Monday, May 6, 2013
Courtesy, Where did you go??
I have gotten quite a few phone calls requesting donations lately. It must be the season for charity is all I can think. There are some places that, although I do not have a lot of capital, I also know it would not hurt me to donate a few dollars. So I skip that latte this week or whatever the case may be. But I digress, When these companies call even if I don’t intend to donate I am always polite. The person on the other end of the line is just doing their job and trying to earn a living.
Late one afternoon, I had the fire department call doing their fundraising, asking for funding that allows them to go to schools and do other community outreach. I answered the phone the same way I always do, and he told me who he was and why he was calling. Then he asked, "how are you today?" out of common courtesy and I responded in kind, asking about his day. It turned out, I was the first person at the end of his long day that had taken the time to ask how his day was going and to be kind with him. I did not donate that day because he caught me at a bad moment (as somehow they always do) but I requested a call back so I could do so later.
How did we get to a point in this society where taking the time to extend common courtesy is so uncommon?
The week prior to this I had another call for donation collection. It was not a company I normally give to but that was not the problem. They called on a bad day at a bad moment and were anything but courteous. I had just found out about the fraud on my credit card maybe 30 minutes prior. I was polite as always but tried to tell the person I could not talk right now. This was one of the people/companies that does not extend courtesy and he kept at me over and over. "A donation of... would ..."
Do they really end up collecting money by being rude and pushy? I find this tactic angering when I’m having a good day. So when they tried this on a bad, I kind of gave the guy an ear-full. Something to the effect of … “Man my husband is deployed, someone just pulled fraud on my credit card… Stay on the phone with me for two more minutes and I'll be asking you for donations.” I would have to say my voice inflection made this statement even more meaningful. You could tell I was about to unleash a whole bunch of something not so good. The guy quickly hung up the phone.
How hard would it have been for that guy to take my initial answer and say, "I can tell I caught you at a bad time, I’ll try back later" or any number of other courteous things. These of course are not my only experience with this, but lately they seemed like great examples.
It does not take that much time or energy to ask someone how their day is going. Hold a door for them; you see a mother with kids and full hands, I bet the jester could make her day. Saying "Please" and "Thank you!" even to the waitress at the restaurant, she is just trying to do her job. "Would you like a refill?" "Why, yes please," or "No, thank you."
Please help me in my mission to bring Common Courtesy back from vacation! Next week maybe we will work on Common Sense! :)