Manners Maketh Man

On Saturday I went to the Post Office to post a parcel. I queued with everyone else while only one window was open for service. All very British (and polite) we waited with hardly a murmur. Twenty minutes passed and a second window was opened. The lady in front of me went to be told her passport application was filled in incorrectly and would be rejected

  • an aside here, how is this possible? How can you fill in a passport application wrongly? I've filled in many, from the age of about 19, I'm not a genius. I've filled in forms for adult and child passports. They come with clear instructions, and a whole sheet about photos and signatures. How hard is it to understand 'do not write outside the box' or 'use a clear X in black pen only' sheesh people you don't deserve a passport.
anyway *removes judges wig* she was given a long explanation of the million and one things she had failed at and still we all waited. Finally a window was free, it was my turn! There was no trendy announcement system in this little post office so i headed to the window to be told, tersely "I haven't actually called anyone yet, you will have to wait" 
Now I don't know why I didn't ask if he was always that rude or if today was a special day, but what's wrong with "I'll be with you in a minute" and a smile.
I was told off! Told off for being a customer, who had waited (politely remember) for nearly half an hour to post a parcel!

I waited, finally he asked what I wanted.

"I would like to send this parcel, first class please"
 "Do you want it guaranteed to arrive Monday?"
 "Oh I don't know, how much is that? "
".....and how much is first class?"
" ...£3"
"erm, no then first class is fine, thank you" he grumbled something, took parcel and money and I left.

Later I offered some things on Freecycle, One item was brand new, still in box, worth about £15. I thought I'd have a few replies and I was right, but I was unprepared for the tone.

Actual Replies
  • can you deliver to (with address)
  • have you still got
  • can pick up now (about 3 of these)
  • yes please (more than 5 like this)
  • when can i collect
Now the thing is this was the ENTIRE message, no corrections, notice there is no 'hello' no sign off with name etc amazing! And RUDE!

When did this being rude become a thing? I know I sound like Victor Meldrew but politeness is the oil that helps society keep going without grinding to an aggressive halt. It seems to be the norm today for parents to not 'force' a child to say 'sorry' or 'please' or 'thank you' under the grounds that there is no point if it doesn't mean anything. But I think it does have a purpose, it keeps people calm, politeness helps in a society that is overcrowded, like dogs lowering their tails in a pack, we need to be polite. It is important.

I finished my day angry (and ranty hence this blog) no doubt with blood pressure raised. Of course you could argue that's my problem, but shouldn't we all be looking out for each other? Shouldn't society want to remain peaceful? If saying 'sorry' or 'thank you' can diffuse a situation why not say it? It doesn't cost anything. But not saying it might be costing society as a whole.

What do you think? Is politeness important? Do you teach it to your children?