As a child I was taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate. When someone doesn’t say those words, to me at least, it stands out. It irks me to not hear those simple expressions, because their omission demonstrates a lack of respect.

For example, a common situation where a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’ is to be applauded is when buying your groceries.

Yes, the checkout operator is being paid to help you (though probably not a whole heap of cash), but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the respect you would afford anyone else. That person will most likely have been sat there for a good few hours, doing the most repetitive of tasks, and dealing with a whole gamut of different people and personalities. The least they deserve, as they scan your shopping, is a little polite ‘thank you’ when you’ve finished packing and paying. The same is true in reverse, I might add, that a checkout operator should be inclined to afford respect to the customer – not because they are a customer, or because they are paid to do so – no, because it is the right thing to do.

A little politeness goes a long way. It costs nothing, yet it is the WD40 of the day. A lubricant to keep the wheel of civility turning in the right direction.

Thank you for reading.