I get really annoyed when people don’t have good manners – particularly living here in the ravenous dog-eat-dog world of busy London. If I hold open a door for someone, or step to the side to let someone walk past, or give up my seat to someone on public transport, I expect at least a smile of recognition or maybe a ‘Thank you’ in return – after all, good manners cost nothing, right? And of course some lovely considerate people do smile and say thank you, like polite people should.
But when I invariably DON’T get a thank you or any other acknowledgement of my action, I have a really bad habit of smiling and saying loudly ‘You’re welcome!’ as if they HAD said thank you. Sometimes I get an embarrassed ‘Oh, er, thank you’ mumbled in return, sometimes I get an insolent stare, to which I smile sweetly and say ‘thank you’ expectantly, and sometimes I just get completely ignored. But whatever the response, for some reason I get great satisfaction in not allowing such basic rudeness to go unchallenged.
I’m not usually a get-involved-in-dispute, rock-the-boat person in public, but I honestly believe that one little consideration – a polite recognition in some form or other that someone has gone out of their way to do something nice for you – is an important line to hold, however busy your day or stressful your journey or otherwise preoccupied you may be in your own insular self-importance to the exclusion of all others.
And I think probably the best response I have ever received was from a little boy holding his mother’s hand, who, when I held open the shop door for them, smiled and said thank you to me even when his mother just barged past and didn’t even acknowledge me. She looked down at him when he spoke, and he responded quite critically to her ‘Mummy you’re supposed to say thank you!’ – It absolutely made this grumpy old woman’s day 🙂