In my school stories, I have reported on some excellent programs that reward students for good behavior. In Catoosa County, several schools have adopted “Dude, Be Nice” as a slogan to remind kids to do the right thing.
Maybe we need a similar program for adults. There is a police department in Colorado that pulls over motorists who are obeying the law, randomly handing out fast-food gift cards. I like that idea. Wouldn’t it be nice if just once, when you come to a full stop at a stop sign, a cop comes by with a friendly wave and a free cheeseburger?
First, however, we must exhibit the behavior that warrants such a reward. Judging from some events I have witnessed, along with those contributed by some friends, we can start by asking certain dudes (and dudettes) to be nice.
Topping the list are the people who simply don’t have time to return their shopping carts to their parking lot corrals. It is especially frustrating for disabled folks to attempt to pull into a handicapped space that is blocked by a buggy in the middle of the space, or worse, blocking the grid that is marked for chair lifts.
(In all fairness, it would be nice if the supermarket owners would place those “buggy corrals” a little closer to the handicapped spaces.)
Parents, the next time your kids want to use the motorized shopping carts to take a joy ride through the store, just say no. Some folks really need them.
Dude, don’t toss your cigarette butt out of the car window toward me while driving. Not only is it littering, it is also a fire hazard in dry weather.
Speaking of litter, why would anyone toss a fully loaded disposable diaper into a parking lot? I understand the challenges of transporting a cranky baby, and no one wants a stinky diaper in the car. But garbage cans are usually nearby, and no store employee (or customer) should have to handle your baby’s number-two.
Then there are the drivers who make it clear that their time is more important than yours. As we patiently await the light to change to green, they turn in front of us, long after their light has turned red. They know we won’t ram into them. To them, a red light is merely a suggestion. If you blow your horn, they seem very offended. After all, they have somewhere to be.
I’ve ranted on this one before, but it bears repeating. Some folks have told me they don’t use their headlights in rainy, foggy conditions because, “I can see just fine.” That is not the point. We would like to be able to see you, especially when we’re pulling out of an intersection. You will probably never get ticketed for this, but be nice. Allow us to see you in low visibility conditions.
Now go let’s go inside the store. Dude, if you think you want a carton of ice cream, and then change your mind twenty minutes later, it isn’t nice to leave the ice cream on the bread shelf. Your mama taught you better.
As a customer, I just want my items to be calculated and handled properly. I’m really not interested in overhearing a cashier’s phone conversation, or listening to a couple of employees complain about their schedules, or how late they stayed up last night. Be nice, y’all. Act like you appreciate the folks who spend money in your store.
I’ll blame this next one on the customer AND the cashier. Have you ever stood in line for say, ten minutes, because the store doesn’t have enough checkout lanes open? As you slowly work your way closer to the checkout, a new cashier opens another register, and yells, “This lane is open.” Immediately, the person who just arrived in the back of your line ten seconds ago dashes to the new lane. Dude, that isn’t nice. And to the cashier: Please announce that you’ll take “the next person in line,” and no one else.
(I recently approached a young man stocking the shelves. I needed help finding the Cheez Whiz, so I asked which aisle it was on. When he didn’t reply, I realized he was wearing earbuds, with the music cranked up loud. I could have tapped him on the shoulder, but that would have startled him. I shouldn’t be eating Cheez Whiz anyway, but a little customer service would have been nice.)
Finally, I can’t leave out cell phone etiquette. You know who you are, talking at full volume in the doctor’s waiting room. We know it’s important. You’re probably closing a major deal with Bill Gates. But please, step out in the hall. If your name is called, we’ll come get you. It is the nice thing to do.