Every Sunday, as part of our camaraderie, my friends and I share a meal together at Buffalo Wild Wings. After being greeted by the hostess and seated, the ordering usually goes like this: Jay says, “I want 24 Asian Zing with two blue cheese and one ranch dressing.” He turns his head to Charlie, signaling that it is his turn to order. Charlie says, “12 mild boneless with two ranch.” Charlie turns to me and I order. “May I please have 12 boneless honey barbeque with two blue cheese? Thank you.” The waitress spurned my friends and looked directly into my eyes with a smile on her face and said, “you are welcome.”
My friends are known for their scurrilous behavior and I am known to rebuke them for their lack of manners. However, I believe that the simple words “please”, “thank you”, and “you are welcome” are words that are accommodating and provide societal accord, but are becoming words of the past.
People in my age group deride simple manners. This is illustrated every day in their behavior at the mall, restaurants and in school. As a child, my parents were adamant in their insistence that I always said, “please” and “thank you.” I acquiesced in order to be compliant and propitiate my parent’s willfulness. Willfulness that has given me direction and served me well. My parents have received many comments from other adults on the fact that I simply thanked them for a meal. Waitresses whisper in my parent’s ears, “your children are so polite.” I am a replica of my parent’s manners. I say please. I say thank you. My friends think that “please” and “thank you” are implicit in their mere existence. I believe they are simple common courtesy. Who would have known that just using these simple words of ones own volition could make even the most unpleasant situation into a tractable event?