When Did Taking Turns Go Out of Style?

“Could I help the next person in line?” the cashier yelled as she opened her checkout line.

I was the next person in line.

But before I had time to take my three small items off the conveyor belt, the two people behind me had scurried over to the new checkout line like rats running with a slice of pizza in a New York subway.

I had no opportunity to take my rightful place in the line of the new checkout.

Still, I stood there horrified. Compounded by the aggressiveness and determination with which the two people behind me jumped over, I wasn’t sure if I was witnessing a scene at a grocery store or a National Geographic special featuring lions closing in on their prey.

Back when I was a kid, that offence would have been worthy of a time-out and one or two weeks’ allowance. As well, it would have been compounded with a guilt trip started by a long glare with disappointed eyes and a suspiciously calm, “Didn’t I raise you better than that?”

I’ll never forget those times… wonderful childhood memories!

But also, important life lessons.

Yet, on a daily basis, the underlying “Me first, and screw everybody else” self-entitled attitude bewilders me. I see it on the roads, I see it in malls, I see it on vacation… I see it pretty much everywhere.

As Pollyanna as it may sound, for someone who was raised on a strict diet of politeness, courtesy, kindness and “think before you act”, it is very hard for me to reconcile how we got to this point of people living so deeply in their own world to the detriment of everyone else.

As human beings, are we inherently impatient?

Is it our time-starved culture that has everyone in such a rush, to the point of superseding common sense, perspective and good manners?

Where is the metaphoric angel on the shoulder, as a voice of reason and common decency?

I try to understand, but I really don’t get it. Obviously these are people in the bodies of mature grown-ups but reverting to the mentality and actions of spoiled brats.

Whenever someone jumps ahead of the line, I wonder to myself if they would do that to a loved one, an elder or a best friend. If they wouldn’t, then why treat a total stranger like that?

If someone really doesn’t care what others think, that is certainly their choice. If they get challenged on it and they respond “So what are you gonna do about it?” well, frankly, I wouldn’t do much about it (and risk a bloody nose).

But the bottom line is that respect is a two-way street. If someone doesn’t respect others, they shouldn’t expect it in return and complain when they don’t get it.

We are all human beings. Why don’t we treat each other with the dignity, respect, consideration and class that we each expect in return?

Whatever the cause or the reason, I wish that people would take the time to remember how our parents struggled to raise us well, and to make them proud that they did a great job in raising good people.

We were not in fact raised by wolves (no offense to wolves intended).

Kindness and courtesy may be hard to dispense when in a rush or under tight deadlines, but I beg people to try.

It won’t hurt. In fact, not only will they feel better but the gesture will avoid having someone’s middle finger pointed in their direction (but with the warmest and kindest of intentions, I’m sure!).

Why shouldn’t kindness and courtesy be the coolest fashion accessory for the next season?

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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,


Filed under 50+, Humour, Inspiring

3 responses to “When Did Taking Turns Go Out of Style?

  1. entitlement my friend entitlement

  2. This was a very good post. I’ve seen the same kinds of stuff happen where I live. I don’t understand it at all.

  3. Marcel

    Good post. I see this type of behavior all the time on our highways. It amazes me how drivers leave a 2 inch gap behind you in traffic so as not to let incoming traffic merge in – not sure what they hope to accomplish given that we’re all going about 20 kph during rush hour. I usually leave a huge gap in front of me. I figure, they have to merge in somewhere…why not let them do this safely? It would be nice to get a “thank you” wave every now and then – but they are rare. Oh well, like you say, it’s about how some of us were raised. I’m hoping that my good deeds brush off on other people. Keep up the courtesy and do your elders proud !

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