November 19, 2008


Just when I was thinking that for whatever reason people were becoming more polite, Miss Jane appeared on the scene.

Politeness has been missing from my world for a long time now. It’s not a new wrinkle, but as more wrinkles appear on my face and elsewhere I seem to be more aware of its absence. It is common when dealing with clerks in stores, and has been for years now. Maybe it’s an old people thing that we like to comment on this or that as we are being checked out. But if the clerk is of a certain younger age, which is most likely, I will get, if I am lucky, a brief glance but no words. Since I am a veteran of this behavior I stop my efforts and wait for the wordless clerk to drop my change and receipt in my hand with nary a word to slow down my exit. Now I’m not asking anything from the kid except perhaps some validation that I am still a member of the human race. From a psychobabble page I am sure it has something to do with wanting to make some connections with other members of it. Now I don’t wish to start a war between the youngies and the oldies, but the older clerks, brought out of retirement I am sure because they need extra income, or have become a member of that dreaded widowhood, seem to share the joy of passing a few random comments on the passing scene.

In days long past I believe behavior of clerks or sales representatives was monitored by the management and if it needed friendlied up, they would make sure it got done. They used to think, an old fashioned idea I’m sure, that the clerks represented the store. People like to talk, for some it may be the only person in their day that they will meet. A couple little sentences won’t hurt or cost anything, but it could make some persons day. Perhaps this is a thought that young people cannot grasp yet, but believe me if you are lucky enough to live a long life it will happen to you.

Now back to Miss Jane. This person committed a double faux pas as far as I am concerned. She comes into my house to perform a service and out of her mouth comes the observation that my neighborhood sure has deteriorated. Now do I have to tell you how rude and crass that remark is? Yes it is true what she said, but that does not excuse her saying it, it is an uncaring and uneducated remark to make. First to come into a person’s home and say such a thing is almost the kind of remark that would lead to immediate expulsion from some homes. Second that she would make it to elderly people who have lived in the offending neighborhood for thirty-five years, and are of an age where moving is not on a list of things we want to do and, thirdly to defend my neighborhood, I have gotten older too and I don’t look so good either, and lastly it is again darn rude. Come on folks, on one hand we have people who won’t talk and on the other we have people who talk too much.

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