Last year, Travel + Leisure magazine declared that New York City took the prize in it's America's Rudest Cities poll and I'm sure most people weren't surprised. I know I wasn't- pushy commuters, harried business folk and cramped quarters aren't exactly the ingredients that foster a friendly community in my opinion. On the other hand, I've always felt that my hometown, Sacramento is a pretty personable town- random people smile and say, "Hello," to you as they walk by on the street, it's pretty easy to make friends here and neighbors are always down for helping you out. But lately, when I'm in restaurants or stores I've felt that Sacramento has sorely begun to lack in manners. Some of my big pet peeves lately have been people who answer their phones in upscale restaurants and proceed to have lengthy (and loud) conversations while disturbing those seated around them, drivers who refuse to let you merge even though you have your blinker on and your lane is clearly ending and patrons that think it's acceptable to be snotty, loud or just plain asshole-y to customer service personnel (i.e. cashiers, waiters, the mailman). Not to mention- what ever happened to simply saying, "Please," and "Thank you"?
Today for example, I was in a great mood as I headed over to Taylor's Market to pick up some filet mignons to BBQ at Mr.S.'s. As I drove down Freeport Blvd., this silver SUV rode my bumper the entire length of the drive from Broadway to Taylor's parking lot. It was annoying, but I got over it. The car pulled into the lot after me, a mother and adult daughter exited from the vehicle and followed me into the store. Now count it- not one or two but- THREE times while I was in the store, instead of walking around/behind me, they chose to push their way through and walk in front of me as I looked at grocery items. No "Excuse me," or "Pardon Me's" either as they squeezed their asses between me and the meat counter as I ordered. When it was time to check out, lucky me- I ended up at the checkstand at the same time as them. Now if you've ever been to Taylor's, you know that their store is pretty cramped. These two women decide to just stand there and block the checkstands while jabbering so that no one could get around them. Like two bumps on a log they just jammed everything up, until a clerk directed them to a open cashier. Really is it that hard to just pick a line and get in it folks?! The final topper was that I ended up behind these two idiots as I existed the store and as they passed through the door the older of the two women (the mom, perhaps?) just lets the door go after she passes through so that it almost hits me (who's walking just a few inches behind her)...it narrowly missed smacking me in the nose. Ugh...but that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that this behavior is becoming commonplace and I see it often. When did having good manners become the exception instead of the norm? It doesn't cost anything to be polite, so please take a minute and think of how you interact with those around you...and let's all try and bring politeness back and spread some kindness. If you're not sure how, think back to the Golden Rule from kindergarten - "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It's an oldie, but a goodie.