Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Manner manners my kingdom for some manners. - Sorry Will.




My first job was at Coles, or maybe it was Woolies at Wynnum. It was the only supermarket in the place back then so that's where I worked.

I started in the Deli and on any Saturday morning I could be found with my arms up to my elbows in coleslaw, mixing in the mayo by hand and trying hard not to slop it all over the floor cos otherwise I would have to clean it up 'spit spot' before I could get onto the counter and sell the Devon or the Chicken Meat or in deed the coleslaw. That was the fun part of the job - interacting with the punters, being very polite and asking with actual intent, ' It's a bit over / under, is that OK?' Back in the day if someone wanted 200gms of bacon bones then that's what they got. It was all a matter of giving the customers what they wanted.

I admit that I had shortened my uniform to the length of a wide belt and if I moved sidewards at any pace, or god forbid bent over ever so slightly, the colour of my knickie noos was no longer a secret, but apart from that I did exactly what was expected. Please / Thank you so much / Yes Sir / Can I help you Madam. I didn't mind at all and I didn't have to work too hard to remember it or practice it. It was second nature, anything less would have had Nanna scowling and she didn't do that too often.

But sadly this is no longer.

And now I feel like a grumpy old woman.

Shit.

At the bakery today I went in to get Dog a treat cos we left her all alone yesterday and I felt a bit guilty.

Me : Morning. Could I please have a small cold pie for Dog? (They know me and so it is not a
         strange request.)
Girl: Stuffing a wee pie in a bag and throwing it on the counter, 1.60
(not 'That'll be a dollar sixty please', or 'A dollar sixty please' or even 'A dollar sixty' just 1.60.)

It was like saying an extra word or 2 was just too much to ask, too much trouble. Perhaps text speak has brought us to this point.

For almost 30 years I insisted on manner in my class room. Kids learnt quickly that manners drew a helpful smile and rudeness or a general lack of 'em more than a bit of a growl. I led by example and as it has always just been habit, today when there is so little civility, I can't help but notice it's absence, and mourn its loss.

I took Dog to the beach this afternoon so I could see the rough surf and she could play and together we could test out my knee. I know that Dog is meant to be on a lead and not anywhere near the flags...no but, I know this, so when I flaunted the rules I was waiting for the consequences.

As we walked close to the flagged area, where there was NOONE swimming cos of the dumpers and the huge jelly fish, the Life Saver came running at a pace. He did startle a little cos I had my hat wedged far down to save it getting carried off by the wind. When I looked up the hat flew off and he immediately chased after it, grabbed it and returned it to me. What a gentleman! Then he needed to do his job and tell me about the rules . He warned me that Dog not only was not allowed at all between the flags but she needed to be on a lead at all times and the Animal Control people would happily fine me if they saw her running free.

It was not possible to be cross with him. He was so pleasant. Bad news delivered well.

I am sure if this fella had a mind to work at a bakery he would manage more than  1.60.

So again I am banging on about manners. I rather doubt it will be the last time. I just cant help lament the loss of that which costs nothing and makes such a difference.