Not So Common Courtesy

I thought twice about writing this post (maybe even three or four times) because I didn’t want to seem all self-righteous and “I’m so awesome” because I’m not….but rudeness seems to be following me like my back pocket these days, and I simply couldn’t fight the urge any longer.  I just don’t get it.  I am F…A…R. from perfect and have enough flaws and faults that we could make it a full fledged category here on GMG (don’t get any ideas, Joey).  Just ask my husband.  Likewise, my boys have plenty of skills that could be worked on.  Lately, though, I have been more than the average dose of disheartened by the interactions that I’ve had “out there.”  The thing that started to push me over the edge is something that has chronically happened to me for years….making me wonder if, indeed, I am actually at fault.

Scenario #1:  Aisle of any given store.  Me: Heading one way.  Another shopper: Headed towards me.  Me: “Sorry. Excuse me” while we jockey for space to get by each other.  Other shopper: Nothing.  Nothing!  Crickets!  As if I was actually at fault!  Why am I always the one saying, “excuse me“??  Aren’t we both equally responsible for sharing the aisle?    Maybe I open myself up for being at fault by saying “sorry“….because that is probably a bit much?  Maybe I should just stick with “excuse me.”   Well, I’ve done that too.  Still….crickets!  How is it that I never hear, “no worries“or “excuse me too“?  Sometimes, the lack of response even comes with a quick glance that almost implies, “You’re darn right you should excuse yourself!  This aisle is all mine!”   Which I get, I don’t shop a lot.  I’m not a “regular” anywhere when it comes to shopping.  Well…my Amazon account and J Crew card would disagree, but they don’t have aisles.  Oh, and when I’m talking about said aisles, I’m not talking like Vineyard Vines… where I would expect to be looked upon with a bit of pity or quickly dismissed because my grosgrain ribbon belt doesn’t match the whale on my cardigan and headband.  (Before you write in…I’m kidding….I don’t really think it is ok to treat customers or fellow shoppers like that even in establishments like VV…and, for the record, my belt, cardigan, and headband always match…kidding, again).  I, to get back to my original point, am talking about places like Market Basket, Staples, Michael’s Craft Store, and Sports Authority.  Do these people really think they have more right to these aisles than I do?

Scenario #2:  Door Holding.  And lack there of.  I ALWAYS hold doors.  Sometimes too much so.  By that I mean that sometimes the necessity to hold doors is actually questionable.  Like, sometimes the next person is a good clip away and I think, for a second, “Do I really need to stand here and hold this door for them or should I let it go?”  Often though, in that space of a thought, I’ve inadvertently made eye-contact with the next person, and then feel obligated to stand there for a slightly awkward period of time.  Efff.  Insert Chariots of Fire slow motion music….and awkward wait period.  However!  What is up with all of the times that I hold doors for people and they DON’T say, “Thank you?”  Seriously!!  What in the world is wrong with people!  Does this happen to anyone else or just me!?  Blasted common courtesy, people!  I know that I didn’t hand you $1.000, but come on!  Likewise, I don’t do it for the “thank you” but when the other person acts like it is my purpose in life to stand and hold a door for them, I get pissed.  I won’t even bother getting into the lack of door holding and my secret ill-wishing towards those who let doors slam in the faces of my young children.

Scenario #3:  Driving Etiquette.  Turning into parking lots.  This indeed may be pushing it, because if you were to read the actual laws-of-the-road, these people are in the “right”, but I don’t think so.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been waiting, with my directional on, to turn into a parking lot across a lane of on-coming traffic only to finally see an oncoming car put their directional on to turn into the same parking lot and have thought “oh, good, they’ll let me go“(because now I’m starting to feel bad for the back-up of cars behind me) …..only to have them sneak in in front of me.  I know they probably really have the right of way….but, doesn’t common courtesy dictate, “hey, that person has been trying to turn in there for quite a bit now, and even though they’re in the opposite lane, they were here first, so maybe I’ll let them go???”   I accidentally did that to someone at Dunkin Donuts once and then bought their coffee in the drive-thru because I felt so bad.   And, for the record, if someone actually did let me go…I’d wave an appreciative “thank you.”  Just sayin’.

So, why rant now?  What brings this all to a head, you may ask?  A trip to the zoo, I would answer.  I love kids.  I love my kids, I love my students, I love my friends’ kids.  What I don’t love is kids that run freakin’ wild in public while their parents ignore them like crazy….so much so that they ruin other people’s fun.  Yesterday, there was a group of kids barreling between exhibits while shouting and hollering at the zoo.  I realize that I expect too much from my own children when it comes to manners in public…I absolutely border on the “strict” side….and I might even go so far as to say that sometimes I hamper their fun because I expect them to let other children have a turn too quickly or I make them wait longer because someone else’s child has cut them in line and I’d rather they take the high road.  I’m working on getting better at that.  That having been said, I have a super low tolerance for other parents who let their children act rudely in public.   This same group of children kept jumping in front of other children and one of them ran right into a lovely grandmother who was trying to show her grandchildren the jaguar.  No one told him to apologize…and it was kind of a rough hit.  Another snatched a view finder right out of a little girl’s hands.  No one told him to wait his turn.  Later, I watched a boy finish a snack and drop the wrapper on the ground.  WHAT!!??  Then, on the playground, this entitled little 5 year-old or so, snapped at Finn….who was soooo in line before her for a turn on the little zip line thing, and actually put her hand up in his face and said “I’m next“.  She then complained that “that kid (meaning my other son) left the bar 1/2 way across and I can’t reach it now” to me and added, “Can you get it?”.  To which I said, “Come on Finn.  We’ll come back when she’s done trying to have her turn” and walked away.  Where were little bossy pant’s parents….no idea?  Ironically, just 10 minutes later, when my boys wanted to ride the little train, we found bossy pants sitting mid-train crying like crazy because “she wanted to sit up front in the engine and it isn’t ffffaaaaiiiirrrr.”  Still not sure which parents in the crowd were hers.  But, I am sure that no one was telling her to “enjoy the seat she had or feel free to get off, but either way stop screaming” like I would have done.  My boys chose to wait until the next ride.  A much quieter one.  And sat in the engine.

And then lunch.  I’ll make it quick.  Picture if you will, two clearly marked cans.  A blue one that says, “Bottles and Cans Only” in large letters across the top…with a recycling symbol on it and a brown one with no words.  Wouldn’t you know that just as my 4-year old was done recycling his water bottle a lady came and dumped all of her trash…ketchup covered french fries, napkins, remnants of hamburgers, chicken fingers, drink cups, you name it….right into the recycling can.  Dumbass.  Ummmm….and allow me add…it was Earth Day.

I’d like to finish by saying that I am well aware there is an ocean of lovely, well-mannered people out there…including all of you, but for some reason, the way my stars have aligned, I seem to be missing them.

14 comments

  • Yikes, Nichole. Sorry your vacation activity was so challenging with your kids, when as a teacher you must have needed a refreshing break – and some fun! A smile and firm reminder that we were here first has been helpful in claiming a space in lines and at events — ‘Gee, now we can’t see.’ People around me thank me for speaking up, as they were affected too.
    Guess I’m lucky as people often share the space or let me in lines in stores and when turning the car — or if they are on a tear I avoid them. Phones and texting in cars are what drives me nuts! It’s tough not knowing what motivates people or what their stresses might be. I’m so glad to live near the vast ocean! Hope you have some surprises of Joy soon!

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  • Nicole…I’ve run into situations before on your rant about holding the door open for someone. If they don’t say “thank you”, I say it loud enough for them to hear it. Most of the people will give a “delayed” thank you.

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  • Nope, you aren’t alone. Good rant, I bet that felt good :- )

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  • Oh Nichole, I feel your pain. I think we all feel your pain. Rather than get red in the face and wanting to slap them silly, I have decided to take a different tack.

    When in the grocery store with these idiots, just smile, nod, maybe even say, “I hope you have a nice day today”, then go as fast as you can to the personal care aisle. Grab the most embarrassing things you can find. Go for the yeast infection cures, the bright-colored condom boxes, a few boxes of douche, whatever, and then go hunt the numbnuts down. When you find them, put some of those douche boxes and condoms in their cart when they aren’t looking (which should be pretty easy to do) and then move on. Save some of that stuff in case you are in the checkout line and the person behind you insists on bumping your butt or your heels with their cart while you are unloading/waiting to pay ’cause then you can casually grab one of those items, kneel down like your fixing your shoe, and put it on the bottom rack of their cart. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

    I am a middle-aged (dammit) woman, and while exiting a store, I held the door for some 30-something-skinny-jean-sweater-around-the-neck dude. He blew right by me, through the door and into the store. I did an about-face, went up to him and asked him nicely if he was raised by wolves ’cause that would be the only excuse for not thanking someone for holding the door for them. Not that wolves would be so rude, but if you’re raised by wolves, wolves don’t deal with doors, so wolves and any creature that they raise are excused from such behavior. That’s part of Darwin’s Law or something. Oh, the 30-something dude apologized. I thanked him.

    My biggest pet peeve is grocery carts. If I see someone loading up their car and then just leaving their cart in the parking lot instead of walking it to the carriage corral thing, I approach them and say, “Since you must be way too tired to walk that cart three cars over to the corral, let me do it for you.” There’s no handicap plate, they’re not limping, they just walked through an entire grocery store and they’re usually on the phone while trying to wedge a gallon of Allen’s Coffee-Flavored Brandy (I live in Maine) under the front seat. if I don’t take that cart, it WILL find my car. That’s not the part that bugs me (the most). It’s when I get to the corral and the large carts are one side, the smaller carts on the other, but some lazy ass slob put their small cart diagonally against the large cart, and another person who must be their twin did the same thing in reverse, so now the carts are all mixed up and you can’t fit YOUR cart in there and have to rearrange all the freaking carts so you do not become one of Them.

    They walk among us. They always will. Might as well have fun with it.

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    • So THAT’S how those things got into my shopping cart??!?! Kidding :)
      Nice advice, D!!! I’m almost looking forward to my next rude encounter now. Ummm…and, in Maine you have two size shopping carts??? Who would have thought??

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  • Craig Kimberley

    Nichole, except for the having kids part, I could have written this myself. Well done! I could not count high enough to tell you the amount of doors I’ve held for stingers, men and women alike…thousands. Most of the time I get nothing in return. My feedback for them is a loud “Aaaand your very welcome!” It never has gotten a response or late thank you. I’m the same with the carts at the stores. Now I’m no fitness buff, but argument to myself every time is that 9 out of 9.5 times, most people kinda could use that extra 30 ft of exercise…just saying.
    And then there is the entitled kids, dear G O D! To put it simply, parents fail, a lot. I know it’s overwhelming and all, but it’s still bullshit. I also know it’s world wide, but little American snots are a special breed of brat. I don’t advocate parents hitting there kids, ever, but I feel sometimes I should have the right! (LOL…just kidding…but not really)
    Now one of my favorite hates of the past 5 years in friggin pajamas and/or house slippers in public! WHUTDAFUCK! I still can’t wrap my head around this train of thought!!! Do they jump into bed with their jeans and sneakers because it’s the easy fast thing to do? Do they not want to get there jeans all dirty by going to the store? Is it too much effort to slip off those HOUSE SLIPPERS to snap on a pair of shoes before you go fuel up the float, and hit the booze store? “Hey, I’m so goddamn comfy in these SMURF PJ’S and fuzzy HELLO KITTY slippers to make the all-too-time-consuming effort of putting on clothes designed for everything but my bedroom, and go pick up some bagels!” Yep, that must be what those waste of oxygen jerks are thinking.
    And I’ll save my passion for Masshole drivers for another article/video I have coming up this spring!
    Loved meeting the boys, they are sweet, smart, and lucky to have an awesome mom!
    KEEP THE GOOD STUFF COMING!!!

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    • Funny you should chime in, Craig, because as I was writing this, I was trying to think back on Thatcher and Finn’s behavior at Stone’s during my little post Disney Bear Movie pitstop with my friend and her boys. Ryan swears they were well-behaved….albeit using their iPads in public…which I normally never allow…but figured since it was empty in there and we had been outside learning, getting fresh air, and tolerating not-so-well-behaved little punks all week so far, I’d let them. Kids being glued to technology when they should be talking with their families could be another rant….but I failed at that yesterday so I’ll wait. Like I said…I am FAR from perfect!!!! I too loathe pajamas in public!!! Looking forward to your Masshole and rotary videos!!! So nice meeting you yesterday! Let’s do it again….when I don’t have kids in tow!

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  • ;) just saying ~ any Publix grocery store parking lot in the state of Florida is the best reason to sign up for grocery home delivery. Rude knows no age ~

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  • Never mind the Winn Dixies (is that how you spell that???). Oooohhhh….home grocery delivery! I have friends who do that! Some day!

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  • So refreshing to know you’re not alone! Thanks for posting! Sometimes I feel like I’m on the “underground” team from Terminator (remember the first one?) and all the rude behavior comes from the team of terminator’s that’s trying to take control. Can you imagine when this generation starts competing for jobs and they have to battle each other? I wouldn’t want to be the hiring boss having to filter out all the bull..

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  • Amen Brothers and Sisters! Thank you all for giving voice to behavior that has been pissing me of for so very long now. It’s nice to know that other people feel the same way and that I am not just one “cranky old man”

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  • Totally agree. I think #3 may be pushing it a little as the car turning in front of you may be doing so to prevent stopping traffic in back of them. Otherwise I have the same rants. I purposely don’t go to Market Basket because of the abundance of ignorant people I encounter there.

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    • I agree on #3 as well. I’ve tried to let the other person go before me, but feel it was too dangerous for those behind me. Following the rules of the road is much safer. I also don’t expect someone to let me in before them. Too easy for miscommunication…

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