Please. Thank You. You’re Welcome.

PTYI was standing in line at the local Subway on Saturday.  It was lunch time, so there was a long line, each customer ordering multiple sandwiches, not the sort of situation in which I’m at my best.   Four customers ahead of me, the Sandwich Artist said to a nicely dressed young man, What can I get you?  Gimme a six inch roast beef on wheat, he replied.  Would you like cheese? she asked.  Nope.  It was now the Veggie Lady’s turn to take over.  What would you like on your sandwich?   Lettuce, our nicely dressed man said.  Tomato.  Gimme a little onion and a few peperocini.   And mustard.  Not too much.  Cashier’s turn.  Would you like anything more, sir?  Answer, NoThat will be $7.45, sir.  Money exchanges hands, and it starts again with the forty-something male gym rat in the workout clothes then the thirty-something woman in the designer jeans.

So, it’s Top Sites Tuesday and my Two Thoughts on Tuesday concernTST politeness.  I’m sure you noticed something missing in this exchange.  Yes, the common courtesy of Please and Thank you.  People who don’t say Please and Thank You are one of my 456 pet peeves and I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, Don’t you ever say please?  Instead, when the woman immediately in front of me did say please, I said to her, It’s so nice to hear someone say please.  So many people don’t bother.   It was said loudly enough that gym-rat and designer jeans could hear me, not that I think they noticed.   It’s my experience that rude people are often oblivious people.   It bothers me most, I think, that people are particularly rude when they are in one-up situations, dealing with people like fast food help that they might view as beneath them.  I hate it that Please and Thank You are rarities these days … and You’re Welcome is missing in action.   If you Google Please and Thank You, you’ll find most of the hits are children’s books and videos teaching kids to be polite.  The Berenstain Bears may still be trying to teach our kids to say, Please and Thank You, but if Mom and Dad don’t do it, the kids won’t either.

I know, I know. Every older generation has looked at kids today and wondered where the world is headed, but it seems to me that all too often these days, the parents are leading the charge toward the precipice.  Yes, I know, not saying Please and Thank You is hardly a precipice, but a society devoid of common courtesy is.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the paralysis of our political system.  It’s time to insist on courtesy.  It’s time for people like Jeremy Sherman to shut up.  Who’s Jeremy Sherman?  He’s an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making, who wrote an article on Psychology Today titled, Please and Thank You: Stop Saying Them So Much, Please!  He spends over a thousand words considering the fine points of when you should and shouldn’t say Please and Thank You.  For example: yes when it’s a favor and no when it’s an obligation.  He gives multiple examples to illustrate his point, the adds, you should err on the side of saying “please” and “thank you” because accommodation and obligation are very vague and relative concepts.  Really, Jeremy, what universe are you living in?   Older Eyes and the Berenstain Bears don’t have to be evolutionary epistemologists to know … Thought One … we need to say Please and Thank You MORE often, not less, and … Thought Two …  we should throw in an occasional, You’re welcome.  The walk back from the precipice often consists of many small steps.

Now, Please push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #187.   Thank you very much.   You’re welcome to post your thoughts in my comments section.


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4 Comments on “Please. Thank You. You’re Welcome.”

  1. liggybee Says:

    Funny you should talk about this topic today. Yesterday I saw a post somewhere that nowadays, manners and courtesy are so rare that it often gets mistaken for flirtation. Sad, isn’t it?

    I wanna blame the mainstream media for a lot of it, but when I really think about it, I blame the parents who don’t enforce good manners at home. Children only do what they are taught to do, after all…

    Great post! Clicks for you, Bud!

  2. cherperz Says:

    This guy needs to quit over thinking things.

    His comment: What does this morass add up to? An argument that you should be somewhat more conscientious about how these kind, useful, dangerous words get bandied about. Be a little more selective in how you use them. And be conscientious about the use of moral principles, too. Don’t claim your every preference is endorsed by some moral imperative….lead me to ask him to “please…calm the f*** down”. Seriously…he is worrying about the moral implications of overusing the words please and thank-you.
    AND he used the word dangerous. He so needs some Prozac.

    I for one..being raised in the South by grandparents, use please, thank you and your welcome in 90 percent of all sentences. If I were still living in the South, I probably would still be saying “yes ma’am and no sir” as well. I don’t believe my overuse of these words is because I feel I am obligated to others or that I owe them anything. It just seems like a nicety.

  3. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    It is really nice when people use their manners. There’s nothing wrong with asking for things politely, even if it is from the girl behind the counter at McDonald’s . Being polite makes people happy.

    Clicks
    Wolf

  4. Trina Says:

    Excellent thoughts! I was raised southern and I normally have no trouble with my manners… Please, thank you, no sir, yes ma’am, you’re welcome, excuse me…. Few people us any manners and their dealing with other people just seem rude and brisk. I love using my manners, it makes me feel more southern and friendly ;)

    Happy Tuesday, thank you for another great read!
    –Trina


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