Monday, June 10, 2013

Lack of common courtesy? Sounds more like entitlement to me!

One of my all-time favorite St. Louis Post Dispatch columnists, Joe Holleman, wrote about a topic yesterday that's been on my blog-list.  His column, Life Sherpa, was about common courtesy and how it's a topic that comes up often with his regular readers.

Holleman's article was a fun read, as always. It was about Kevin Williamson, a national TV commentator and editor for the National Review, and his run-in with a woman seated beside him in a New York theater who wouldn't get off her cell phone. 

Williamson wrote about the experience in May in the National Review which I encourage you to read here.  Williamson writes that when he asked the woman to turn off her phone, she suggested he mind his own business.  With that remark, Williamson writes, "So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage."

Holleman, always putting a humorous spin on his writing, loved that reaction stating "So good for Williamson.  People who show such little regard for their neighbors deserve the same amount of courtesy in return. And if I ever find out that he has been criminally charged, the "Free Kevin Williamson" movement in this space will begin."

Holleman is so witty which is why I enjoy reading his quirky columns, but what I'd like to add to this topic is that I'm suggesting that it's more than people showing a lack of common courtesy. I submit that we're becoming a nation of entitlement.

Think about these other "lack of common courtesy" or "entitlement" situations and tell me that you don't see them routinely.
  • You board an airplane and take a seat.  You watch as a person with a piece of luggage passes first class seating and enters the main cabin where she stops, opens the overhead bin at say, row 10, puts her baggage in the overhead bin and then proceeds to take her seat in row 27.  Then you watch as someone seated in row 10 looks above to find no room for his luggage so he proceeds to the back of the plane to find space in an overhead bin.
  • You're in a check out line at the  grocery story.  You are in line with your cart about two people away from being able to place your items on the belt.  When suddenly, the register next to your lane opens and and the people behind you b-line it to get in front of you over at the open register.
  • You're in a restaurant eating dinner with your spouse and there's a couple with their two young children at a table near by.  The two year old is just obviously having a bad day because he's been crying hysterically and screaming for at least five minutes, but mom and dad don't take him outside to allow him to settle down.  Nope, they just continue with their dinner as the child screams on.
And let's not forget the example that Williamson experienced - only I suspect that you experience people using their cell phones, as I do, in the movie theaters all the time.  I could really go on and on with examples, but the point is I feel that we're becoming a nation of people who feel they are special or "entitled."  For some reason more and more people feel they are "entitled" to special priileges and exempt from following the rules or common courtesy.

I truly feel that it's becoming an epidemic, and that's just sad.  And not that I'd ever condone Williamson's actions, but I have to admit that it put a huge smile on my face.  I secretly wished I had been there to see that woman's face because let's face it, I know I'm not alone in saying that I've thought about doing that a million times before. 

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