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When did people become so rude? Have pleasant shopping experiences gone the way of the dodo? Seems everywhere I go people are rude – no matter what type of store I am shopping in. For the record, I hate shopping but if I go to a high-end department store, I would like to not get stared at by other shoppers who are probably assuming the worst of me – not to mention loss prevention following my every move. But I also hate shopping elsewhere. And it is these experiences that are making me more and more outspoken. I’ve never had a problem in that department but I do (for the most part) know when to keep quiet.

I went to three different stores this afternoon: A bookstore, a supermarket and a clothing store. Perhaps it is that a certain type of personality frequents bookstores, but I’ve never had issues there. The supermarket, however, is an entirely different matter. People stand in the middle of aisles pretending to care what’s on the labels. Fat people (but even the skinny ones take up space). When I ask if I can please get by they stare as if I’d just stolen the boxes of twinkies they think no one sees tucked under their other produce. Normally they move after they come to their senses but, on occasion, they will just ignore me. And that’s when I either manually move their shopping cart aside or I just bump it with mine. My reaction depends on how annoyed I am by then. And then there are the odd types who are offended by me offering assistance when they can’t reach something. I tell ya, a guy just can’t win for trying nowadays.

On my way out of the market today I had to ask the people blocking my exit to please let me by. They ignored me so I just pushed my cart through and thanked them for not moving, jerks. I have no idea if anyone replied because I just kept walking. But I don’t entirely fault them for their lack of courtesy. I blame management who thought it a good idea to place a movie rental kiosk near the exit.

After loading my bags into the car, I walked to the clothing store next door. Normally it’s a pleasant shopping experience, improved on by good finds. I was there to buy a gift for my nephew’s 4th birthday. Bought four outfits and made my way to cashier. As soon as I got in line two families followed, trying to crowd their way in front of me. It’s not as though the wait was going to be very long being that I was next, but somehow they still thought I looked like a pushover. Once at the register, the second of the families followed quickly behind me, and the mother started piling her things on the counter before I was finished paying. I was trying to be nice but she just kept piling her items till I actually had no choice but to tell her something or move aside before I’d even paid for my items. My only dilemma was her ethnicity: African American. Had I said something rude to her she would have accused me of being racist. I just asked the cashier to please hurry so I coutd get out before I said something to make the black security guard kick me out and he replied in Spanish by telling me black families always do that. Not a second later the woman’s pre-teen daughter almost shoved me aside to stand at the counter.

Why do black people do things like that? It’s not all of them, obviously, but it’s the few who make the whole look bad. Same goes for Latinos and other ethnicities. Asians can be pretty rude as well but most blame it on cultural misunderstandings. That’s bs. And then there are Caucasions who think they’re above us all.

Just a few days prior my sister and I stopped at a small Philly cheesesteak place and soon after I noticed a car blocking several other cars – including my sister’s. We parked parallel to other cars, in clearly marked spaces, but the driver of the black car just pulled up behind three cars and left it there. One guy tried leaving but just honked and honked to no avail. After ten minutes he finally got out to look for the owner and found her in shop. She’d heard the honking because I saw her walk out to look when it started but she just as quickly walked back in to the store.

“They hate when anyone points out their behavior to them, don’t they?” I asked the man next to me. “They’re up in arms as soon as they think they’re being spoken down to, even when they’re in the wrong.”

“Yup, can’t tell them niggers nothing,” he replied.

I wouldn’t have gone that far but his viewpoint is the direct result of stereotypes brought about by the few. My point being, people – regardless of ethnicity – are rude. Shoppers are rude. Pedestrians are rude. Drivers are rude. Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve on the subject…

I walk everywhere and it’s become a dangerous sport. Drivers honk their horns at me when I am crossing streets. At lighted crosswalks, no less. But they are impatient and assume they have the right of way. Some don’t even bother waiting for me to reach the other side before almost running me over. Who gives these people driver’s licenses?

Just two weeks ago, I was at a crosswalk waiting for the green light. Once it changed I stepped off the curb and before I was even halfway across I was almost run over by an impatient driver making a left turn.

“Thanks for giving me right of way, asshole!” I yelled out.

“You’re welcome,” he loudly retorted. I imagine he bragged about it all afternoon.

I’ve already been hit once, four years ago. That impatient driver sent me flying about five feet, knocking me out briefly but I thankfully walked away from the scene. I don’t think I’ll be so lucky next time.

Having posted all of the above, I am aware I am not that much nicer than the people I’m complaining about but when I’m behind the wheel I let people cross streets, no matter how many people honk behind me. I don’t try beating red lights because I know how dangerous that is. And I signal before switching lanes or making a turn. Less and less people do that these days, use turn signals. I admit I drive faster than the posted speed limits but I am always aware of my surroundings.

Ultimately, it’s a losing battle. People will continue to devolve, becoming what they hate so much in others. Maybe they’ll grow tails. Perhaps horns. I might be one of them someday but not today.

(10 June 2012)



------
I will never write like you and I hope you never write like me.

"...the only war that matters is the war against the imagination--all other wars are subsumed in it..." -Diane di Prima





Comments

The following comments are for "How rude"
by toscano

solution
Move to Newfoundland. Most Canadians are polite to a fault but road rage and other rude habits are gradually creeping in. One point that I never fail to notice is designating WASPs [like me] and WASCs as caucasians and other 'ethnics' like 'Latinos' as something different when they could quite possibly be of the same race. I identify race as different from ethnic and put forward the opinion we are all ethnic in some regard.
I have noticed different cultural habits of the Chinese due to where I spent 30 years of my life but never considered them rude. They walk to a different drum for sure but not so they can be inconsiderate. Their conversations in Chinese convince me they're continually feuding until I'm told it's just an animated conversation. I've worked in places where people yammered to each other in a language other than my own which irritated me until I realized it wasn't so they could gossip about me.
The rudest shopkeepers I've met have been of my own ilk and I didn't hesitate to disconnect the phone when they were having personal conversations with friends while I was waiting to pay for something. I have been frank with salespeople who don't give a damn if I'm shuffling my feet looking for help and most of the time it's been car salesmen who were sure I was waiting for my husband and then there's the garage owners who figure they can put one over on me because I look different from what I know. I don't hesitate to tell them they've lost my business because people who believe I'm an idiot don't get my money. People in stores who block isles? I'll confess I've done that myself but apologize profusely when I realize I'm holding someone at bay. I notice people milling around doors at airports because they don't know where to go and don't want to take extra steps in the wrong direction. This is poor planning for sure. Why do you have to go looking for signs when you enter an airport? Why aren't they posted right by entrances? In London recently a cashier was having a personal conversation with someone in the lineup while others waited. A woman said something to me about it and when I got to the till I complained. The cashier gave the pat answer with no conviction. "I'm sorry."
"No you're not!" I snapped back. The woman behind me, thinking I was a US tourist said the British lacked courage to do those sort of things and I told her I'd learned my communication skills from women of British heritage which is the truth. Granted I'm a bit more frank than my mom was but she didn't mince words when riled.
I've never met a rude black person either in London or the USA but I'm certain they exist. I'll keep you posted. Perhaps it's those obnoxious TV shows which display black rudeness as a comedy badge. UGH!
Hey! Thanks for this cause it's honest which is refreshing. Culture does play a big part in how we behave. I'm traveling in a province knee deep in culture and I can't get enough of it!
BTW I loved the NY city culture because - to me -they were brash not rude and I gave it back as good as I got. They appreciated the repartee too!

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: June 12, 2012 )

Chill Pills Required




Move to the top of Everest.... whoops sorry that place is now crowded with people trying to prove something.

I will admit that apart from Northern Ireland the Vancouver side of Canada has some of the most tolerant friendly people I have had the pleasure to meet (as in the General Joe Public) but things are changing.

Note... Northern Ireland of course is a different matter if you are taking an active part in the troubles.

I have noticed that some people are becoming selfish and uncaring, it would appear that they go out of their way to be obnoxious.

Of course what comes round goes round.... it wont only be you they upset.

The worst tourist places to shop for me have been Morocco and Tunisia where shop keepers try every tactical move in the book to sell you stuff you don't need... including physical restraint.

How salespeople can afford to be rude or time wasting... there is the old adage Pay peanuts get monkeys... my own take.. another well known phrase or saying "I wouldn't get out of bed for the money they are paid"

Imagine having to do a job... day in day out that you didn't like for an income that is barely sufficient with management that haven't got a clue..... Wow I am now thinking how lucky my life has been ..... I was allowed to point guns at people and tell them what to do haha

I suppose you could sit at home do online shopping from the secrecy of you PC swear and curse at connection speeds and how long delivery will take. Of course those clothes will look great on the models.

As for the fat ladies blocking the aisles... not sure I can help with that one... you could try a polite cough... If that doesn't work (this is a secret tell no-one)A trick that works fine on airplanes when some miserable sod reclines their chair into your face.... Go into a false coughing of sneezing fit... it helps if you have some water to flick over the chair in front during the enactment....

It is starting to sound like you are becoming a perpetrator in these events using your trolley as a battering ram .... I have (in the past) been guilty of loosing patience.

Germany (Early 70s) Germans don't queue's they just push shove... survival of the fittest etc. Back then the Germans were immaculately dressed. I was shopping in one of the New Fangled Superstores in Hanover or Paderborn in W.Germany with my then "Young Wife" waiting in turn to step on to an escalator. A tall young man wearing Oxford Bags (Wide trousers) pushed my wife aside in order to "get on first" I was behind my wife and quickly swapped places putting one foot firmly in the turn-up of his trousers. When the escalator neared the top I pressed down firmly while holding the moving handrail therefore was forced to knock the chap down. As he picked himself up of the floor and looked at his torn trousers leg. I told him that he had caused the problem he needed to take more care on escalators.

Maybe it's just a case of Do unto others before they Do unto you...

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: June 12, 2012 )

Expectations
I think the trend in rudeness can be traced to a few root causes.

(1) Public schools no longer teach about consequenses, and law suits are so prevelent that teachers aren't able to be at all strict (unless a private school).

(2) The entertainment media is overflowing with music, sit-coms, reality shows and the like that showcase loud, rude, obnoxious behavior, and when it is not loud and rude then it is all about sarchasm.

(3) The modern parent does no EXPECT anything from their children -- it is more important to be a "friend" to children rather than be an authority over them. Discipline has vanished.

Well, tonight after wife and I went out to dinner I held a door open for and older gentleman and his wife, who uses a walker. The man said to me "Thank you. You are a gentleman and a scholar."

Well, that might seem cliche, and it used to be said a lot, but the man said it honestly and I thanked him honestly -- and I came home and read this post and thought "At least I'm not the only one who has noticed our rude society."

Thanks for letting us vent.

BW

( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: June 13, 2012 )

Pen, Eric, Lucie and Brian (and Lucie and Lucie)
Thank you all for taking the time to read this little rant. I was just venting.

Pen, Newfoundland sounds great. But having grown up in sunny S. California I think the winters might kill me. I do hate the sun but bitter winters and I don't get along much better. Perhaps I'll just move back to California's central coast.

Eric, Everest would be a little too far from my mom but thanks for the suggestion. I haven't traveled anywhere near as much as I would like so your travels are always an interesting read.

Lucie, glad to see this resonate with you (and the others). I'm thinking of writing another post on the subject, something along the lines of what Brian commented. Less personal.

Brian, loved the four examples you posted. As I just wrote above, I think I have another essay in me, but less personal. We'll see how this weekend goes...

( Posted by: toscano [Member] On: June 15, 2012 )

Manners & Civility.
Wow Francisco...this brought me back to my childhood, and making me realize how much our mores` have changed this then!

Men don't wear hats anymore...but tipping his to a lady was the quintessential mark of a gentlemen! A gentlemen ALWAYS removed his hat in an elevator, or when in a restaurant etc.

A real gentlemen would park the car, while a lady would wait for him to come around and open the door for her.

Four letter words...or even milder ones...were NEVER utterted in a lady's presence!

A gentlemen always walked on the outside of the street to protect his companion...I guess sheilding her from debris falling from the building! lol

Teachers were always addressed by their Suffix..Miss or Mrs...(there was no such suffix as MS!) Ususally followed by "yes ma'm or no ma'm!" and the thought of ever answering back or daring to contradict them was unheard of!

Also gone by the wayside was the "over the knee" spanking episodes or the dreaded "woodshed" for unruly children...today social services would be there lickedy split!!!

I miss those cavaleir days of my upbringing...when people RESPECTED each other and the world was so much more civilized...but then...I'm just a dinosaur in this modern age of social custom's.

I'm all for progress...new inventions to make life easier etc.,,,but I miss the civility of life as it was then!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: June 17, 2012 )

Grandma Bea
Bea, sometimes I wish I'd grown up in a different time and place. But then what a waste of time wishing something like that is so I live where I live and make the most of it.

The one thing I do need to change is where I live. The tenant next door has no idea how annoying it is to hear the moaning and groaning that goes on in there. His ladyfriend (and I use that term loosely - like her) has no idea or doesn't care the whole neighborhood can hear her. Of course, Jonathan downstairs gets the brunt of it.

But that is neither here nor there.

Thank you for reading. I like reading your comments and posts because you've lived in some interesting (and more civil) times.

( Posted by: toscano [Member] On: June 18, 2012 )

How rude
Um, who is reading this? It's got almost 1500 views.

Hmmmmm....

( Posted by: toscano [Member] On: January 29, 2013 )





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