Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sugar or Vinegar?

So here's my pet peeve of the day: People who demand things rather than ask for them. Seriously, have we really totally eliminated "please" and "thank you" from our collective vocabularies?

At my first "real" job, my "receptionist" who doubled as a "file guy" was around my age. Fun to talk to, but we didn't socialize much outside the office. Asking him to do something would be kind of strange, just because I never liked -- and still don't like -- acting like I'm big boss man telling the guy without the law school education what to do. But from time to time I did it anyway, but I'd do it nicely: "Hey Tony... can you do me a favor? Could you make folders with these labels on them and then sort through the correspondence accordingly? Thanks."

Tony, on the other hand, liked to phrase things using a more imperative voice. If I needed to sign a document before it went out, he'd approach me with it saying, "I need you to sign this...." His tone of voice wasn't abrasive or anything, and he was polite as you can be, but it always somewhat irked me that he would phrase his request as "I need you to..." rather than the more polite, "Could you please...?"

Maybe I'm just being petty.

By the way, this also applies to situations where people get paid to take orders. I'm talking restaurants, fast food joints, etc. When I place an order at places like that, I like to say "Yes, could I have a #3 combo please?" And I definitely say "thank you" when the transaction is done. My peeve: When people place their orders by saying, "Yeah, I want a #3" or "I'll take a #3" or "Gimme a #3." That's annoying. Ask for what you want. Yes, I know you're paying for it, so politeness isn't going to score you much in terms of extra points, but it certainly would go a way toward making this world a nicer place, don't you think?

Yeah, I'm definitely being petty.

Thanks for listening.


Jon said...

Manners are certainly are going out the window these days. It's one of my pet peeves as well. If I go to Wendy's, I don't say 'May I have....' I usually say something like 'I'd like a ____, please', but i ALWAYS say please. My mama raised me right! ^_^

Steve said...

You just have good manners. It's all about how you were raised. Not long ago, I was doing an engineering job and got to know the general manager of this particular radio station, and after a couple of days of meetings with her, she asked me, 'we're your parents very strict with you?' I guess I had this weird look on my face and said, no, not really. There were boundaries, and consequences for... whatever, but no, they weren't overtly strict. I asked her why she had asked, and she said 'you are very polite.' HAHAHA! If she only knew. Really though, I was taught and raised to use good manners, and I'm a please and thank you kinda guy.

Matthew said...

I don't think you're being petty, at all. It's nice to see people actually being polite - especially in public. As a former retail clerk, I can confirm that how those clerks (or fast food people, or whomever) are treated - on a constant basis - is paramount to how they'll end up acting toward customers.

You're good people, Dennis.

Risa said...

I am always frustrated by people who forget to say please or thank you. I got into a big argument with my boyfriend and brothers because I wanted them to say please and thank you and they felt like saying thank you after the favor was performed was enough. I just feel like saying please makes it more of a favor and less of a demand. I had a co-worker once who wore a little lapel pin that said "Please" that she would point to when someone needed a reminder about their manners.

p.p. said...

Animals. Nuff said.

Me said...

I phrase things as, "can you" to my secretary. As in "can you call the court and find out X? Thanks." So I'm halfway polite; I *always* say thanks, but seldom say please, I guess.