Overheard snippets of conversation provide endless interest and points to ponder… for example, when I was on the bus home the other night, a conversation between two older women, and one younger, the daughter of one…
“’Ave yer got yer trimmin’s oop yet?”
“Nahhhh, don’t bovver now it’s just me. Fell aht wi’ mi ‘usband ‘baht two year agoo, ‘e used to come an’ see mi, but then we ‘ad a big bust up, so nah I don’ even see ‘im…”
(Why? Whatever did they fall out about? Why did he still see her?)
“Yeah, yer better off by yersen, can do what you want, wear what want, eat what you want…”
At this point the daughter broke in –
“Yeah, don’ wan no bleedin bloke tellin’ yer what to do, I ‘ave to do everythin’ by ‘is rules…”
(What? Just suggest a compromise…maybe he thinks he’s being helpful…)
“Yeah, mi daugh’er lives at the bottom o’mi road, ‘aven’t seen ‘er for months. Although she did text mi last week to see if I were all right…”
“Yeah, don’ wan’ no bleedin’ bloke or tree an’ it jus’ starts too early…”
At this point, I had to get off the bus, but a couple of things stayed with me… the fact that a lot of people seem to spend the festive season alone, perhaps through choice, and the second being that social media can be quite isolating, for all it brings the rest of the world closer…
The festive season also seems to bring bad temper bubbling to the surface… I was in a shop the other day, when an older lady, reasonably politely, asked the woman serving her the price of something else she’d seen in the shop. The cashier replied:
“How should I know? I’m only on the tills, love, not the shop floor. I can’t be expected to know prices…”
Reading those words back, they seem innocuous enough, but they were delivered in such an unmannerly way that the customer went bright red and left the shop without saying thank you for her purchases.
The cashier continued:
“Honestly, I get sick of people asking me stuff like that and I don’t know why she thought I would know…silly old cow…”
The customer returned – she had just been standing by the door but the cashier still argued… unfortunately then I had to leave. I sincerely hope the customer filed a complaint and at least got an apology. First rule of customer service – make sure they’ve actually GONE before you start bad-mouthing them…
I don’t know what it is, perhaps it does have something to do with the fact that Christmas does seem to begin earlier and earlier each year, but I don’t think that is any excuse for bad manners. Ever. Perhaps the cashier was stressed, or she’d had a bad day, but manners cost nothing, and how difficult would a simple “Sorry I couldn’t help” have been?
We all seem to have become de-sensitised to the true spirit of Christmas… not necessarily just the Christian celebration, but the fact that it is a time for friendship and sharing. Be that as it may, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy 40-something year old woman, manners cost nothing and are free – all year round!