We’re Taking Bad Manners to a Whole New Level

Remember when we used to think that it was rude if someone didn’t RSVP to a party but showed up anyway?

Maybe more of an etiquette issue, but remember when your grandmother was aghast in the 1990s when people started wearing jeans to church on Sundays?

How about a few years ago when speaking on your cell phone in a public place became the modern tale of “bad manners”? Ha! Now, that’s just common practice.

Guys spitting a foot from their wife’s pretty shoes… someone belching grossly out loud in a restaurant… walking or reaching in front of someone’s face without saying, “excuse me”…. These regular habits of many people make the manners of the “old days” look silly:

 It’s interesting how we become indifferent…how we slowly just accept the erosion and near entire demise of etiquette and decent manners as time progresses.

While those issues I named above are a little funny now, recently I’ve experienced bad manners on a whole new level.

We recently threw the biggest party (the only “big” party) we’ve ever thrown in our lives. Invitations were sent, RSVPs were required and it was held at a nice place. I was shocked that more than one “Mom and Dad” adult couple who were invited and said two were attending, showed up with their multiple kids and their boyfriends and girlfriends?!

They filled entire tables – those that we did not have prepared, nor paid for, nor counted on for food.

How about we wait for the 14-yr olds to be engaged before springing their significant others upon paid-for parties?

That I got over quickly…hey, they were coming to celebrate with us. But a few others are just stunning lately…

I was at Sears returning something from LandsEnd and I waited in line about five minutes. The entire time I stood there, I found it strange that the sales clerk was chatting away while the customer at the counter didn’t say a word.

As I approached the counter for my turn, the clerk smiled at me and asked if I finished my bagel with cream cheese. My face contorted and I laughed, saying, “I wasn’t eating a bagel”. Without a beat she said, “Finish what you’re doing and get over here to visit me”.

Huh? My eyes narrowed in on her as she fumbled with receipts, clearly distracted by her phone which was propped up on the register because she was face-timing someone! Just as I was about to say something, the manager walked over, not knowing about the face timing, but that clerk slammed her phone down so hard, she might have (hopefully) broke it.

My shock and awe at the rudeness of doing something like that where you work and serve customers was quickly followed by a similar situation.

As I was standing at a counter waiting for service and speaking to the 40-something woman helping me, her personal phone rang and she answered it. Surprising, but maybe she had a sick child at home. She began talking and no kidding, reached underneath the counter, pulled out ear buds, put them in her ears and continued talking. Slowly and utterly distracted, she attempted to continue helping me – without speaking to me – which obviously she could not do while chatting on the phone.

If this was the doctor calling about a child’s fever, of course, answer the phone! These were literally mindless conversations that I stood for only in seconds because I’m not someone who endures crappy (sorry for the nasty word) service quietly.

My last straw actually made me laugh out loud. I run a fairly engaging classroom environment in my college classes and expect everyone to talk and respond throughout any session I teach. It’s never a straight lecture. As a result, you can’t sit in the back of the room and text your friends in my classes without someone noticing.

I had a male student in his 30’s tell me that he “couldn’t” put his phone away when I asked him to during class because he was “addicted” to Facebook and had to check his feed constantly! He was somewhat serious and yet was making a failing attempt at charming me to allow phone use in my class. I laughed out loud, pointed to the door and said he could check his feed all day long out of my classroom, but not in it.

I foolishly expect decent manners and the audacity of poor manners, particularly when the person is in a customer service position, feels both disheartening for society at large and infuriating to me personally.

20 thoughts on “We’re Taking Bad Manners to a Whole New Level

  1. In this day and age of wearing ear buds to hear what you want to hear and staring at a phone to scroll through your social media sites to see what you want to see, do people really know how to conduct a conversation where you look someone in the eye, listen, and respond? A young person was telling me a story about a local establishment that turned the wifi off at certain times so people could have a conversation. He was beyond annoyed that anyone would turn a wifi off. I didn’t bother voicing my opinion because there was not going to be a meeting of the minds about it. 🙂


    • That’s actually really interesting about the restaurant turning off the wifi. I love that! Between the TVs hanging from every wall and phones in every hand, who is talking at restaurants anymore? 🙂


  2. I’m floored that people would show up to your party with unaccounted-for children and guests. I think I would have a tough time holding my tongue on that one. And I do struggle with holding my tongue when someone is being paid for customer service, and lacking it.


  3. Oh man do I ever agree with you! For these reasons I am so relieved I do not interact with the world much, believe it or not. Hubby and I have a system where he runs the errands leaving me the time required to take care of the special needs cats we both Love and and treat, keep this household from falling apart (smile), splats of time for my PT and personal time, my photography and blogging, my gardens when they open …. Soooooo, anyways …. when I DO interact with the world, I stand there basically in shock at what is allowed and what people get away with. I am of the mind, that I do not tolerate rudeness and yes I do say something. I’ve gotten elbows and “looks” from hubby but no way, I was in the service industry for many years and if I even thought of being rude to a customer I would have been written up or fired. Oh I make very sure to reinforce what is acceptable behavior and what is not. The degree of no respect in this world of ours is horrifying! Hopefully with some of us standing up for what is right, the “movement” will get larger. Just what is going on in the political arena is a mere reflection how sick our society has become, and how acceptable it is to be rude, crude and crass. You found a hot button. Can you tell? 🙂 ❤


    • That is one of the problems—people are no longer “written up or fired” or held accountable for their poor behavior. Thus, the slow demise of decent manners and what was once just expected adult-behavior. Praise to you for speaking up when the situation calls for it. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in my astonishment and annoyance by bad manners :).

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  4. Pet peeve of mine too, poor manners. My opinion is good manners never go out of style. The one that bothers me the most is that people cannot seem to show up on time. If hosting the gathering or attending one I am, either way, waiting for someone to show up. Oftentimes I have to leave before the actual party even gets started because two hours into the event people are just arriving. I just don’t get it- ‘fashionably late’ is no longer 10 or 15 minutes. It’s just plain rude! Most people do not RSVP anymore and invitations I receive say ‘regrets only’….. as if this lets you off the hook. How would you know if they are coming anyway since they’re going to be two or more hours late to the party? Oh…… you have really hit a hot button with me, don’t get me started!!!!!😮 Great post!


    • I hear you!! I feel the same way about lateness. I was the Mom with three kids under the age of two who would (through sheer determination) get myself and the family anywhere on time, just to WAIT for those walking in – as you said – TWO HOURS late!?? The ‘regrets only’ scares me about planning…how in the world do you know anymore? I’m glad you and others have shared that you feel like me on this topic!

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      • Since we have such a large family most of the gatherings we go to or host are generally family affairs. We’ve learned which members can get there on time and which can’t so we have come to some sort of compromise that works. The rest of our social life revolves around church so that’s not usually a problem either. As I get older I’m very picky about where ( and with whom) I spend my time! I raised my 5 kids in an era where being on time was valued so being late was not an option!


  5. I couldn’t agree with you more! Good manners don’t seem to exist any more and I do think it’s a major lack of respect. A friend of mine keeps saying she wants to hold a class on good manners and I keep telling her that no one will show up! At least people did show up for your big party. All three of our children got married in the same year and you would not believe the amount of people who didn’t RSVP at all (how hard is it when all you have to do is make a check mark that you’re coming, say how many attending, and put the self-addressed stamped envelope back in the mail???) or said they were coming and then didn’t. Expensive place settings and dinners paid for for the no-shows. Rude.


    • I simply CANNOT imagine organizing three (!) weddings in one year, let alone have to experience such bad manners on what should be joyous occasions!! The fact that you indicate that there were several people who did this to you is astounding. Weddings are a huge expense and that was rude indeed.


  6. Great article and unfortunately so true. Of course, my mind travels to the Presidential “debates”…either party. Hmmmmm…I hear Aretha singing now…. RESPECT…what happened to it?


  7. I can’t get over how many times I’ve heard a cell phone ring at church. I know now a days everyone seems to use their electronics for their scriptures and lesson manuals. But at least silence your phone!


  8. YEAH!! Thank you for addressing this issue. I ask my students to check their phones at the door before entering my classes. Unfortunately we have become so attached to our social media, that we’ve forgotten how to really communicate with each other properly.


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