Archived Story

Erika Pickles: Excuse me, please read this. Thank you!

Published 11:03pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As I approached the door of a local store recently, I noticed an older lady not too far away from me walking the same direction. Her pace was a bit slower, as she appeared to be in her late 70s. Knowing I’d get to the entrance before her, I made sure I was waiting with an open door and a smile.

However, I found myself standing there as if I were a door-opening statue. No thank you, no eye contact, no smile, nothing. Just a walk by as if she had opened the door herself. I walked in behind her and couldn’t help but say, “you’re welcome,” in a louder than normal tone.

I don’t think this made me rude and I didn’t care if it offended her. I am a firm believer in respecting your elders, and all people in general, but respect also has to be given in order to be received. She was rude to me for not acknowledging what I had done and I wanted it to be known that her manners, well, stunk.

If I had a dollar for every time someone didn’t say thank you when they should have, bumped against me without saying excuse me or I’m sorry, or just didn’t acknowledge a simple smile, hello or thank you, I would be retired at 30 years old. Note to self — new retirement fund; put a dollar away every time someone doesn’t use common courtesy. Brilliant!

The rudeness doesn’t only come in the form of not saying those few little words either. It comes in all forms from all age groups. From people who don’t use their turn signals, to people who cut others off on the roads, to people who park in handicap parking spots when they clearly have no stickers or tags proving they can park there. Even people who won’t help others who appear to be having a difficult time with a task, like loading heavy bags in cars or not being able to lift something off a shelf.

The lack of respect for others, and being polite in general, is something that seems to have faded away faster than Paris Hilton’s fame. And it’s a shame (well, not that Paris faded away; I’m totally OK with that).

I will be the first to admit, I didn’t have the best manners. When I was younger, I’m told I said please and thank you all the time. As I hit my teens, the manners dwindled away, but as I hit adulthood, I understood the importance of good manners and I probably say “please,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “excuse me” more often that I should.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of manners in today’s society. Look at what kids are being brought up to now days — horrible reality TV, which promotes nothing but being rude to others and rids every moral that was ever taught to us. Movies that give us the motto that it’s OK to bully others, have sex in our preteens and bad-mouth our parents and peer pressure from those around us who tell us we’re not cool if we don’t act as if we have some sort of mental problem. I grew up in the ‘80s, and yes, we had our semi-violent cartoons, our teenybopper love story movies and the big-haired band music that had our parents cringing when we blasted the radio. But we were not exposed to nearly the amount of uncalled crap kids are now days.

I also blame our technology for the lack of human contact. We’re so dependent on cell phones, computers, text messaging, instant messaging, emailing, etc., that it’s made it hard for some people, especially the younger generation who is being brought up in a technology-driven society, to have normal human to human interaction and communication. Which, in turn, affects their actions in the real world.

As sad as the event was, I think the last time I truly saw humans being human to one another was during 9/11. Do you remember how our country came together? Do you remember how people were so caring, polite and so willing to help others? Do you remember striking up a conversation with a complete stranger in the grocery line, and ending it with telling them to have a wonderful day? I remember.

To those of you who do use common courtesy on a daily basis, and there are a lot of people who do, thank you. For those who don’t — try it. You’ll be amazed at how far a simple thank you will go.

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  • Myrt

    Thank you Erica!!!!!!! I’m sure you make your parents proud!

  • Buster

    Erica, I was always taught to be a gentleman and hold the door open for a lady and respect my elders. It bothers me also when I am looked at like I am suppose to hold the door or I am a pervert/mugger waiting to jump on you or your children. What ever happened to random acts of kindness, with no string attached? In the world we live in today, if I can make one person forget their misery for a moment, I can feel good about myself. I have also taught my kids to do the same. More people should try it and instill it in their kids. It would take a little longer than saying thank you to someone!

  • nch0727

    Very well said Erika! It is a shame that so many have forgotten what common courtsey is. Hope everyone reads this article and take notes and acts upon it.

  • Melvin

    Hi Erica, I agree with your article 100%. I always try to be pleasant and polite at all times.I’m a male ( who knows and graduated with your father). However, I think holding a door for someone is a two way street. When an able bodied female is one or two steps ahead of someone ( man, woman or child) they should at least acknowledge someone is right behind them and make an attempt to be courteous and hold the door. Women have had the door held for them all their lives and should return the favor once in a while.

  • jennedwards

    I could not agree more! I’ve been thinking the same thing for quite some time!! However, I have experienced this more with the teens. I’ve left Starbucks with my hands full and had teen boys let the door slam in my face. I also deal with the disrespect at my job daily. People ask you for something and just walk away and I find myself wanting to do the louder than usual ‘youre welcome’ on so many occasions. While it is crazy to me to see older people act this way, I blame the parents for teenagers actions! If I didn’t say thank you or excuse me, my mom or dad would stand there and tell me “you say thank you right now!” or “go tell that man you are sorry for bumping into him!” and it just stuck with me. I hate that people act rudely and treat people so terribly but hopefully we can change that! Maybe we should take copies of this article and put it on every car and house door we see! And then staple it to school principals foreheads! It would get attention then!! :)

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