The Death of Common Courtesy

Most of you know that I try to limit this blog to food and wine and music, and not to more serious thought.  Hell, I have a whole other “political” blog for that.  But most of you also know I have a rather serious side, which I think is important to share and not hide from.  After all being a human being means being human and that comes with a lot of different ideas and issues we should not shy away from.  This is my way to reach out.  The way I do that is with my writing.

Watching the news every day is depressing.  Stories of triumph are rare and stories of tragedy are common.  It can be overwhelming.  I am loath to admit it, for fear of breaking apart your image of me as a strong, macho man… but sometimes the news moves me to tears… I feel it that deeply.  And I know I am not the only one.  So this is my desire to communicate and connect with other human beings.  This is my desire to be human.

We all long to escape from what we see on the news and sometimes even in our own lives.  Our goal is never ignorance and denial, but in life is usually bliss and happiness and contentment.  The last thing we want to add into that mix is something that might make us feel uncomfortable or more so.

But there is a change going on in the world.  There is a change going on in this country and it scares me… and I think should scare you.

I don’t recall who it was, but there was talk about incidents that were happening in this country that were eerily similar to things that happened right before the fall of the Roman Empire.  The parallel was that society as we know it would soon collapse.  Alarmist?  Perhaps… But I think it needs to be taken seriously.

I am not a historian or sociologist, so this is my opinion and it’s value is up to you… But I am a human being who has lived on this planet for a while… and what I think is a big part of our decline is the death of common courtesy.

Things as simple as excuse me, please, thank you, you’re welcome and I’m sorry go such a long way.  This is how we used to be.  It was expected.  It was commonplace.  And now it is almost entirely gone.

Rudeness is now taken for granted, and good behavior comes as a surprise, a shock even.  Just the other day, I witnessed a nine-year-old boy addressing a friend of mine as “Mrs.”  He asked how she was, and spoke so eloquently and politely it shocked me.  I was literally shocked by good behavior.  But it impressed me and moved me and I made sure to tell him that.  It also made me so angry that this is not normal… For a society as great as ours, this must be the norm once again… and quickly.

When you call customer service now to resolve an issue, how often is it outsourced?  How often are you met with either a robotic person on the other end reading from a script or  someone who either does not care or does not have the authority to help?

I remember calling a company like American Express and being treated like a king, even with a simple green card.  No more.

One of the greatest lessons I learned came from a friend of mine named Kelly, who said “never take no from someone who cannot say yes.”  Fantastic advice.  Except now everyone, especially customer service, seems to be trained  and rewarded to say no… Well, except for shady mortgage lenders.

We have become a society of no and denial and it’s not my fault.  We move on the internet at lightning speed.  Decisions are made in haste and too often people think it is cheaper to move fast and do something wrong and be sued later, than to take the time, treat people well and do it right.  We have become greedy and obsessed with fame and fortune… and making a buck at any cost is rewarded with hefty bonuses and perks and vacations.

It used to be about quality and pride and doing it right.  That seems to be long, long gone.

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, The News Blues

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