It's been a while since I blogged anywhere. I haven't forgotten about blogging. I sort of miss it. However, my life has been consumed with a research project. I'm in the throws of a 100 entry annotated bibliography. I can tell you I am sleeping well at night after a day of boring reading. Oh, it's not that bad for a nerdy person like me but sometimes, I think, man, I'm too old for this.
There are so many good things I could write about these days. Life is much less dull. I have been told recently that I seem so alive these days. Another friend told me I am like a little girl. Maybe starting another school adventure has made me into a school girl again. I don't know but life is good. I am sure some of you who have read through this blog in the past are saying, "I don't believe she said that."
So it is with some reservation I have decided to write a blog of discontent again. I rather like the word, carping. I am going to carp about something. That something is, I miss manners.
Remember the old book "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?" I am sure there was something about excuse me, thank you, please, etc. I had a neighbor who was rather mean and stern when I was a child. Her name was Mrs. Ohman. There was none of the first name business in those days. And she wasn't one of the honorary "Aunts" or as in my neighborhood, "Tante" (Norwegian for Aunt). She was just MRS.
I would stay at her house sometimes as a kid when my mother was in the hospital or went away for something. She had a daughter a little bit older than I was, her name was Nancy. I've written about Nancy before when I confessed to playing "devil cards" in her basement. Mrs. Ohman made me do dishes when I was staying there. She also would correct me about my manners. She would look at me with a stern face and say, "What's the magic word(s)"? That would mean I forgot to say please, thank you, pardon me, excuse me, etc. It actually was good training. I tried to teach my children about manners.
A week or so ago a Facebook friend was lamenting in her status about manners too - she missed gentlemen. I replied and we exchanged comments. She seemed to want to blame women for not behaving like ladies thus causing men to behave badly. I thought that was a bit like saying that women behave badly and therefore it's okay for them to be abused. I know, that's a bit far. I am sure she didn't mean that.
Then we got into a short snippet discussion about power. I said something about using my power. She didn't seem to agree. I guess I came across as a feminist. It's okay. We just stopped commenting. She's still my Facebook friend.
So what triggered me today? A trip to Wal-Mart - that bastion of American capitalism. I don't know, something about a trip to Wal-Mart in South Dakota will always bring out the worst in me. I get tired of people who can't say excuse me. I wonder what has made people here so unfriendly and rude most of the time. But honestly, I am rather used to navigating my cart through the store and just not noticing the rudeness any more.
It was the clerk. It was the clerk and the woman in front of me that did it for me. The clerk's clumsiness knocked over one of my items and sent it to the floor. He was scanning the woman in front of me's artificial flowers. Between me and the item was my cart. The woman in front of me bent over and picked up the item throwing it on the belt. I said the magic words; I said "Thank you." That was greeted by that glare I've come so accustomed to here. Thank you? Is that a foreign word like excuse me? I looked at the clerk who was also look at me with a similar glare. I thought how rude! When he finally got to my items, he forgot the customary, how are you? Did you find everything today? etc. As he was scanning another friendly Wal-Mart associate walked by so they could exchange their scorning comments about working at Wal-Mart.
The bright spot was the greeter. As I walked by, the white haired woman had a genuine smile. I thought wow, one person in South Dakota who remembers her manners.
Okay, I know this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. If you shop at Wal-Mart you know customer service sucks. I even decided to do the survey request for the $1000 on the receipt so I could complain. They gave me no chance to complain.
It isn't just Wal-Mart though, my farmer's market experience the other day was equally bad.
OHHHH I wish there were a Target here in Brookings. They train their employees on manners. I think it's needed. Oh well, back to research.