablet) but it pays off. It is much less stressful in the long run instead of having a child who can't even sit at the table and color with crayons until their food is served. At one restaurant a waitress told my family that often children are running around and in one case were stealing food off of other patrons' plates! This was not a cheap establishment. The manager had to ask them to leave. To me that is horrible but I am not shocked. People are just too lazy and self consumed to parent and it ruins other people's dining experience. I don't care if it's McDon

Jane said...

*McDonald's... Even if you have kids in tow, be considerate of others and teach it to kids from a young age.

PLL said...

Jennifer, I agree common courtesy is waning, however I am in the camp of it's never to late to revive it! One of the things I do is to always thank the person who bag's my groceries, most times its a different person than the cashier. So many times they look at me like...what you are thanking me, why yes I am! Once time the cashier stopped looked at me and said in 5 years of working at this store, this is the first time I have ever heard a bagger thanked! She has no idea what her words of recognition meant to me...but you do!

Gigi said...

A topic near and dear to my heart! I live in the South, which is supposedly known for its manners and graciousness. I see many omissions of both on a daily basis. But I agree with the others, we are teaching our children how they should behave and that little, by little, we are spreading the word.

Amy said...

Hi Jennifer

I currently work part time at a grocery store as a cashier on nights and weekends to earn extra money. The amount of people on cell phones who just ignore me is astounding. When I greet them they don't even say "Hello" and when I let them know the total for their order they look at me as if I am being rude by interrupting their phone conversation. Your Costco story also resonated with me very much because often I will be ringing out large orders of $200-$300 worth of groceries. I am a small 5'2" and often times I will be struggling to lift large items and strong young men will just stand there and watch me and not even offer to help bag their own groceries. I do realize it is my job and they are not in any way obligated to help, but it would be nice if they did. But on the flip side I do also have many wonderful customers who are very polite. I always make sure to thank them for their help and kindness and make sure they know I appreciate it!

-Amy

Maureen @Raising The Capable Student said...

My students say goodbye and thank you to me as they leave class each period. I love this touch of civility! I stand by the door as they leave and tell them goodbye and usually add a word of encouragement or a compliment for a job well done. This is a school wide practice, and I think the students appreciate it as much as the teachers.

Vicki Zimmerman said...

Common courtesy etiquette role model checking in! Even when changing lanes on the busy 405 freeway or an intersection with four stop signs, I will give a "wave of thanks"'to acknowledge the other driver's courtesy. I truly think it's building goodwill, kindness and etiquette with our own personal and subtle gestures. Smiling and saying hello or excuse me are excellent ways to communicate kind courtesy, as well.

Louise said...

My courtesy pet-peeve: People (mostly young people) who don't send thank you notes (or emails) for gifts. For weddings and new babies, I always send checks now. At least I don't have to wonder whether the recipient actually got the gift! I'm always pleasantly surprised when I do receive a thank-you note.

Rose said...

I think perhaps you are preaching to the choir Jennifer but I'm sure all of us are applauding. I could recount similar stories about "tradies" (tradespeople) who have been delighted by offers of refreshment/advice on the location of the loo when working in our home.

Can I tell you something funny? As an Aussie I noticed this because we drive on the right hand side of the road. When you were talking about the courteous wave to other drivers in your own street you waved your left hand, as you would when driving. When you spoke of the same thing in England, you waved your right hand. :D

Susan Watson said...

Jennifer,
Could you give some advice as to how a poised person deals with unwanted attention as the result of extending common courtesy? I am talking about situations where the response to common courtesy is inappropriate or excessive and leaves the courteous person uncomfortable. My latest event of this type has been when I extended common courtesy, just one time, to a grocery store employee, who happened to be a department manager. After that, I received excessive, unprofessional, unwanted attention every time I shopped in the store thereafter. I did my best to courteously make it clear that I did not want this attention. I ended up having to complain to the store manager before the excessive, unwanted attention ceased. I also would like to know your thoughts about how to remain poised and to use common courtesy when you live in a less than safe neighborhood and it is not often wise to engage with others courteously. Myself and another blog reader-I don't remember her name- have asked you this question before in the comments section, but you did not acknowledge it. I think that it is an important topic, not just to myself, but to others as well. To sum up, here are my questions: 1. How does a poised person handle inappropriate responses to common courtesy? 2. How does one extend common courtesy and maintain one's personal safety? How would Madame Chic handle something like this? I would really appreciate your thoughts on this and I think others would too. Thank-You for your blog and your books. S.

mimimanderly said...

One of the first things we did when we moved into our house is have all the original, drafty windows replaced with insulated windows. We have a lot of windows, and it required having several workmen in our home from fairly early in the morning until sometime in the afternoon for the better part of a week. This was a disruption, but as these guys were going to be sharing our home for a bit, I decided to make them feel at home. I always offered them coffee in the morning, and made up pitchers of iced tea (and ice cubes -- which we personally did not use) so that they could have a cold drink. I chatted with them briefly as I entered a room they were working in, and these small courtesies made what could have been an annoyance into a pleasant experience -- not just, presumably, for them, but for us as well. I always make it a point, even when a workman is just coming to tune the piano or maintain the furnace, to offer a beverage. Usually they ask for just water, if anything, but I think it's important to be welcoming to everyone that crosses your threshold -- even if you are paying them to do something for you.

Regarding your Costco struggle: I am very short (5 feet even) and the shelves in my grocery store are very high. I have been known to ask random strangers for help reaching the top shelf. Not just men -- women, too. Just about everyone is taller than me. They don't seem to mind being asked. I think it gives them a chance to do something to help someone else that doesn't take a lot of effort or time, but can let them feel good about it regardless.

Ash rose said...

Why is it bad taste for Anna mediate family member to throw a shower for you?

Ash rose said...

Why is it bad taste for Anna mediate family member to throw a shower for you?

Melissa H. said...

This topic reminds me of when I recently took my daughter to the ballet. I had spent a good amount of time talking about how important it was to arrive early, use the restroom if needed and take our seats before the ballet began, and that we would need to stay in our seats until intermission.

I was so disappointed to see that so many people came in late, walked in front of others to get to their seats in the middle of a row, or left during the performance and came back, walking in front of others AGAIN.

This was all so discourteous not only to the other patrons, but to the ballet company that was delivering a beautiful performance. I am sure it was distracting for them. They were from another country and it bothered me to think about the opinion they were forming about our culture.

I love this video and I have enjoyed reading your books as well!

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer,

About the etiquette of hosting a baby shower for those wondering
http://entertainmentguide.local.com/miss-manners-baby-shower-etiquette-10098.html


As to Jennifer's points, any among us with young children or teens in our lives, I believe we can make a real difference by both our examples as role models and by offering guidance and even correcting behaviour. This can be applied to so many everyday scenarios...transportation, shopping, sharing a meal, interacting with friends, neighbours and family. Offering suggestions and guidance in a light- hearted but sincere way can be a real learning and bonding experience. We don't need to be preachy or nag. It also keeps us on our toes...I know that my own manners are sure not perfect!


Anita Kimerstorfer said...

Hi Jennifer,
a very inspiring video, as always.

I am from Austria (Europe). We usually say please and thanks, wave on the street when sb lets us pass by.

I can tell you a story:
I live in a small village and usually greet my neighbours even if I don't know them all any longer.
I once visited my sister in Vienna (2 million inhabitants). She lives in a big housing complex in a nice area. I was outside playing with my niece. There was a lady who had the window of her flat open and was doing something on her window board. She was watching us maybe thinking: Who is this lady, I have never seen her before. Knowing that she was looking at us so intensely, I looked straigt up to her and said: Hello, how are you? What did she do? She flinchend, closed her window and immideately disappeared in her appartment - WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING.

But usually things are alright. You inspire me so much and I try to be more polite than usual after this video.

Regards, Anita

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Thank you for your insights! If you have time, I need some outfit suggestions for a week long trip to Disney World. I see you wearing cute ballet flats and flat sandals for activities with your girls, but my feet do not hold up wearing those. If you had to wear shorts and sneakers (I blister horribly from sandals when walking long distances) to a theme park, how would you make it look put together and feminine on top? I was thinking sleeveless polos and cute cardigans, but I'm lost. Shorts/sneakers are not my usual staples, but Disney is a whole other world. Thanks!

Nicole Pivec said...

I honestly have never heard that one should not host a shower if it is for a family member. It must be a regional custom. Here in the Midwestern United States, showers for family members is quite common and I have enjoyed being both the recipient and hostess of such events.

In terms of what to give, a bridal shower in my area, often includes lingerie or personal care items (bath, makeup, etc.), or journals/books; things to make the bride feel pampered and special during this time of her life.

For baby showers, virtually anything the parents may need for the baby would be a good gift. Even if the baby is not the first, there are still special things to give for this new little one.

Nicole Pivec said...

...showers for family members *are* quite common...

Ladylike said...

Hello, Jennifer. I looked into the book that a couple of ladies mentioned a couple of weeks back: "Dress Your Truth". This is a good book about personalities, and it seems I am a type 2, and I believe you may be a Type 2 as well. This personality type is very sensitive to the feelings of others. We tend to assume that others are equally sensitive; however, they are not. Then we may feel hurt when others do not behave as we would. My point is that we also need to give others the benefit of the doubt. They may be simply lost in their own thoughts. I think it's fine and good to ask for help. Especially since you are pregnant, please don't lift heavy things! Most men can't refuse a pretty woman who says, "Sir, could you please help me?" Grocery problem solved!
Warmly,
Alexandra D.

Natalie Schultz said...

Dear Jennifer,
I've been teaching 7th and 8th graders for nearly 10 years and am struggling lately with the lack of common courtesy in the classroom. I know that I model poise and politeness in my classroom and that I encourage it in my students, but I'm having more and more issues with blatant disrespect towards me and my curriculum. I would have never walked into a classroom and loudly declared that reading a book "sucked." I never would have questioned my teachers about why they chose to give an assignment. I never would have swore or physically showed aggression towards my teachers. I'm struggling with this issue personally, because I know that I cannot change the way students are raised in their own homes. All I can do is model appropriate behavior in my classroom, and I already do that. I guess what I'm asking is, how can I change my attitude about disrespectful students and behavior in my classroom? I'm getting to the point where I'm so exhausted trying to correct disrespectful behavior, I feel like teaching skills and content is getting lost in the mix. It isn't fair to those students who have already been taught that polite behavior at home and who already practice common courtesy.
Thank you for your advice!
Sincerely,
Natalie

LRS4AMANDA said...

Hi Jennifer,

This is such a great topic and one that I can totally relate to, the rudeness and lack of common courtesy in our society bugs me to no end!

We had our house painted last Summer and although the crew brought their own water the first day I told them that I would supply it on the other days. I chilled it and stuck it in a cooler for them outside. I also made cookies for them one day which they devoured. That's really sad that the guy that came to your house had such a lousy experience with other customers.

I can relate to the door holding issue, but what really bugs me is on occasion I will hold the door open at a busy department store (Nordstrom comes to mind) and a stream of people will go right on through without anyone taking a turn to grab it from me. Ummm...I'm not the official store door holder!

The worst story I can think of is many, many years ago (1996) my husband and I took my daughter to San Francisco for her 8th birthday. We were heading out one morning from our hotel to walk down to Union Square. The sidewalk was busy as it was a week day with people on their way to work. All of a sudden I hear a muttering from some guy behind us in a suit "Get out of my (expletive) way". I turned to him and said "excuse me, what did you just say??", and he then said very loudly "I SAID GET OUT OF MY (EXPLETIVE) WAY!! and then hurried past us. I was so stunned I couldn't believe it. Here I have my daughter in tow...how rude and classless can you be?

Thanks for touching on this subject...

Linda in San Diego

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Stephanie Clayton said...

Hello, Jennifer. This is an important topic! So, thank you for opening the discussion and being an advocate for common courtesy.
I have a story. Many years ago, I was working as a yacht chef. On one particular charter, I twisted my ankle, which hindered my ability to do much walking. During that week, we took our guests to the island of St. Barths for the day. The captain rented a car to run several quick errands. I needed a few galley provisions, so the captain dropped me at the market before returning the rental car. I bought two bags of groceries, intending to take a taxi back to the yacht. I hobbled my way to the nearest taxi stand and greeted a small group of drivers. "Good afternoon. May I get a taxi, please?" All the drivers walked away except for one leaning against his taxi. He asked, "To where?" "Just around the harbour from here. My boat is right there," I gestured towards the dock. He then stated, "I will not take you there." I said, "Excuse me? Please, sir, I've injured my ankle and cannot walk well. I need to return to my boat now, because we're leaving. I'll pay extra." He stood silently, eyes fixed straight ahead, ignoring me as if to indicate our short exchange was finished! Dumbfounded, I limbed to the yacht with my bags of groceries, arriving in pain, to a worried crew, wondering what could be taking me so long. I later realized that I'd caught the taxi driver during midday when many St. Barths businesses close for several hours. It would have been helpful if he'd told me that, and even better if he'd agreed to drive me the short distance anyway, for extra pay.

Stephanie Clayton said...

*limped, not "limbed"!

Ladylike said...

Hello again Jennifer,
Regarding interactions with grocery store clerks, I highly recommend becoming friendly with one of the cashiers atCostco and always choosing that persons line. Before long the person will remember you don't want any boxes (you an decline them) and you won't have to say it anymore. After all, you are not a weight lifter, and it's not your responsibility to recycle Costco's boxes for them. Yes, not only is it a good idea to be courteous to your cashier, there can actually be benefits to establishing a rapport.
Warm Best,
Alexandra

Mallory said...

I have a lot of public transit horror stories, but I'd prefer to focus on the positive: I try to extend common courtesy whenever I can and I also have a husband who will always stop and help someone (there's no way he would have walked by you in the Costco parking lot!) and we're both teaching our son to do the same.

I also think an important element of common courtesy is just paying attention to the world around you. Obliviousness to the people around you in not an excuse to be rude and I find self-absorption is a huge issue these days.

Dawn said...

My family & I remark on the car thing almost every day. We will let people pull out in front of us on the street & they won't wave or show any form of appreciation. It drives me crazy!! I hate it when I walk into an establishment & get ignored & not greeted. How can anyone feel that is acceptable? I am in a wheelchair when I have to go somewhere that I would need to walk a long distance & when the door doesn't have the button to automatically open, It is a struggle for the person pushing me to get me through the door. You would not believe how many people just walk in without even acknowledging us. Sometimes they even go to another door to avoid us! A lot of times I will say "thanks for the help" loud enough that they can hear me!! Doesn't do any good though :) An exception: I gave a friend from church some mason jars I had & wasn't using because I knew she canned, I also gave another person a set of dishes. I received the sweetest thank you card from one of them & not even a thank you from the other one. It made me smile that the one person took the time to sit & write me a little note.

Matt said...

I have only just found your website, so sorry if this is a late post but I notice so much how there is a general lack of common courtesy everywhere. When I was at my brother's wedding reception at a grand-looking public venue eighteen months ago, I was taken aback by the way myself and the guests sitting with me were addressed. A young waiter said "is everything alright, guys?". I almost said to him that he
should have said "ladies and gentlemen" instead of "guys". I find the term
"guys" a very lazy and slangy form of address and surely, in a formal setting at
a banqueting suite, calling the guests "ladies and gentlemen" would have been
far more appropriate.

I am not fond of the word "guy/guys", it sounds ugly to my ears and it wasn't
really used here in Britain until recent decades. If you think about how the word
originated from Guy Fawkes, and the fact that both the words "ladies" and
"gentlemen" have connotations of class, courtesy, respect and good manners, then
calling a group of people at a reception "ladies and gentlemen" is much more
courteous than addressing people with a slang term originating from the man who
tried to blow up English parliament.

I don't see what is wrong with saying "ladies and gentlemen" and in general I often wonder why people lack courtesy so much nowadays.

 
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