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Manners - The NY Times gets it

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by dhermann1, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Miss_Bella_Hell

    Miss_Bella_Hell My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Reading this article actually makes me hate the writer. Or at least roll my eyes.

    In the case of rude people in the service industry, the author seems to have failed to consider the very real possibility that his servers actively hate all their customers.

    In the case of people on the street, maybe he should 1) move out of Manhattan; 2) stop being that guy on the sidewalk who is moving in a non-linear way, and too slowly.

  2. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    That takes courage in this day and age to actually tell someone, "I'm saying the words that you should be saying." He's liable to get "flipped off" or something equally insulting. And isn't that itself a sad commentary on our society?
  3. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

    I don't think he's going to get very far with this. These days, an apologetic attitude is seen as an opportunity to be even ruder.

    And correcting the manners of a complete stranger is rude.
  4. pdxvintagette

    pdxvintagette A-List Customer

    How appalling!

    "Doctor, heal thyself!" is the only thing I can think of in response to this piece. He's missed the whole point of instilled manners, and if he has any, he's had to completely compromise them in order to use this "reverse ettiquette."

    I've pointed out public rudeness in others before, but not without realizing that I myself was engaging in another form of it myself. This fellow seems to be completely unaware of how poor his own manners are in regards to the issue, particularly once out on the street.

    Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed for him.
  5. MadelienneBlack

    MadelienneBlack One of the Regulars

    I think his heart's in the right place, but I'm not sure about his effort. I don't think his tactics will get him very far, which is unfortunate. I'm often shocked at people's manners these days.
  6. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I tend to agree with Miss Bella Hell here. Sure, his heart was in the right place, but it's a little too smarmy for me. If he wanted to make people aware of their manners, he could simply state, "Please excuse yourself," and even that is unnecessary.

    Ironically, I find it a bit rude to impose one's manners on others. If someone fails to exhibit appropriate manners, you should let the rube continue on their way; afterall, you're not their mother. However, if it is distressing enough, perhaps an unkempt mourner is drinking and cursing at your mother's funeral, then I see that you have the right to impost SOME manners by asking the gentleman (and even lady) to excuse themselves out the door.

    In the case of bad service or bumps on the sidewalk; get over yourself.
  7. Or their jobs? Is that even admissible anymore, to hate your job in this toughest of cities?

    I've read Alford. He's too much of a hothouse flower ever to quit Manhattan, so 1) is out. As for 2), yeah, maybe, but how long must we apologize for NYers' tendency to charge around like blinkered racehorses in public?

    In midtown, I used to practice what I called guerrilla strolling, ie, maintaining minimal body tension and a snappy pace at the same time in quiet defiance of all the jerks marching around with their jaws set and knees locked. It involves a kind of Zen mindfulness, I suppose - rather than jerking or twisting out of the way of obstacles, you try deftly to sidestep them. Imagine you're Fred Astaire; he could handle it.

    Beats hell out of being smarmy-coy at people because they don't say sorry. That's irritating. What's worse, being thoughtless or being a scold? I rate them about equal.

    I get bumped, I say, "Sorry!" and that's all. The harder the bump, the louder the "Sorry!" and the more of an edge I put on it. If that doesn't make them think, nothing will.
  8. Miss_Bella_Hell

    Miss_Bella_Hell My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Fletch, I'll do you one better. If I get bumped, I'll say sorry (even though it's unlikely the other person hears or cares). But if someone if crossing my path when I am walking with the flow of traffic and they are cutting it so close I have to stop or move to avoid them, I'll throw out an elbow. Subtly, so it seems accidental. I consider it training, like dogs who nip the sheep to keep them in line.

    Yup, just compared myself to a collie.
  9. Wow, that was so odd & passive-aggressive.

    Reminds me of an article that observed an angry drunk businessman pushed thru a crowd & sneared, "pardon me' & 'excuse me" all the way. The article surmised that these apologies were the new "@#$% YOU!"
  10. Slim Portly

    Slim Portly One Too Many

    Interesting. As a professional dog trainer I find myself using similar techniques with humans on occasion.

    Two days ago (at my "day job"), I was sitting across the desk from a very unsavory man. He had made an unreasonable request from me, and I took a moment to politely explain to him why he was not going to get what he wanted. He became very rude, calling me a thief and a lair, and telling me that he didn't need me to give him any attitude. I did what dogs do and I stared him straight in the eye for longer than would normally be considered appropriate. I could practically sense the hair on the back of his neck standing up. Once he got my silent message, I said to him, "What I just gave you was information, not attitude. There is a difference." Then I broke eye contact and concluded our transaction. An hour later I was laughing about it with my coworkers, and undoubtedly he was off somewhere either licking his wounds or finding easier prey to verbally abuse.

    Pointing out the lack of manners of other people is itself rude, as has been pointed out here already, besides usually being a complete waste of time. Better is to find another way to count coup, such as with skillful repartee. In today's world one has many opportunities to practice such.
  11. Meh. I understand his irritation, but truth be told, I'd probably give him the same deer-in-the-headlights look everyone else is giving him. Not because I don't try to say "sorry", but because he's just confusing. And trying to enlighten the fellow who's charging down the street about his manners is an exercise in futility.
  12. Well, I must say I agree with almost every opinion expressed in this thread. The guy's attitude and approach is not necessarily going to get him the ostensibly desired effect. I think he's doing a little guerilla conceptual art here. Being an agent provacateur, to see what kinds of responses he gets.
    But I certainly did enjoy playing agent provacateur with ths thread. ;)
  13. I don't always see the reason to apologize for accidents. Nor do I see the reason to apologize to a passive aggressive person that seethingly thinks he or she deserves one.
  14. KY Gentleman

    KY Gentleman One Too Many

    I don't understand apologizing for other peoples shortcomings.
    If I felt someone owed me an "I'm sorry" and didn't offer one I don't see the need for me to supply it. I think I would rather comment on their lack of consideration or find another place to spend my money.
  15. Seems some people see no reason to apologize for accidents or anything else these days.

    Anyway, in my beloved old New York, the sarkiness that the writer exhibits would have eventually got him a bust in the jaw. That's the problem with the new New York transplants. They believe they don't have to physically back up such mouthings should it come to it. Hipsters are good for that, and it amuses me to see then suddenly become very apologetic and shaky when I say, 'What did you just say.'

  16. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family

    Apologizing and its backfire

    I would think that a lot of times, people are simply ignorant of manners- I'm willing to give people credit and say they don't know about it, rather than choosing to ignore it.
    However, I think the author's attempt to instill manners would probably backfire- he would give these people the impression that he really IS at fault, and they are now "superior" in some sense, to him.

    The best route is the toughest one- stick to your manners, regardless of others, and go to bed at night knowing you're not a complete neanderthal like THE REST OF THEM!! lol
  17. Self and Service to Whom.

    Here is a reference point for modern America as it is a clear indication of the state of interaction between human beings in the urban and suburban enviornment. Many of us know that youth tend to be self centered but today it is truly narcissistic and the concept of youth is being extended to later years of life. The age of responsibilty went from teens to twenties and is approaching the thirties.

    Modern day interactions tend to show that the effect of one's actions are not regarded at a conscious level, cutting some one off in traffic is pretty much unseen and un-noticed by the one doing the action.. Many actions are at a base level, Unless done for a specific effect such as to get someone's attention.

    It is self esteem gone mad, the lack of regard for others, a lack of conscience, a lack of sympathy or empathy. By focusing on self and the lack of good upbringing leads to a lack of ability to "put yourself in someone else's shoes." Here is what makes it so one can drop the apple and not worry about it, it was only momentarily on the radar, and if one doesn't acknowledge it chances are it will go away. (Especially in NYC where everyone is in such a rush that most interactions with strangers are to be avoided.) So for all the "we are the world" type of slogans interaction for many is not one of regard for others, let alone personal sacrifice for others. "I don't have time for that crap, here's some money, get away from me, leave me alone."

    It is why there is such a lack of poor wait staff service skills. Critical thinking as to the anticipation of anothers needs seems to be inconceivable. (Ever notice how when in the position of receiving service, many of "them" get very vocal and suddenly know what they are not getting?)

    The inability to think outside of one's self such as people that run their shopping carts into you with out any acknowledgement is a symptom of the times, and show the lack of parental upbringing, how education content shifts and the MTV attention span is pointing to bad times ahead.

    Parents remember this: what you teach your kids about treating others is going to affect how they treat you when you're elderly and infirm.
  18. KY Gentleman

    KY Gentleman One Too Many

    :eek: That is a terrifying thought !
  19. Hmm, just an aside, but I don't really think that's true at all! I remember hearing about my dad putzing around Ecuador, having a good time until he was at least 27. He didn't get his career started until he was 29.

    Now kids have to be in 10 different clubs, have perfect SAT scores, play a sport, be able to sing opera AND write a fantastic essay, just to MAYBE get wait-listed at a good university. This is an exaggeration, but not by that much, unfortunately.

    Perhaps in a way adulthood is delayed, but not necessarily because we want to shuck responsibility. I think it's delayed because no longer is an Associate's or even a Bachelor's degree enough to get a good job. You need a Master's, plus cruddy unpaid internships, plus experience to get your career going now. With all your effort going towards education, true "adulthood" (I'm presuming this means owning a home, working 9-5, marriage, family, etc) gets pushed aside.

    I think everyone, especially people in their 20's and 30's, are under a lot of stress these days. Success and security are made SO important and are becoming harder and harder to achieve. You give the example of rude wait staff -- I've run into very few in my time, however, I know they exist. But I've seen way more people be rude and demanding to wait staff that are paid minimum wage and on their feet all day than I've seen the other way around. I don't know, it's just something to think about.

    Ok, sorry for that tangent!!! Just wanted to give some perspective from someone who's a part of this narcissistic generation! ;)

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