Some cases come to mind. First and foremost, on our honeymoon, Holly and I treated ourselves to a very nice dinner. We arrived at our reservation promptly, and were about to be seated at a table. One thing bothered me, and I requested a new table.
This was a nice place. It required reservations, and was by no means cheap. The problem: a man at a nearby table was wearing a ball cap.
Caps are fine at a barbecue joint or even a fast-food place. When we go out to the sports bar to watch a Kentucky basketball game, I may even wear a cap. But at a nice place, any place really, where you are seated by a host and have a formal dinner, take off the cap. It’s not appropriate, especially in a fine dining environment. My dad would lay down the law even if I was watching baseball in the house, and had my favorite team’s cap on my crown, and certainly wouldn’t have had it at the dinner table. It is disrespectful to the restaurant and to fellow diners.
And while I’m on it, dress appropriately. I do not know of many restaurants that enforce a dress code, but maybe they should. We’ve seen cut-off shorts and sleeveless T-shirts at finer dining establishments, and it’s not attractive. If you’re going someplace nice, respect the experience. If you wouldn’t wear it to church, don’t wear it out.
Shopping is another place where we seem to have lost our way. In nursery school, we learned how to share and take turns. One model is the line waiting for the next cashier. I call it the post office model. It seems to me, everyone should get into one line and wait for the next available cashier, teller or whatever awaits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in such a line and someone breezes past and breaks line to get behind the shortest line ahead. Come on folks, just be aware of your surroundings. If there are three people in a big line, don’t slip on by and get into the short line.
Be aware of others in the store. It’s never a good thing to park your cart next to someone else’s cart, block the aisle, and spend five minutes looking through the array of baked beans. It blocks the way for people behind you. An ounce of courtesy and five seconds of your time, and you could move up a few feet. This makes for a passable aisle. How easy is that?
On the same token, it’s fun to shop, but have an idea what you are looking for. Usually, I know just what I want, grab it and get on my way. Too often, there is a shopper with cart, parked exactly beside what I want. Usually, said shopper spends minutes looking at a display making a decision on what he or she wants. If you see someone looking at the same display, move aside and share access. You may be standing between a hungry shopper and a wanted item. It’s easy to share.
This one has happened often, and doesn’t need to. A person in front of me is checking out and has a question about a price. More often than not, the difference amounts to pennies. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re all about saving money. But quibbling over a few cents is just not worth it. It means sending the cashier or another employee to check the posted price. Even in a small supermarket, that takes minutes. And behind an impatient me are maybe three or four more shoppers. Bite the bullet and pay the difference. Ask the checker to remove it from your purchase. Take it to the manager’s office after you check out and ask for an adjustment. There are so many things a shopper can do other than stand up the line for a quibbly price difference.
Finally, and this one chased us out of a restaurant. Respect the people serving your food. Don’t complain loudly about everything. Some things are worth complaining over, like ice-cold food. Keep your order simple, and don’t assume you are entitled to everything. Most servers are just getting by, and deal with understaffing, problems in the kitchen and shaky management. They’re doing their best. If there is a problem, be understanding, and do not assume it’s all a single employee’s fault. I am a hypocrite for ending this column of grievances about complaining, but nobody else wants to hear it. If there is a real problem, explain it politely. If a customer is having a bad day, he or she need not ruin it for everyone else, especially the person serving the food.
So that’s my two cents of unwanted advice for the day. To put it all into a nutshell, just be considerate of everyone around you. Respect them. Treat fellow customers and the people serving you the way you would want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule, and I don’t think I’m asking too much. n