Whatever happened to Emily Post? Are good manners and civility dead?
Is it my imagination or are common forms of politeness, civility and right behavior becoming less and less prevalent. Has our rush to unfettered forms of instant gratification and the totally casual lifestyle simply overwhelmed what used to be accepted standards of behavior toward each other and our surroundings?
Pompous arrogance has no place anymore - if it ever did - in an American business or social millieu. Facebook and even LinkedIn have seen to that. Both social media sites have certainly encouraged a new form of social openess but they actually do try to exert some form of control over behavior while on the site. There are those who might wish for more control but ....
I was having a quiet dinner at the Bar at a Morton's Restaurant a few nights ago at RainCamp in Atlantic City. The post conference social at Mia was over. I needed some quiet time to reflect on the fascinating day, have a good meal and maybe enjoy a hockey game on the tube. All was right with the world. The steak was perfectly done, the wine was a delightful complement to the food, my team was winning!
Then came "the family" invasion. Pushing and shoving into the entry door, 4-letter words flowing, cracking wise and loudly for all to enjoy! Dressed to kill in cutoff shorts, sandals and flops, t-shirts, halter tops and even tank-tops (all despite outside temps in the low 40's) they demanded service NOW!
And much to my dismay they were obliged - largely through intimidation. It got little better once they were seated (I noticed none of the men offered to hold the chairs for the women). Other folks were forced to deal with it - those who had cared enough about the evening to dress with some class, even if casually; those who cared enough about their fellow diners not to be loudly intrusive; those who cared enough about the restaurant to respect the staff as well as the food and wine.
The evening was over. You could see it happening. Folks who might have lingered over dessert and perhaps a cognac quickly departed. The bar emptied out. Staff stood around nervously. A lousy end to an otherwise nice evening.
You might blame the staff or management for not "standing firm" over a code of dress or code of conduct. Having been in the restaurant business for many years, I know that is much easier to say than to actually do. Intimidation is easy if you have the brass b...s to carry it off. No, I can't blame the staff.
I am as egalitarian as anyone. But I do believe there is an obligation upon us all to be sensitive to and appreciative of the interests and rights of others. It is called civility, and I belive there is a Commandment about "doing unto others" that might be resurrected here."
To what end are we coming?
Sorry for the rant.