Whatever Happened to Manners?

Posted by Douglas Sorocco at June 7, 2006 11:16 AM

I guess the title of this post is fairly explanatory – but it is worth repeating. 

What has happened to manners in our society?  Rudeness seems to prevail everywhere –which makes me wonder if it is any easier to be rude than it is to be mannered?

Case in point (get ready for a rant):

I have been travelling non-stop the past couple of weeks and as we all know, the airlines are really not doing much to help their customers be comfortable, let alone, enjoy the flight.  Planes are crowded, the facilities are cramped, they are charging for soft drinks, checking our bags at the curb and for tinny little earphones — and we are now being treated to the “reserved” first class lavatory – is it absurd to anyone but me that people from row 5 have to traipse 30 rows backward to use the “steerage” restroom. 

Air travel sucks.  Plain and simple.

So, I guess I have been feeling a bit of esprit de corps with my fellow travelers  lately – it is us versus them afterall.  The people versus the man.  Humanity versus inhumanity. 

And I don’t think I am alone… in fact, I witnessed both sides of the coin tonight.

A mother and her two young children board the plane – the mother is in the aisle bulkhead seat while her kids are in the middle and the window seat one aisle behind her.  She politely asks the passenger in the aisle seat next to her kids if he would be willing to take the bulkhead aisle seat so that she could sit next to her young children (why in god’s name does the airplane put her in this position to begin with?) – a very simple request and, afterall, the passenger would get the bulkhead seat and more legroom.

So - what do you supposed happened?

If you guessed that the passenger changed seats, you would be sadly mistaken.  Instead the passenger refused, pouted and when confronted by the flight attendant, outright whined about having to move – remember, it is only one row forward and in the bulkhead seat to boot.

I think the flight attendant, myself and the mother all must have stood there for at least five minutes with our mouths open.  We couldn’t believe it.  Since I am mouthy, I asked the passenger if he had a problem – didn’t his mother teach him any manners?  Well, that went over well.  And then another passenger asked the same thing.  And then another.  And another.  And another.  Pretty soon the whole front section of the plane was glowering at the passenger for refusing to move.

Well lo and behold – he succumbed to pressure and moved forward – all the while grumbling about it.  In fact, he demanded that his bag stay under the seat in front of the woman who was taking his place.  His precious bag couldn’t end up in the overhead compartment.  Another one of the passengers picked up the bag and moved it to the overhead compartment for him.  I think I heard people applauding, but I am not certain.

Later during the flight the attendant brought free drinks back to me and a couple of the other folks who spoke up.  The passenger actually asked why he wasn’t getting something for moving.

And up piped the voice of one of the children in the row behind him:

Because you didn’t do the right thing when it was the right thing to do, mister.

I think the mother was mortified that her son made the comment – if I was her, however, I would be proud of that boy. 

I now know of at least one mother who is teaching her children manners.  Let’s hope I am still travelling when he is a bit older – I would like to sit and chat with him and see if he remembers this experience and how it impacted his life (or not).

This story is really not about intellectual property - although I could probably twist it in some manner.  If the lesson is applicable to your practice, great.  If not – I am sorry I wasted your time.

I just needed to rant.


Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) trackback

Related Articles:
Bigger isn't always better
Carnival of the Capitalists - Rethink(IP) Edition
What Grade Would You Earn?


You can ping this entry by using .


J. Matthew Buchanan Says:

June 7, 2006 01:32 PM

Nice rant. Nice job on the uprising, too.

To answer your question - Whatever Happened to Manners? - I offer some thoughts from the road and a little more Texaco.

After reading your rant, I immediately thought that manners, in general, have largely disappeared much like good customer service has. After all, I remember good examples of both more than I do bad, because the good ones are rare and the bad ones have become commonplace.

Doug Miller Says:

June 8, 2006 10:01 AM

When we meet, I will proudly buy you a drink of your choice. Glad you had the guts to speak up, and others backed you up. Also nice to hear the child put the passenger in his place.

Ginnie Says:

June 8, 2006 05:31 PM

From the mouths of babes...
Viva la revolution! Good for you for speaking up - it is so hard to confront people. If he had a good reason not to move, he should have stated it.
The passenger pouted & whined, and I am outright surprised that he didn't say "Why is everyone being so mean to me?" ('cause it is all about ME)
And I wonder if somewhere there a blog post by him detailing how he was practically assaulted by some mob all over moving seats...? But I am sure his colleagues & family have heard his side of the story by now.

I'll gladly buy you a drink too!

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your E-mail
Your Website URL
Remember personal info?