In the past, I have written a post about common courtesy during the retail holiday season. What started out as me just getting my frustrations with people and their actions, ended up turning into my most viewed post. Even today, as I write this new post, my page views for What Is Common Courtesy? continue to climb. Common courtesy is something that I think most people do not understand, and that maybe instead of getting angry about it, I need to help educate people who may not know any better. Maybe they did not have a role model to teach them about proper etiquette or behavior in a public place.
- Look a person in the eye when addressing them. It may not seem like a big deal, but it makes the person you are speaking to feel important, and that they are worth your time and attention. Some culture’s may frown upon that practice, but in my country, it is a sign of respect and common courtesy. Sometimes if you can’t verbally express what you are looking for(especially if there is a language barrier between you and the person you are talking to), sometimes a facial expression and eye contact can speak volumes.
- Say please and thank you. When you ask someone a question or takes the time to answer your question, saying please or thank you is showing a sign of respect. People need to stop feel that they are entitled to answers without taking the time to be grateful that someone can answer their question or fulfill their needs.
- Put your phone down while checking out in a store. This shouldn’t need to be said, but I have seen it happen so many times that I have to put it out there. The person on the phone can wait a few moments for you to finish. Or tell them you will call them back when your transaction is completed. And if it is such an emergency that you are on the phone, you shouldn’t be in line in the first place.
- If you are sick and coughing, then stay home! It is bad enough that you are sick, but by being out in public and getting germs all over everyone else, well that is just plain wrong. You never know if a cashier waiting on you has an infant child at home that can’t afford to get sick. And if you absolutely must be out in public, make sure you are washing your hands and using hand sanitizer! But in the end, when you are sick, stay home. It is just common courtesy.
- Be patient while waiting. Let’s face it, we are all in a hurry and have things to do. But getting upset if you have to wait a few minutes to be waited on is ridiculous. As much as we would like to believe so, we aren’t the only ones that have needs. The person in front of you is just as busy, but they deserve the time the customer service person is giving them. If you wait your turn, you will get the time you need as well. Again, this is just good common courtesy, and should be second nature to people, adults especially.
These are just a few of the simple common courtesies that I see that need to be addressed. I feel very sad sometimes because they are simple things that shouldn’t have to be discussed, they should just be taken as common courtesy. Perhaps I am expecting too much that the average person already knows, and practices, these courtesies. At the same time, it makes me feel good that I can help educate people about what should be done in public situations. I am not the expert on these situations, and I do not have a degree in etiquette. These are just simple everyday courtesies that I feel should be extended to everyone you meet. I have a lot of experience working in customer service, so my observations are first hand. From presidents, to teachers, children and seniors. They only take seconds to do, but make a lifetime impression.
So tell me, what do you consider common courtesy?