What Happened to Manners?

By on 10 November, 2017 in Carole King with 0 Comments

With the holiday season approaching I’m sure we’ll all be out and about rushing with things to get done — for work and home, for ourselves and for others. But I’ve been noticing more and more the lack of what I just call plain ‘ole manners in establishments where I’m spending my hard-earned money. So I’m wondering if it’s not taught any more in schools or at home, or just what has caused the demise of customer service and being nice to other folks. Maybe with the rush of internet consumption for all of our household goods and delivery, including even groceries and prepared foods, folks have lost the art of interacting with the real working world — clerks, salespeople, grocery checkers, drive-thru order-takers, etc.

Since I try to do most of my shopping and business in Midtown, I am fairly insulated as I usually interact with nice folks who know me, provide quality customer service, and appreciate my money. But that courtesy is just not what I have experienced lately in other areas. Sales peoples and merchants just acknowledging your existence in their business has become a prehistoric idea. I can always count on a Publix employee passing by me in the aisle and asking me if I’m finding everything I need that day. At the Cloverdale Service Center, they actually take my check for my gas purchase or service call and chitchat about what’s going on in the community… actually making it a pleasure to give them money.

When going to the chain/big box stores, (for the most part) customer service seems to be on life support or dead. That can actually act as a good budgetary practice for you as in many places you have to find somebody to handle your purchase and take your money. Do I really need this? I see why people are so attracted to internet shopping. That website stacks up your desired items immediately in your “shopping cart,” snatches your Visa number, closes the sale and then sends you a receipt and multiple thank you emails. Recently, I wrote a check at a chain clothing store and the computers were down. Well, everything came to a standstill and I waited 45 minutes through many phone calls to supervisors. Nobody knew how to hand process a real paper check. I eventually walked out as I really did not need that merchandise that bad and saved myself $50.

But my most irritating complaint about the state of customer service is the “no problem” response that I hear it in many places including eateries. My lifelong trained mannerly response to someone doing something for me — checking me out at the grocery, filling a prescription at drugstore — has always been “thank you.” The expected response is, “you’re welcome.” However, the new acceptable response seems to be “no problem.” No problem? I just spent $75 with your business … it had better not be a problem. That response brings on lots of questions in my mind: What was the expected problem? Were they expecting me to snatch and run? Were they expecting my payment method to be declined.

So during this upcoming holiday season, let’s all just take a deep breath, smile a lot, use good (maybe antiquated) manners, spread a little cheer and be nice to each other!

Carole King (not the singer, just the hummer) enjoys midtown living from South Capitol Parkway in Capitol Heights where she has lived for 25+years. Carole has been the historic properties curator for the Landmarks Foundation that manages Old Alabama Town for 28 years and is passionate about neighborhoods, their architectural character, their people, and their preservation!

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