by EBB on Thursday, January 07, 2010
These days there seems to be a growing number of individuals who believe the rules of polite, orderly society do not apply to them. No doubt Paris Hilton is somehow responsible. Well mannered mothers may wonder, what on earth makes people feel entitled to jump the post office line, scoot in front of you at the car service center, or usurp a sales person with “just a quick question” that turns out to be exactly the same sort of transaction the rest of the queue was waiting to perform? Prada boots? Tory tunic? Gucci bag? Because high fashion is no excuse for low behavior. In these and a myriad of other instances the best thing a polite person can say in a pleasant but firm voice is “Excuse me, you must not have realized that there are several people waiting, all of whom were here before you.” There is no guarantee that this will have any effect since the perpetrator is probably immune to such civility. However, you will feel better for having tried. Another common affront is the invasion of personal space in a situation where it is not acceptable. Obviously a subway or crowded elevator is one thing and the social norm is sardinesque. But in a restaurant or waiting at a counter when you have already made way for an encroaching individual once or twice you might try “I hope I am not in your way?” or “Do you have enough room?” Again such subtlety could easily be lost. And yet, the well mannered modern mother continues to fight the good fight against ridiculous entitled behavior. She knows that often the eyes of her young family are upon her and how she reacts in these situations will leave a lasting impression on her children. Plus these people are so annoying.