The Demise of Common Courtesy

Posted: September 18, 2016 in Humor, Opinion, Things I Hate
Good grief.

Good grief.

Anyone who reads Shoe: Untied (and that’s anyone who really matters, amirite?) knows that I despise folks who can’t follow the simple rules of common courtesy. I’m talking the day-to-day rules that anyone who’s not a savage should know and understand.

But sadly, many do not.

What you’re about to read may be printed off, and it is my dream that it will be posted on every refrigerator, bulletin board, and NASCAR racecar in America. It’s that important, people.

Let’s do the thing:

Over the past couple of years there’s been a disturbing (at least to me) trend on radio and TV. At the conclusion of the interview, the interviewer almost always thanks the person being interviewed. Here are some responses I’ve heard recently:

“You got it.”



Seriously? What ever happened to “You’re welcome”?

Hate. It.

My disgust at people who don’t acknowledge me when I stop and let them cross the street is legendary. That also applies to drivers after I let their car in. All I ask of them is they look me in the eye, give a simple wave, a smile or maybe a thumbs-up. Anything but total dismissing me as if I didn’t exist. Hey, I just did you a favor, bro! I swear I want to just hit the gas and run them down, but I never have.


Along those same lines, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped, opened a door and let the person behind me go first, only to have that person walk right on in without a thank you or even a nod of the head. What the hell is wrong with people? In these cases I usually fight the urge to trip them, but I usually just say “you’re welcome” very loudly as if they’d actually said “thank you.”


I walk Sparky on my street and people are constantly driving by. If they’re coming towards me I always try and catch their eye and give a wave, but I can’t begin to tell you how many times they just look straight ahead, avoiding eye contact at all costs. And this is on a side street, where they’re driving like 20 mph.

I don’t get it. And most of them are usually my neighbors

I went to an hardware store this morning and there were 4-clerks behind the counter. They all had people they were waiting on, so I understood it would be a few minutes. But you know what I hated? It was when I stood there for 5-minutes and not one person made eye contact with me and said, “We’ll be with you in a minute.” Same for bartenders. And I was in a local cell phone company store one day and salesclerks walked by me for 10-minutes without acknowledging I existed. Don’t they have some sort of seminars on customer service they take before they’re hired? Just give me the old “be with you in a minute” sign and I’m good to go for awhile. Is it that hard?

Good God.

I attended a funeral a couple weeks ago and there was a line a mile long. The line doubled back several times, so at different points you could actually see the coffin and the family standing there receiving people. Here’s where my beef comes in – why do people stand there so long when there are 400-people in line behind them? I say there should be a time limit of say, one minute. When you walk up to the family of the deceased, maybe there should be a button you hit that starts a one minute timer. When the bell goes off you must move on. Seriously, nobody benefits from you yakking so long, including the family. They’re tired and have been standing a long time too. Give them a simple, “I’m sorry for your loss. If there’s anything I can do let me know.”  Then pat them on the shoulder and move on.

Common courtesy, folks. It’s not Rocket Science.

Here’s another problem I have with certain people, in particular somebody who has committed a really public screw-up. Let’s say it’s a politician or a sports figure or maybe an actor. Inevitably they have a news conference and say something like this:

“I’m sorry if you were offended by what I did.”

What the hell kind of an apology is that? You’re “sorry if I was offended“? That implies that what you said may not have been offensive at all but that I was still offended by it.

That’s bullshit, and I have a better idea of what to say:

“I screwed up. I made a mistake. I’m sorry.”

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Admit it was your fault and get on with your life, dude.

Is it because of social media that simple courtesies and the art of communication are dying? Is it because of texting, Twitter, Facebook messaging, Instagram, Snapchat and the rest that people have so much trouble looking you in the eye and, you know, actually talking? How many times have you seen a couple at a restaurant, just sitting there looking at their phones?

For the love of God, are we creating a planet full automatons, walking robots incapable of simple speech?

For years, when passing students in the hallway I’ve literally forced them to interact with me. I engage them in conversation, even though more than half the time it’s been excruciatingly painful for them. Listen, nobody hates small talk more than I do but what the hell’s wrong with a friendly smile and nod of the head as you pass by? I’ll tell you – nothing.

So let’s fight the good fight, people. Teach your kids to say please, thank you and you’re welcome, give a wave and a nod when somebody lets you cross the street, don’t flap your jaws too long at funerals, admit your mistakes, and give folks a signal that you at least know they exist when they’re waiting for you.

Bottom line? Simply acknowledge people, let them know you see them or appreciate them when they’ve done a good deed. Is it really that difficult?

And most importantly, wave at The Spark and I when you see us. You don’t want on his bad side.


  1. Thanks for saying it for me, Janny

Gimme a holler.

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