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.
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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