My daughter and I stopped for breakfast while we were out running some early errands the other day. Her favorite part, as it usually is these days, was ordering her own food. She's been on this kick for a while, where she does not want me to order for her. She likes showing off what a big girl she is, and what nice manners she can use.
So she placed her order. "May I have some oatmeal please?" And to drink? "May I also have some milk please?" She was very proud of herself, and the woman behind the counter seemed very impressed. And of course I was proud of the wonderfully sweet girl that I'm helping raise.
As we sat enjoying our food, I couldn't help but overhear some of the other customers that came through. And I also couldn't help getting irritated. (I try not to let it bother me, but it still always does.) It seems like every time I'm in a fast food restaurant, or a convenience store, or any other place where people are being served from behind a counter, someone comes in and demands (usually rather rudely) "Yeah, gimme a ..." or "Let me have a ..." whatever it is that they want.
To their credit, the people behind the counter almost always handle it well, and usually at least act like they didn't even notice the unnecessary rudeness. But it always makes me bristle. I know - the attitude isn't directed at me. Maybe it's not my place to be concerned with it.
But it does concern me. I'm concerned by what it says about our society. I'm concerned that we as a culture think that it's okay to treat someone disrespectfully just because it's their job to help us. I'm concerned by the lack of value that we seem to place on other people.
Maybe you think I'm being over-dramatic. And maybe I am. But I can't help but think about the difference it makes to me when someone chooses to speak to me kindly, as opposed to being rude just because they can. (And I have a feeling I'm not alone here.)
So if someone is being paid to wait on you, and you're paying for the goods they are delivering... there's a pretty good chance that you're going to get what you ask for. It really isn't necessary to be rude or demanding. And it never hurts to be nice.