Am I getting old and cranky or is common courtesy no longer common?

I’ve been on the hunt for a new winter coat and winter boots for a while. Amazingly, I haven’t found anything in the stores yet. What’s going on? It’s the middle of November in Toronto. Winter is fast approaching. What are retailers waiting for?

A friend suggested that I try Nordstrom Rack. She’d seen a lot of down coats there. So off I trotted this past Sunday. She was right. There were tons of them, but styles were limited and frankly, they weren’t any warmer than what I have, so I passed. As for winter boots, I didn’t see even one pair, in any size. They’re still trying to get rid of summer shoes.

But that’s not the point of this blog post.

What really struck me was, what a hot mess the store was. Clothes were strewn everywhere, including all over the floor. What’s wrong with people? Is it so difficult to hang clothes up again and return them to where you found them? I wonder how many hours it takes for the staff to clean up once the store is closed. That’s just not right.

While it’s not excusable I know some would argue it’s because Nordstrom Rack is a discount store. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me. Courtesy, consideration and respect for the property of others have nothing to do with how much an item costs, or at least it shouldn’t. But for the record, I was at The Bay on Bloor Street about 10 days ago and encountered a similar scene — and The Bay is a regular department store.

The sad truth is, this isn’t confined to the retail environment. In my apartment building, there are a couple of carts available for those who have too many parcels to carry. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people take the time to return them. They either sit outside residents’ apartments waiting for the doormen to finally come and collect them or they’re shoved into an elevator, unaccompanied, for someone else to deal with. It drives me insane.

We also have a lovely entrance to our building. It’s set back from the street, we have a fair bit of lawn and gardens (a rarity downtown) and a circular drive so cars can pick up and drop off residents and guests. Despite signs saying “no pets allowed on the grass” and “no parking in driveway,” hardly a day goes by where you don’t see people brazenly disregarding them. In the summer the grass is covered with yellow polka dots from all the dogs peeing there.

Last Saturday I came home from grocery shopping and my taxi couldn’t even get near the driveway, let alone drive in. It was completely filled, from end to end, with parked cars and no drivers nearby (not an uncommon occurrence) — despite having guest parking at the back of the building. I had a lot of very heavy bags, which is why I was in a taxi. There were no carts and I had to schlep them, a few at a time, from where the taxi was forced to park on the street, into the lobby of the building. And then schlep them, a few at a time, up to my apartment.

Yes, I managed. But what if an ambulance or a fire truck couldn’t get near the front door? 


4 thoughts on “Am I getting old and cranky or is common courtesy no longer common?

  1. Sadly, Fransi, common courtesy seems to be in short supply these days. It’s a quaint notion that we rarely see modeled by leaders or people of prominence. Entitlement has overshadowed courtesy, I fear. That doesn’t mean those of us who still value it shouldn’t model it ‘til the cows come home. I like to believe that every once in a while we will recruit converts to the courtesy ranks (and refuse to believe that they are converting the courteous to their ranks!).

    • I totally agree Donna. Just because others — particularly leaders — choose incivility and bad manners over kindness and courtesy doesn’t mean we have to follow suit. It should be just the opposite, in fact.

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