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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WTH Wednesday: Rude or Not? Respond or Not?


So I was reading in Good Housekeeping, August 2010:

"The woman in front of you in the express lane has way more than 10 items. Do you point it out?" (There's a sampling of answers from readers, then the "official" answer from the advice columnist. The title of the page is "Good Advice: Everyday Manners".)

Answer One: "Yes. I would kindly say, 'You know what? Counting counts!'"
Answer Two: "No. There are more important things to worry about."
Answer Three: "Yes. I'd ask if she knew other registers take large orders."

Peggy, the "expert" says: "Yes. If you sense she might be receptive, say in a friendly tone, 'Excuse me; you probably don't realize this is an express line.' She'll either move or ignore you. If her items are already on the belt, say nothing. Or, if you have only one or two things, you could pleasantly ask to go ahead of her before her order is started."
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So I'm reading this, and I'm thinking ... When was the express lane invented? Could it be that its inception was based on a basic lack of civility? because we stopped noticing that someone behind us only had 3 things and we had a family-of-six-stocking-up-for-the-month cart? because we aren't friendly enough to ask, politely, if we might hop the line since we only have a few items? Did express lines come with the "super" market? I doubt they existed at the Five and Dime.

And honestly. "Counting counts!" Who SAYS that? How does one RESPOND to that? I am also wondering ... the two "yes's" came from a 66 and 54-year-old, successively. The "No" was from a 26-yr-old. Can I make any generational assumptions?

Look, I'm not saying it's not flat-out rude to take your cart full of stuffs to the "only 10 items" line. What I'm pondering is, truly: WHO GETS THIS BENT ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THIS? And who, in the case of a near emergency ("I'm double-parked and my daughter is screaming because her mosquito bite is bleeding she's ripped it off and I need to get this cold pack and Benadryl out there, can I hop in front of you?") can't manage to ask, politely, to be shown priority? And isn't this something you go home and fume to your friends about ("this idiot woman in front of me with the coupons flying all over and writing a check and she had at LEAST 20 items in the EXPRESS LANE") instead of making a big deal about in the store?

I'm a big fan of the rules. Truly. I try to obey them. I just don't see getting so upset when someone ELSE doesn't follow them. Am I alone here?