Thursday, August 12, 2010
I'm reminded of what Joan Collins, writing in the Guardian, called "The awful pervasive disregard that we have for civility today." Calling Miss Manners! What's become of us?
We've all been on an airplane with that woman who began this brouhaha. You know her: she's the person for whom the rules don't apply. She's not just winging around on JetBlue either. She's cutting in front of you in grocery store lines and at customer service desks. She's the surly, disinterested service industry worker. Common courtesy is thin on the ground these days.
What sort of people are we that we'll allow the sort of disregard and rudeness that drove Mr. Slater to inflate the slide and leave? Yes: Why do we allow it. While Mr. Slater may have snapped and handled the confrontation in a less than professional way, he did what we all should do. Push back. If someone is inconsiderate or rude they need to be told. Like the fellow Facebooker last night who called me "stupid" and "brain damaged" when I wouldn't give in and agree with him.
Civility is at issue and we must put forth some effort to restore it. Perhaps not with the same pizazz shown by Mr. Slater but a simple statement of "please don't talk to me in that manner," or "please remember be respectful of other people," or "the rules apply to everyone." This would not be wrong, and I call all of you to join me. Further, the service industry would do well to not only allow but require their employees to softly remind their gentle customers to mind their manners. After all, if they'll do it to a clerk they'll do it to your other customers. Turnabout is fair play on this issue; customers have obligation to remind the people waiting on them to remember their manners as well.
Yes, Steven Slater broke the law. Numerous ones I'm sure. Yes, in the interest of an orderly society he must answer for them. But slap him on the wrist I say. Society had this coming.