Forgive Me, But I Need To Complain

Simply teaching our kids to say please and thank you does not mean we are teaching them to be respectful and kind to others. We need to do better and expect more from one another.

I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.  If the smile I give a stranger isn’t returned, maybe it’s because that person is having a rough day.  If a fellow shopper pushes in front of me, perhaps she didn’t see me clearly standing in line. 

But let’s get serious.  People, too many of them, are rude, inconsiderate, needlessly unhappy and downright nasty. 

I’ve been thinking for some time about writing a column about all the complaining I hear from people about every topic under the sun.  And then, like a sign from the universe, a particularly nasty shopper at Bed, Bath and Beyond last week had the nerve to start up with me.  What’s going on here?  Sadly, inappropriate attitudes are nothing new.  In my opinion, Northbrook—generally celebrated as a “nice” community—needs to be concerned. 

Have you ever listened to the way people bark their orders at the deli counter?  Despicable.  I was flabbergasted a few months back when I witnessed a man being completely belligerent to a very kind barista for improperly preparing his quadruple venti latte. 

With our heads usually focused down at our phones and our brains thinking about all the things piling up on our to-do lists, common courtesy is too often forgotten.  What kind of example are we setting for our children?  Teaching our kids to say please and thank you does not mean we are teaching them to be respectful and kind to others.  We need to do better and expect more from one another.

We are blessed to live in a community like Northbrook.  That’s why I find it all the more troubling to hear unwarranted complaints about schools and teachers; I am deeply bothered by negativity and ashamed of our impolite Northbrook neighbors, even if they are the minority.

Perhaps we should all learn from the wisdom of the checker I had the pleasure of meeting over the summer. While I was unloading my packed shopping cart at check out, the woman behind me was muttering things to herself about my groceries and the amount of them. 

The clerk put it simply:

“Ma’am,” he said, kindly, “You are welcome to shop in Glenview.”


joy orlowsky September 28, 2011 at 12:34 AM
I was at the N.B. Dominicks the other night and had one bottle of creamer while the woman in front of me (who clearly noticed me) was unloading a mountain of stuff. She never offered to let me check out. I held up my creamer and another checker who was bagging immediately took me over to the self-check line and helped me get out of the store. I guess the N.B. workers are sometimes more polite than the residents.
Jennifer Fisher September 28, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Joy, thanks for your comment. I agree, Northbrook employees often go out of their way to help their customers. I've had some great experiences with people at Sunset Foods and the Starbucks on Cherry Lane.


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