Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Kirby: Good manners never go out of style

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Good manners is nothing more than a series of petty sacrifices.

Ann Landers

We had some more elections across the nation last week and political pundits were quick to point out that things got ugly.

Well, what do you expect?

Being polite is a diminished virtue in our land of diminished expectations.

That is a shame, because I am here to tell you that good manners can get you through those times we all have when good sense takes a siesta.

Unfortunately, many of our codes of etiquette were developed long ago and are sometimes difficult to apply to modern life.

Well, if it’s a new ballgame then here are some new rules.

LONG LINES OF CARS: You’re poking along and it’s bumpers ahead as far as you can see. Then you come across someone who wants to get in line.

Let them.

It’s not going to slow you down more than three seconds to let that person out and into traffic. You’ll feel good about yourself and their faith in humanity is restored. Believe me, somehow, somewhere, some way that good deed will come back to help you.

On the other hand, if someone lets you get in front of them in a long line of traffic, don’t feel compelled to immediately reciprocate by letting out the first person you come across in a similar situation.

You still have an obligation to that motorist behind you to keep things moving. If he or she is still feeling generous, let them make the decision.

TRAFFIC CUTOFFS: If you’ve read this space for more than a few years, you know I think folks that cut you off in traffic need to be stopped, yanked out of their vehicles and horsewhipped. Such deserving retribution is frowned upon by the lenient American justice system, so, make patience your watchword.

Take down their license number. Save it. If there is any justice in the world, you might come across that car again in a grocery store parking lot when you suddenly lose your grip on a shopping cart … once or twice.

WRONG NUMBERS: someone calls and asks for “Mavis.” You don’t know anyone named Mavis, except maybe that substitute teacher in the sixth grade. You should politely tell the caller that he or she has the wrong number. Then, and this is important, tell them what your phone number is.

If you don’t, the odds are they will immediately call you back.

CHECKOUT LINES: If somebody gets behind you in a grocery checkout line and only has a package of potato chips and you have enough supplies to feed France, let them get in front of you.

If however, the situation is reversed and you have only one item and they have two cart loads ... and ... pretend like they don’t notice you and instead begin filling up the conveyer with their stuff, take a deep breath and be patient.

Better yet, be helpful.

Because they don’t seem very attentive, you can easily help fill out their order by adding a couple of overpriced items from the impulse rack. Tic-Tacs are good.

Quietly place them on the conveyer belt.

If there is an Augusta Chronicle rack nearby, why not slip a newspaper in there, too?

Everyone needs to stay informed.

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Sweet son
Sweet son 11/09/13 - 05:44 pm
Guess what Bill?

I am old school and comply with your suggestions all of the time. As far as cutting off goes there is no need to say let the grocery cart slip because I know you nor I would ever do it! If you write the license number down just throw it in the floorboard of your car and the next time you clean out your car just put it into the trash. :)

grinder48 11/10/13 - 06:16 am
Rude Advice

Letting cars pull into traffic lines is same as letting people break in line to buy tickets at a movie, football game, whatever. Reminds me of when I was a kid and people would let friends "cut" in the lunch line ... People think "I'm going to be nice" without realizing it's extremely rude to those who are already in line. I can't say how many times I've been in traffic and some knucklehead in front of me lets a car in, we approach the next traffic light, knucklehead and the car she let in make it through, I catch the red and have to stop. They're then gone merrily on their way, tooling on down the road, and a bazillion more cars get ahead of me because I had to stop. The right approach is that everyone just has to wait their turn and go when they can. That works fairly for everyone ... sometimes we all just have to wait for our turn. Come on people, being polite to some by being rude to others just doesn't cut it!

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