Are Courtesy and Manners Dying in our Modern Society? Cranky Old Man Question of the Day – July 29, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON –  Courtesy.  I know; we all think we’re courteous, but are we really?   Is it a dying thing?  Do you ever hold the door open for someone?   Do you have let someone ahead of you in line or give up your seat?

Do you drive courteously?   Do you treat your co-workers or clients courteously?    Do you really know what the term means?



excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior.

a courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.

indulgence, consent, or acquiescence: a “colonel” bycourtesy rather than by right.
So I’m in a doctor’s waiting room yesterday; never a good thing as we were looking at a near two hour wait.  Small room, eight chairs plus a few outside.     One gentleman has his six year old son with him.   Now you never know why someone is at a doctor, but it’s usually not a joyous occasion.   It can be something banal, or you could be sitting next to someone dying of cancer.
The typical background music was on in the background and this gentleman pulls out a notebook computer and starts playing a kids movie for his son….loudly…which means if you were quietly reading a magazine it just became a lot harder.   If you were listening to those Christopher Cross magic hits of the 70’s in the background you couldn’t do any more brain damage as you were bombarded by screaming fish or penguins.
A few people went out into the hall to escape.   I went back to my magazine because I’m a very tolerant type of person; just ask our local Chamber of Commerce President and Executive director 🙂
But finally two gentlemen very politely asked the dad if he didn’t have headphones for Junior or if perhaps he could actually lower the volume as they all had long waits?
Dad was offended.   He suggested they explain this to his six year old son.
I hid in my magazine hoping that a scrap didn’t break out especially since I didn’t have ME2 my trusty camera to capture it.
Dad and jr were the next patient called and the two gentleman sat down and we chatted about courtesy.    Actually the six year old was the most polite of all those involved.     I sometimes think children are born with a full set of understandings that we in society manage to muck up before they hit retention centres, the wrong drugs, or really bad hip hop music.
But I digress…They felt put on the spot by the dad.  All they wanted was to just wait in peace for the doctor.    Of course the dad did too; and he was watching the movie with his son so a pair of head phones probably would’ve left him out of the movie.   And it was kinda considerate that he brought something to keep jr busy, but again.
Courtesy.  Could this have been handled better?  Absolutely.  Same in every day happenings in business, school and all around us.   You’re driving down a busy street; in a rush to get somewhere; with your turn flasher on.   An approaching car is in the distance, but like a good driver you wait when you could’ve safely turned because they didn’t signal that they were going to turn right so you could turn left.
The light turns red and you’re late for your appointment.  I know it’s not the end of the world, but these things add up.
You stop at the grocery store to pick up a jar of olives for Martini’s at your friends as it’s been a horrible day of people that are plain not courteous.  You go to the fast line only to be stuck with someone with 27 items in their basket in the 8 item lane who sill won’t let you and single jar of olives go through.
Courtesy and manners.    They could change the world one gesture at a time.    You can post your horror stories below.
Cornwall Free News


  1. Excellent question, Jamie.

    Sadly, the answer is yes. As the pace of life gets faster and faster, what time do we have for each other, let alone courtesy and manners? The atomizing effect of the internet doesn’t help–as we spend more time looking at a screen instead of one another: internetting instead of interacting.

    Solution: slow down, it’s better for your health and enjoyment of life.

    Solution to the doctor’s waiting room incident: A notice visible to all to the effect “This is a QUIET AREA–please respect the peace and needs of fellow patients.” Something to point to if someone–the Dad with the six-year-old in your example–disturbs the peace.

  2. Good article Jamie that’s why I like your web-site its always so interesting.
    My advice is to try and stay calm, sit back and relax, try and put things in perspective.
    Since being in politics I have gotten to know many good people. Life in general is going too fast.
    And what I have really noticed is that there are so many people with illnesses of some nature. There is an awful lot of cancer out there, and life just doesn’t seem fair. I guess what I am trying to say is Jamie don’t sweat the small stuff.

  3. Author

    Hi Tammy. I don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff. It was interesting observing it all. Hope you and the family have a lovely holiday weekend!

  4. You mean Mr. Thibodeau could have acted differently to the Air Canada staff when requesting a 7up?

  5. Hi Jamie, I find myself assuming far too often that people I meet are going to have a similar understanding of common courtesy – I am regularly disappointed.
    You may also like the conversations at which I launched last year as a direct response to these very concerns.

    Brisbane, Quuensland, Australia

  6. All yous lefty pinkos care more about courtesy than truth!
    Grow up!!! Get a life!!! What a bunch of losers!!!

  7. One wonders which loser really needs to grow up and get a life.

  8. Furtz – cares about truth? Amazing!

    For all you truth lovers:

    Joh 18:37 “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Joh 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?”.

    John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

    Joh 8:31 -32 ” Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.

  9. Can’t be serious all the time.
    Stan ain’t got no sense of humour.
    The preacher ain’t got no sense.

  10. Debate: courtesy & truth: mutually exclusive?

  11. Author

    Not at all Crimlawyer.

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