Three Courtesies that have Become Uncommon


Last week I experienced an unusual amount of poor customer service from various companies which led me to wonder if there is a common theme running through these industries. My personal belief is that attitudes are just different these days. Common courtesies are no longer common, and most companies haven’t begun training employees to use manners that were previously taught from childhood.

My experiences over the last few days ranged from a mistake from a car dealer that cost me a lot of time and money, to a cashier at a local store handing me change with a very bold obscenity tattooed on her writs. While her wrist was calling me names, her voice was asking me to call the corporate office with my impression of the store.

So what did all of these companies have in common? For me, the most noticeable lack was what used to be considered common courtesy, including the three listed below.

  1. The first thing missing was eye contact. Whether it was chewing gum while staring into space, or passively waiting on me to do the greeting, none of the people I dealt with made any effort to say hello or look up from what they were doing.
  2. Another problem I encountered with each problem was a missing smile. In the case I like to call Very Angry Pizza Man, the expected smile was replaced by an glare, which eventually gave way to a five minute long tirade about how busy the day had been.  (That was by far the most frightening experience I had, and it did end with an apologetic phone call from the general manager.)
  3. And last, but certainly not least, is the thank you. It’s so important to let customers know that you appreciate them for choosing you over your competition.

Have you noticed a decline in common courtesy? What do you think is the reason?