Last week I held the door open on my way into Marks and Spencers while nine different sets of people came out. I had a pushchair and a four year old with me. Not one person said thank you, in fact, not one of them even acknowledged my presence, I was just the incredible human door stop.
Two weeks previously, in the same shop, I was waiting next to the lift with Larry in his pushchair and my mum, when the doors opened I stepped back so that a pushchair and a wheelchair could exit. As I was doing this an old couple raced in behind them (and I mean raced, not struggled with walking sticks etc), and pushed in front of me, shutting the lift doors before we could manoeuvre our way in.
It’s not just Marks and Spencer that have this issue, they were just unfortunate enough to have a run of idiots while I was in there, everywhere you look seems to have a hint of rudeness these days. Brits have always been considered aloof, and too polite to cause a fuss or complain. However, every day we are seeing more and more indicators that perhaps this is no longer the case. Whether it’s a hand gesture and mouthed expletive because you parked in the parking space you’d been waiting for that somebody had tried to jump into, or the true to life pushing and shoving of a Ryanair scrum. Alternatively, from a metaphorical sense, the new aggressive sales technique in areas you don’t expect up sell…gas and electricity in the milk aisle of your local supermarket anybody? Huge chocolate bar while you buy some biros from your local stationers? Perhaps a wind up jumping chick HALF PRICE while you’re paying for a cardigan at a well known clothing store. People knocking on your door “not trying to sell you anything” and trying to guilt you into it…Red Cross and a first aid course? “What do you mean no? What if something happened to that lovely little chappy behind you, you’d never forgive yourself!”. Plus, don’t get me started on the NSPCC – calling up on a Sunday afternoon and for twenty minutes telling me I’m selfish for not donating more then I already do. The UK seems to have got pushy, aggressive and down right rude.
Has this always been the case, or has the economy caused our animal instincts to take over us, downing our manners and barging forward to get what we want no matter what the cost.
Shoddy service seems to be following suit, if you have a discount rate for a hotel you’re stuck in a back room with peeling walls and broken curtain rails, if you see an amazing offer for a restaurant the small print makes it not so amazing, and the brand available in your “3 bottles of wine for £10” seem to be confusingly placed away from the promotion, whilst more expensive wine is strategically in it’s place, are shops trying to trick us into spending more or are their staff just incompetent lacking the enthusiasm to give a toss?
I cannot ABIDE rudeness. I know I’m not perfect, and I know sometimes I might have my off days and be a bit forgetful, but I always try and find a way to say please and thank you. To me it’s common curtosey as is a polite response when somebody says “Hi! How are you?” My instant response is to say “great thanks, you?” even if I’ve been throwing up and want to crawl into a corner and cry. But then, what response would you rather have? A sullen grunt before the person in question stomps off into their car and slams the door, or the full in depth story about how actually they are ill, and they drove 3 hours with a bucket between their legs throwing up a long the way…I’ve experienced both and I’m not a fan. Since when did shyness become grounds as an excuse for turning your back on a person introducing themselves to you? Is this acceptable? I appreciate that a lot of us would have been brought up with the rule “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say it at all” rule, however, there has to be a happy medium to split you between general politeness and being considered two faced.
I’m not saying I want life to be a musical, singing and dancing and everybody being friends, I would dislike that a lot,
especially as I don’t really like people very much, however, I feel that the general rules of politeness should always apply, whether you’re in a shop complaining about a faulty product (you don’t have to shout or swear you know), or perhaps somebody is struggling with a pushchair – helping them down/up some stairs wouldn’t impact your day too much would it? Tutting and looking bored when you’re at work and somebody asks you to do something “excuse me, do you have this in a size 3 at all?” YOU’RE A SHOE SHOP FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
I could go on. Is it just me? Is it because at the ripe old age of 30 I’ve just become old and grumpy, or as a country are we becoming more and more agressive. After all, in Italy the police would return a child’s teddy left on an aeroplane dontcha know? I know this because Peppa Pig documented it in Season 4.