Do Manners Still Matter in Arizona?

Social norms have changed a lot over the years. My grandmother would lose her mind if I didn't send a thank you card for a gift she sent me. And there was a statute of limitations, too. The clock started ticking the moment she mailed the present out. You only had so much time to send out that note of gratitude before she got mad.

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These days, most of us don't expect an effusive handwritten note to arrive in the mail. A simple text that reads:

Thanks! I Love It!

Is usually enough acknowledgement.

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Has Arizona Lost Even Simple Manners

It seems a bit funny to get so upset about something like that now. Grandma's strict policy on manners seem to be part of a bygone age. Even still, I would imagine the generation that my Grandma raised would be better versed in simple social norms, but I think I am mistaken.

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My grandmother was part of the generation that made it through the Great Depression and World War II.

She raised Baby Boomers, but I think she and Grandpa must have overcorrected for the lack in their own childhoods, because a lot of Baby Boomer behavior seems like something we would expect from younger generations, Millennials or Gen-Z, perhaps. And we could forgive them, because they know not what they do.

Baby Boomers on the other hand? I would have expected better.

Can Baby Boomers Be This Rude?

Here are some of the things I've seen Baby Boomers do in public recently:

  • Cut in line and demand attention
  • Play a loud video on their phone in a restaurant
  • Treat people in customer service rudely
  • "Forget" to say a simple please or thank you

Case in Point

I was waiting to order at a fast-food counter last week. While I was deciding what I wanted, a woman in her late 60s or early 70s walked up, ignored me, and asked the 16-ish girl behind the counter if she could get some fresh fries, since hers seemed "old and gross", as she put it.

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The cashier looked at me, then back to the older woman, unsure of what to do. I hadn't started ordering yet, so I just nodded at the young lady, that it was okay to help this woman.

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The girl apologized then took the fries, and threw them in the trash. She told the woman they'd make a fresh batch, but it would take three minutes. The woman huffed, then said, "I need another burger, let me get the number two, but just the burger."

To Order or Not to Order, that is the Question

The poor cashier looked confused and worried. I just stepped back out of the way to let her know she could take care of this. There was no way I was going to make this teen's day worse by adding to her stress. We hadn't started my order yet, so she went ahead and took the woman's order.

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The girl keyed in the number two, just the sandwich. The woman paid for the order with her credit card, struggled with whether to tap, slide, or insert it. Then she remembered something: the sandwich needed to be made with extra ketchup and no pickles.

Small Changes

I thought the poor girl was going to faint, but she remained professional. She informed the kitchen of the change, grabbed the new French fries, and handed them to the woman.

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I finally got my change to order. The cashier kept giving me that, "I'm so sorry!" look, but I just smiled and told her not to worry, it was okay.

When the woman's sandwich arrived, she opened the box and scrutinized it in front of the cashier. There were pickles, but no ketchup on the sandwich. And. She. Was. Livid.

"I just knew this would be wrong," she screeched.

"Excuse me," I inserted. "Are you sure you want to send that back to the kitchen? After everything you just did, maybe you could be a little bit nicer?"

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She stared at me blankly, scowled and said, "Everything did?! Oh, wow. The service here is just awful!" I exchanged one more look with the cashier. We both tried not to scream or visibly roll our eyes.

Now, I'm sure the kitchen wouldn't do anything bad to her sandwich, but do you really want to be so rude to the people handling your food? I've seen this behavior so many times from this generation. I know your parents raised you better! Grandma would be appalled!

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