In the midst of, and following, the recent election, the rhetoric became ever more vicious, and while there has been much spoken and written about the need to dial down the vindictive and hate in the media and on social media, we have overlooked another aspect of the lowered standard of civility in our culture: the lack of good manners in personal interaction.

Believe it, or not, at one time the slogan, "the customer is always right," was taken seriously by businesses. Retail clerks were expected to treat customers with respect and deference, while the customer was expected to refrain from rudeness and unreasonableness in turn. Employees were chastised and sometimes actually fired for giving poor customer service. Businesses felt the need to please customers in order to have their repeat business. Is this no longer part of the current business model?

Horror stories of rudeness and poor service are no longer the exception, but the norm. We have come to expect interminable wait times and a gantlet of robotic voicemail choices when telephoning customer service, whether at a business, government agency or tech support. Clerks in retail stores have an attitude of resentment toward customers which they don't even try to hide and the hapless shoppers often resort to rudeness in response.

How about we all try an old-fashioned, but radical idea: treat one another with respect and kindness, whether face-to-face, on the telephone or on social media.   Who knows what could happen?

Published by J.B.Hawker