Monday, October 16

The Fate Of Civilization As We Know It

I was getting some grief for not allowing comments on my blog. Apparently nobody noticed that I hadn't said anything. So what's the point of allowing comments, I ask you?

But now I have something to say; so, if I can figure out how, I will allow the comments and you can make one. Though chances are good I'll just ignore it. Just letting you know. One of my idols,

Jennifer Crusie , best-selling author and Queen of Snark extraordinare says that if you are not willing to allow dissent or criticism you should keep your opinions to yourself. Well she's an author so she said it much better than I can. But that's the gist of it. And she's right as usual so ...

But I digress. What I wanted to talk about is the fate of civilization as we know it. Because I'm really worried. I've noticed the problem before, many times in fact over a period of some years. But it really slammed home to me this past weekend.

It started when I was running errands and got hungry so I stopped into a local fast food chain. Its not crowded or especially busy so I step right up to the register and give the counter person my order ... 3 piece chicken strips, mild; side of beans and rice; small beverage. See I'm organized about it. I hate people who get right up to the counter and have no clue what they want so everyone else has to wait while they dither about their order.

And the counter person responds - "mild or spicy?" Hello? But I only pause a moment before saying "mild" and then remind them that I want beans & rice for my side dish. And he asks "do you want fries?" Now I'm getting a bit testy because I've already said, TWICE, that I want the beans and rice and I tell him so, in fact I'm a bit sharp about it. Then, no really, then he said, "it will be a few minutes for the spicy chicken." I'm not normally a sarcastic person (well okay I am but I can usually curb it) but I couldn't resist saying "thank you for that information but I ordered the mild so I don't really care." And he gives me this blank look and turns around to get my MILD chicken strips and my bowl of beans & rice. He gives me another odd look when I pull the bowl over and take the top off to make sure that it really is beans & rice. After all that wouldn't you have done the same? Surprise surprise, its actually what I ordered. And then he asks if I want a drink, but you know I saw that coming, I really did. I mean if he can't remember what I said 2 seconds ago he certainly wasn't going remember the 2 minutes previous to that.

And you are wondering to yourself why I am telling you this trivial story. Because my friends, it happened again the following day at another store. A bookstore I frequent that has a really nice coffee shop attached. I go there often and usually the service is excellent. I stepped up to the counter and told the kid at the register that I wanted a grande vanilla latte, in a mug, please; and a cinnamon scone too. Because once again I am organized and I don't dither. And he rings up a tall latte. Keep in mind that the previous day's experience is still fresh in my mind so there was a definite ring of impatience when I say "no, a grande vanilla late, in a mug" so of course he reached for a paper cup. And I remind him that I wanted that in a mug and a cinnamon scone, PLEASE. See I'm TRYING to be polite still. He does go to get the mug and hands it to the girl operating the coffee machine and then rings up my order ... and I pause because I know that's not enough so I raise my voice a little, but not yelling, and I say "AND I WANTED A CINNAMON SCONE PLEASE." And he says, I'm not making this up, "what kind of scone do you want?"

And the only thing preventing me from going over the counter for his throat is the knowledge that I really like this bookstore and don't want to be banned from its doors forever.

Here's the thing: in neither case do either of these two gentlemen apologize for repeatedly screwing up what are very simple orders. And in neither case did they ever bother to look me in the eye while taking my order.

Now I don't know if its the fault of the store managers for not instructing these guys on proper customer relations; the fault of the parents for not teaching them to look at someone when they are speaking; or if we are just raising a nation of apathetic people. Yes yes, I know its not ALL young people. I have family members younger than both these guys who are models of courtesy and responsibility. I know its wrong to make blanket statements like this, terribly un-PC. But here's the thing, folks; these two instances happened back to back and not for the first time. So I have to think that courtesy, respect, responsibility and so on are becoming the exceptions and I think we need to be very worried about it. These kids are our future, after all; the same rule applies to the human race as it does to the rest of the animal kingdom. Survival of the fittest.

I think we're doomed. Better get your order in now.

p.s. Somebody please tell the folks at Blogger that their spell checker doesn't like the word blog. Doesn't that just figure?