The Manners Manifesto

It’s a new year. Time to solve the problems of the world – and there are one or two – before it’s too late. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and it’s dawned on me that the only way we’re going to make the world a better place without having to plough through all that due process and red tape and so-called democracy is to start being better ourselves. And I’m not about to lay some guilt trip about carbon footprints or food miles on you. Those things are common sense. I actually think it’s time we adopted Derek Batey’s famous sign-off from Mr & Mrs:

 

Be nice to each other.

This is The Manners Manifesto. It’s time for a return to – or a formalisation of – good manners. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Smile. Not all the time. Not at everybody. They’ll lock you up. But smile at the person who sells you your ticket at the station. Smile at the person behind the counter at the newsagent, even if, like the man who sometimes serves me at mine, he’s a miserable, sour-faced sod. That’s no reason to spread the gloom. Look at yourself reflected in the train window, or the shopfront: your default face is one of tight-lipped, frown-headed anxiety. And with good reason. Now reconfigure it. Don’t show your teeth, this is England (or at least, it is where I’m standing) – but allow your lips to soften into a grin.
  2. Say please and thank you. I’d like a medium decaff soya latte, please. Even if you insist, for whatever arcane reason, on using the phrase, “Can I get?”, suffix it with the p-word. It feels good coming out of your mouth. Combined with a smile (see: 1), it actually takes the edge off the sheer ritualistic, mechanical joylessness of an everyday transaction. When a man or woman in a brightly-coloured kagoule offers you a free newspaper, the very existence of which makes your blood boil, remember that it’s not his or her fault – they’re just trying to earn an honest crust, like you – so smile and say, “No, thanks.” It takes a second. You don’t even have to stop walking. Likewise, if someone tries to give you a flyer, or a card, don’t take it as an affront. And if their technique is to hold their arm outstretched in front of you, which is oppressive form, why not say, “Excuse me” as you push past?
  3. Let that car in. Driving is a fucking nightmare, especially in the cities, and you want to get home, or to the shops. Of course you do. It’s only natural. But so does that person ahead of you, indicating that he/she wants to cross the lane that you’re in, to make a right turn. Why not flash them through? It’s one of those maddening high streets that starts at the traffic lights with two lanes then almost immediately bottlenecks into one because of a bus lane, or a parked lorry. Come on: one at a time. You can keep edging forward to keep them out, but they’ve got to come in at some point. Why not now? And if someone lets you in, give them a friendly wave in the rear-view mirror. If someone cuts you up, or crosses in front without indicating, or jumps a light at a box junction and blocks your path, for a change, why not pull back from mouthing the word “cunt” or “twat” at them, which won’t alleviate this temporary snarl-up; it will just make the atmosphere worse. Roll your eyes at them, or do an exaggerated tut, as if to say, “Cuh! The traffic, eh? We’re all in this together, and the sooner we get home, or to the shops, the better!” (To avoid being called a “cunt” or a “twat” yourself, don’t drive into box junctions on amber, and use your indicators.)
  4. Be friendly to strangers. We were brought up to be terrified of strangers, but we’re all strangers until someone introduces us, and only a very tiny percentage of the people you pass in the street will be paedophiles or murderers. Most will be just like you, except with a different coat on, or a different bone structure, or with a few more miles on the clock. So if someone asks you directions, don’t run away, or pretend that you’re in a hurry, try to help them. Make them feel less like a stranger. Sometimes, the stranger will be shy, and would rather stand around looking lost than risk the humiliation of asking someone directions. If you see this, intervene.
  5. Help old people off or on the bus. There’s an etiquette here, so let’s use our discretion. Not all old people consider themselves old, and might look frail and in need of a seat, or a leg-up, but if you barge in there, they get embarrassed. It’s a minefield, but better to be the first person on a bus or in a carriage to offer your seat to someone with grey hair than to sit there, not knowing, willing someone else to do it first. I have found that helping people off or on the bus or train gives you a lift (ironic!) for the rest of the day. And not just the elderly – people with pushchairs, or loads of bags, or the infirm. (Helping blind people without guide dogs is another tricky one, but again, try and judge the situation on its own merits. Blind people are not usually afraid to ask for help, in which case, give it, and don’t run away, thinking, ha ha, they can’t see me. I think we all know not to pat or fuss guide dogs, don’t we? They are irresistible and the most noble of all dogs, but we must resist the urge, as it puts them off their job.)
  6. Buy the Big Issue and give some change to the homeless. I have put this one because I never, ever buy the Big Issue. I smile and say no thanks to Big Issue sellers, which is better than looking at the floor, or regarding them with contempt for slowing down your walk to the bus stop with their untidy appearance, but they’d rather you didn’t do any that and did still buy a Big Issue. It’s easy to let cynicism get you off the hook, as you assure yourself that anyone who begs on the street is probably only going to spend it on strong drink or heroin – indeed, homeless charities and London Underground advise against giving change to beggars – but sometimes you have to take the situation as you see it, and trust your instinct. They’re not all millionaires. And they’re not all junkies. There are no hard and fast rules. I was approached on the beach at Bournemouth by a beggar who claimed he had lost the return half of his train ticket in the sand. He was obviously a liar. I still gave him some. As I say, no hard and fast rules. (I am so shallow I will give money to any homeless person with a dog. Sue me.)
  7. Be polite to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yes, I do object to people knocking on my door after dark, as I always think of the old lady I used to live next door to in Streatham, who would have been terrified of a knock after dark, even if it was from an accredited British Gas salesman hawking for her electricity business. I think it’s OK to pretend you’re not at home if the doorbell goes after dark. You’re doing it on behalf of the old people. But if you do answer the door and it’s a young lad with a case full of inferior cleaning products, or two smartly dressed men asking if you ever think about Jesus Christ (or at least getting to that key question after luring you into small talk about non-religious matters), just politely tell them that you are not interested or that you are busy and smile as you close the door. No matter how annoyed you are for being distubed, at least you can go back to the telly – they have to keep knocking at all the other doors, which must be shit. I am even polite to canvassing Labour politicians.
  8. Never swear at people on the other end of helplines. They are just doing their job. If they cannot help you, ask to speak to their supervisor. During my telecommunication problems last summer, I reached the point of no return and calmly informed the Scottish gentleman on the other end of the line that I was about to swear, but not at him, only through frustration, and that he should not take it personally. Then I swore. (“This is fucking ridiculous,” were my words.) I’m not proud, but I think this preface helped. Keep them in the loop. Stay calm, and if possible, stay PG certificate. There’s enough tension in the world of customer service without blaming it on someone with a job on the other end of a phone. It’s not his/her fault, it’s the system’s.
  9. Never, ever drop litter. This may seem to be outside the remit of manners, but it’s not. It’s about respecting the space we share. It’s an extension of smiling and being nice. I’ve seen grown adults eat the last crisp in a packet and literally let the packet drop from their hand to the pavement below, without even a look back. Putting a Starbucks cup neatly on the pavement is no better than chucking it, overarm. Put it in a bin. If the nearest bin is full, take it to the next one. That cellophane bit around the cigarette packet? Just because it’s see-through doesn’t mean it isn’t there when you drop it to the floor. I once saw a man get into an argument in Brixton because he, the owner or tenant of an office whose door opened out onto the pavement, was tearing off a poster that had been recently flyposted to his door, and letting the pieces flutter to the pavement. A nearby council street sweeper, with cart, remonstrated with him that he was making a mess that he’d have to pick up, but the poster man felt that he had the moral high ground because his door had been vandalised in the first place. How much better if he’d put the pieces in the cleaner’s cart. How much higher his moral ground would have been then.
  10. Leaving bags of stuff outside charity shops when they’re closed? Come on! The signs are clear enough. Just because you’re a superhero for giving an old jigsaw and some jumpers to charity it doesn’t mean you can just dump bin bags by night with a clear conscience. Yes, the old ladies who work in there are volunteers, but does that mean they can think of nothing nicer at the start of a working day than sorting through your rain-sodden rubbish before they can even get in the door? On the same ticket, if you’re recycling cans or bottles, don’t just tuck the empty plastic bag down the side of the bin because fuck it, if they want you to save the planet, they can chuck your sticky bag away as well.
  11. Talk to people at the check-out. You don’t have to say much. God, even something inane like, “Busy in here, today, isn’t it?” or “Not as busy as usual in here, today, is it?” might put us on the road to peace in the Middle East. Carrying on grumping around and spreading those grump vibes certainly isn’t going to help.
  12. Don’t swear when there are kids about. I do, occasionally, if I’m in a family-friendly eaterie, and it’s not nice. Reel those swear words in.

These are not impossible dreams, are they? It’s all about a state of mind. It’s remembering that you share the planet, which is a lot easier if you first remember that you share Waitrose and the high street and the train carriage and the motorway. The conversation I had with the man in the coffee shop this morning simply wouldn’t bear transcription it was so dull, but those few extra words made those few seconds just that little bit more human and bearable.

Is anyone with me on this? Or have I been on holiday for too long?

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150 thoughts on “The Manners Manifesto

  1. Firstly, Happy New Year. Can’t think of a better way of starting it. Completely agree with you on this and really do think that if people just put in that little bit of effort it does make a difference. No use complaining about how crap everything is if we change nothing and don’t try and set an example. In the words of The Specials, ‘It’s up to you ..’

  2. Firstly, Happy New Year. Can’t think of a better way of starting it. Completely agree with you on this and really do think that if people just put in that little bit of effort it does make a difference. No use complaining about how crap everything is if we change nothing and don’t try and set an example. In the words of The Specials, ‘It’s up to you ..’

  3. Well hello AC, Happy New Year to you. I agree with what you have written and do try to follow those guidelines myself and encourage them in others. The problem I have though is how annoying I find rudeness to be, so that I end up impatiently swearing at others for being ill-mannered. And saying things like “you bastard, why are you so fucking rude/ignorant/slow/selfish/untidy” etc, even to myself in the privacy of my own car proves I have a way to go here, however well intentioned I am. So perhaps you could add a guidance to be tolerant of others’ ‘provocative’ failure to be polite. Or for more patience to be employed by the obviously self righteous, like me.

  4. Well hello AC, Happy New Year to you. I agree with what you have written and do try to follow those guidelines myself and encourage them in others. The problem I have though is how annoying I find rudeness to be, so that I end up impatiently swearing at others for being ill-mannered. And saying things like “you bastard, why are you so fucking rude/ignorant/slow/selfish/untidy” etc, even to myself in the privacy of my own car proves I have a way to go here, however well intentioned I am. So perhaps you could add a guidance to be tolerant of others’ ‘provocative’ failure to be polite. Or for more patience to be employed by the obviously self righteous, like me.

  5. Yes. Of course. And it’s a shame that you feel any need to spell any of this stuff out. I too get a sort of twitch every time I see someone drop something onto the ground – I physically couldn’t do it. (Public spirited citizen that I am, I always challenge this, politely. You just pick up the item and hand it back to them saying “Excuse me, I think you dropped something.” You have to act as though it’s all been some terrible misunderstanding and most people will play along – although I did once get into a slightly charged confrontation with some yoof who insisted that dropping stuff in the street was virtually an employment scheme for road sweepers – if there was no rubbish then they’d all be out of a job…)The only one of your list I don’t so is buy the Big Issue. The thing is, I don’t want a Big Issue. It’s rubbish. And if the whole point of the Big Issue is that it’s “proper work” not just charity handout, then they really need to produce a better magazine, or maybe sell tasty chocolate bars or something.

  6. Yes. Of course. And it’s a shame that you feel any need to spell any of this stuff out. I too get a sort of twitch every time I see someone drop something onto the ground – I physically couldn’t do it. (Public spirited citizen that I am, I always challenge this, politely. You just pick up the item and hand it back to them saying “Excuse me, I think you dropped something.” You have to act as though it’s all been some terrible misunderstanding and most people will play along – although I did once get into a slightly charged confrontation with some yoof who insisted that dropping stuff in the street was virtually an employment scheme for road sweepers – if there was no rubbish then they’d all be out of a job…)The only one of your list I don’t so is buy the Big Issue. The thing is, I don’t want a Big Issue. It’s rubbish. And if the whole point of the Big Issue is that it’s “proper work” not just charity handout, then they really need to produce a better magazine, or maybe sell tasty chocolate bars or something.

  7. Seconded Andrew. As ever, you put it a thousand times more eloquently than I could. Especially with you on litter and swearing in front of kids, both traits that do not make a person Marlon Brando in The Wild One (as many seem to believe), but a prize tosser.Happy New Year!Jon

  8. Seconded Andrew. As ever, you put it a thousand times more eloquently than I could. Especially with you on litter and swearing in front of kids, both traits that do not make a person Marlon Brando in The Wild One (as many seem to believe), but a prize tosser.Happy New Year!Jon

  9. Yes, I’m all for it! I got a lovely warm glow simply by mouthing ‘Happy New Year!’ through the window at Jodie in the hairdressers on my way to work this morning. I generally give Big Issue sellers a quid ‘towards you buying another magazine to sell’, as I don’t read it apart from the marvellous theatre reviews. And I have always helped pensioners on the bus, even when they weigh 15 stone and fall on me, bringing me down – I helped said woman to bus stop, which made me smile and provided an hilarious anecdote for parties. As that Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world – and if an inveterate old moaner like me can do it, anyone can. Good luck with the campaign, Andrew!

  10. Yes, I’m all for it! I got a lovely warm glow simply by mouthing ‘Happy New Year!’ through the window at Jodie in the hairdressers on my way to work this morning. I generally give Big Issue sellers a quid ‘towards you buying another magazine to sell’, as I don’t read it apart from the marvellous theatre reviews. And I have always helped pensioners on the bus, even when they weigh 15 stone and fall on me, bringing me down – I helped said woman to bus stop, which made me smile and provided an hilarious anecdote for parties. As that Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world – and if an inveterate old moaner like me can do it, anyone can. Good luck with the campaign, Andrew!

  11. It’s gonna be tough though but let’s give it a go. Let’s make 2008 the year of humanity!!! You could get a Nobel Peace prize out of this Andrew….AnonnoNick

  12. It’s gonna be tough though but let’s give it a go. Let’s make 2008 the year of humanity!!! You could get a Nobel Peace prize out of this Andrew….AnonnoNick

  13. The proper disposal of dog muck by the dog’s owner should be part of this manifesto in my opinion. Due to people making claims for tripping over broken pavement slabs, the council has replaced our pavement with tarmac. This combined with dark early evenings and inadequate lighting means that dog muck is nigh on impossible to spot until you step on it.

  14. The proper disposal of dog muck by the dog’s owner should be part of this manifesto in my opinion. Due to people making claims for tripping over broken pavement slabs, the council has replaced our pavement with tarmac. This combined with dark early evenings and inadequate lighting means that dog muck is nigh on impossible to spot until you step on it.

  15. How about ‘Think twice before putting alarming pictures at the top of your blog, because people of a nervous disposition might see them and then there would be trouble’? Honestly, that one today made me jump!Anyway, agree with pretty much all of this, it would be hard not to. Things rub along so much more smoothly when people try to have consideration for others, whether that means not chucking a burger wrapper in the gutter or making eye-contact when the cashier in the supermarket says Hello.

  16. How about ‘Think twice before putting alarming pictures at the top of your blog, because people of a nervous disposition might see them and then there would be trouble’? Honestly, that one today made me jump!Anyway, agree with pretty much all of this, it would be hard not to. Things rub along so much more smoothly when people try to have consideration for others, whether that means not chucking a burger wrapper in the gutter or making eye-contact when the cashier in the supermarket says Hello.

  17. Another one could be ‘if you pick something up in a shop, but decide against buying it before you get to the checkout – put it back where you got it from.’ However, after having worked in Boots shelf stacking about a decade ago from 7 to 10 every morning, that last hour when the shop opened its doors used to drag along so slowly that looking around for misplaced items was a great way (the only way) to make the time fly by, and into the bargain it made you look as if you were extremely busy.

  18. Another one could be ‘if you pick something up in a shop, but decide against buying it before you get to the checkout – put it back where you got it from.’ However, after having worked in Boots shelf stacking about a decade ago from 7 to 10 every morning, that last hour when the shop opened its doors used to drag along so slowly that looking around for misplaced items was a great way (the only way) to make the time fly by, and into the bargain it made you look as if you were extremely busy.

  19. Yes, have to agree, and would also add not chewing gum, yuck, a disgusting habit at the best of times but then dropping it to form those little white dots all over the pavement. The amount of times I’ve had to stop my littlest one from picking up balls of it from the train floor. Yuck, yuck, yuck.Courtesy costs nothing and manners maketh the man.

  20. Yes, have to agree, and would also add not chewing gum, yuck, a disgusting habit at the best of times but then dropping it to form those little white dots all over the pavement. The amount of times I’ve had to stop my littlest one from picking up balls of it from the train floor. Yuck, yuck, yuck.Courtesy costs nothing and manners maketh the man.

  21. I’m tempted to copy your manifesto and use it as a template for the coming year.A good, positive start to 2008. Have a happy and healthy year. All of you.

  22. I’m tempted to copy your manifesto and use it as a template for the coming year.A good, positive start to 2008. Have a happy and healthy year. All of you.

  23. Could public swearing be added to the list? I’m all for well placed ‘effing and jeffing’ ..but swearing in certain public places -parks, beaches, high streets,trains, shops – areas typically where there’ll be children is a real ‘shoulder cringer’ for me. If you are swearer (this includes me too, but not round kids) try and hold back -it adds much more wallop to those moments when you really do need to let rip with a crunchy verbal punch.

  24. Could public swearing be added to the list? I’m all for well placed ‘effing and jeffing’ ..but swearing in certain public places -parks, beaches, high streets,trains, shops – areas typically where there’ll be children is a real ‘shoulder cringer’ for me. If you are swearer (this includes me too, but not round kids) try and hold back -it adds much more wallop to those moments when you really do need to let rip with a crunchy verbal punch.

  25. Happy New Year everyone,I whole-heartedly agree with your manifesto and it’s something I try to stick to myself. It is made easier though, by living in a small town in Shropshire and before that another small town in North Wales. This stuff is just the norm, although there are probably the odd unpleasant exceptions. I don’t know the names of all the shop keepers but we always greet eachother warmly and I appreciate the fact that I live and work on the edge of beautiful countryside – dropping litter in town looks as horrible here as it does in the hills and forests. Unfortunately some tourists seem to arrive with no care for the place they visit – I don’t think I’m just using them as a scapegoat, there are a great number of stupid tourists in this country who just travel to places for a jolly – to get drunk, eat fast food and leave a mess. And verbal good manners are totally absent. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “we don’t need their money, why can’t they stay at home?” And then it’s a shock to the system when visiting cities for me. The rudeness starts from the railway employee who is probably having a bad day but seems to not notice my smiles and thankyous and instead sees some affront. Then the rushing commuters and averted eyes. After a cross-country journey I am completely ground down and the first hint of kindness from anyone is like an oasis. Ps Big Issue in Wales is rubbish (and too Cardiff-centric) and that’s the only reason I don’t buy it, unlike the Big Issue in the North in the past.

  26. Happy New Year everyone,I whole-heartedly agree with your manifesto and it’s something I try to stick to myself. It is made easier though, by living in a small town in Shropshire and before that another small town in North Wales. This stuff is just the norm, although there are probably the odd unpleasant exceptions. I don’t know the names of all the shop keepers but we always greet eachother warmly and I appreciate the fact that I live and work on the edge of beautiful countryside – dropping litter in town looks as horrible here as it does in the hills and forests. Unfortunately some tourists seem to arrive with no care for the place they visit – I don’t think I’m just using them as a scapegoat, there are a great number of stupid tourists in this country who just travel to places for a jolly – to get drunk, eat fast food and leave a mess. And verbal good manners are totally absent. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “we don’t need their money, why can’t they stay at home?” And then it’s a shock to the system when visiting cities for me. The rudeness starts from the railway employee who is probably having a bad day but seems to not notice my smiles and thankyous and instead sees some affront. Then the rushing commuters and averted eyes. After a cross-country journey I am completely ground down and the first hint of kindness from anyone is like an oasis. Ps Big Issue in Wales is rubbish (and too Cardiff-centric) and that’s the only reason I don’t buy it, unlike the Big Issue in the North in the past.

  27. Hear, hear sir.Re: helping blind people; my few blind acquaintances over the years have told me that it’s bad form for the “helper” to grab the “helpee”‘s arm/other body part and guide them across the road, around the shop, wherever, as I used to do. Instead, one should ofer one’s own arm for the blind person to take hold of. At least that’s I’m told.

  28. Hear, hear sir.Re: helping blind people; my few blind acquaintances over the years have told me that it’s bad form for the “helper” to grab the “helpee”‘s arm/other body part and guide them across the road, around the shop, wherever, as I used to do. Instead, one should ofer one’s own arm for the blind person to take hold of. At least that’s I’m told.

  29. Hello everyone, long time reader, first time poster. I’m with you all the way on these points, it’s a shame that these aren’t the default settings for humans. Working for a big music retailer, I’ve had my fair share of awful people to deal with, but try to be polite to everyone. Last week I was called a “stroppy fucker” because I pointed out to a bloke who had been waiting to return a CD that we weren’t HMV. There’s a new rule for you; if you feel a bit foolish about something you’ve done, don’t take it out on someone else.My only niggle is about speaking to Jehovah’s Witnesses. My girlfriend used to be one, and after hearing about them I wouldn’t give them the time of day. Well, I probably would give them the time, but that’s it.

  30. Hello everyone, long time reader, first time poster. I’m with you all the way on these points, it’s a shame that these aren’t the default settings for humans. Working for a big music retailer, I’ve had my fair share of awful people to deal with, but try to be polite to everyone. Last week I was called a “stroppy fucker” because I pointed out to a bloke who had been waiting to return a CD that we weren’t HMV. There’s a new rule for you; if you feel a bit foolish about something you’ve done, don’t take it out on someone else.My only niggle is about speaking to Jehovah’s Witnesses. My girlfriend used to be one, and after hearing about them I wouldn’t give them the time of day. Well, I probably would give them the time, but that’s it.

  31. Love the list. Like to think I adhere to most of them by default but probably don’t all the time. Why do motorists ever indicate anymore? God that winds me up.Just wanted to use this topic to address a tired out cliché. The one about people in the North being friendlier than in the South. Absolute nonsense perpetuated by professional Northerners (I should know; I am one). Spent quite a bit of time in London in recent years and fondly remember a family trip to Canary Wharf (I know. We know how to live eh?). Standing, looking only vaguely lost, in one of The Malls we were approached by two rather well spoken ‘suits’ at different intervals, who asked us if we needed directions. And no, we didn’t get the feeling they were just checking we hadn’t come to mug passers by or shoplift; they couldn’t have been friendlier.Same on the Tube I find. Yes the notorious no talking and no eye contact does prevail but people are busy and there isn’t time to engage. However, if you do need to break the silence for any reason I usually find people are impeccably mannered. I don’t normally go in for sweeping generalisations but Greater Manchester doesn’t seem anywhere near as friendly or well mannered.I might move.

  32. Love the list. Like to think I adhere to most of them by default but probably don’t all the time. Why do motorists ever indicate anymore? God that winds me up.Just wanted to use this topic to address a tired out cliché. The one about people in the North being friendlier than in the South. Absolute nonsense perpetuated by professional Northerners (I should know; I am one). Spent quite a bit of time in London in recent years and fondly remember a family trip to Canary Wharf (I know. We know how to live eh?). Standing, looking only vaguely lost, in one of The Malls we were approached by two rather well spoken ‘suits’ at different intervals, who asked us if we needed directions. And no, we didn’t get the feeling they were just checking we hadn’t come to mug passers by or shoplift; they couldn’t have been friendlier.Same on the Tube I find. Yes the notorious no talking and no eye contact does prevail but people are busy and there isn’t time to engage. However, if you do need to break the silence for any reason I usually find people are impeccably mannered. I don’t normally go in for sweeping generalisations but Greater Manchester doesn’t seem anywhere near as friendly or well mannered.I might move.

  33. Quite so. As everyone else has said, what a great manifesto for the year. I hope we all manage to spread a little happiness by trying to be nice to each other. Happy New Year.

  34. Quite so. As everyone else has said, what a great manifesto for the year. I hope we all manage to spread a little happiness by trying to be nice to each other. Happy New Year.

  35. Your Manners Manifesto is a great idea Andrew … most of these are things I try to follow and I will now make an extra effort. And it reminded me after the Christmas/New Year break how much I enjoy reading your blog! Happy New Year!

  36. Your Manners Manifesto is a great idea Andrew … most of these are things I try to follow and I will now make an extra effort. And it reminded me after the Christmas/New Year break how much I enjoy reading your blog! Happy New Year!

  37. Having been thinking about this while cooking and eating tea and putting the little one to bed, it has occurred to be that Big Business practice is somewhat to blame for the decline in courtesy. When I was working in retail we were actively encouarged in our training to ignore polite customers while we pandered to the whims of rude and loud ones. It was, of course, in order to avoid the bad publicity the loud ones would bring while making a scene, but it always struck me as unfair that the ones who were most horrible got what they wanted and the more polite ones were fobbed off. I always tried, sneakily, to be nicer to the more polite ones. After all, it is possible to complain without being rude or offensive.Sorry, I’m rambling now…

  38. Having been thinking about this while cooking and eating tea and putting the little one to bed, it has occurred to be that Big Business practice is somewhat to blame for the decline in courtesy. When I was working in retail we were actively encouarged in our training to ignore polite customers while we pandered to the whims of rude and loud ones. It was, of course, in order to avoid the bad publicity the loud ones would bring while making a scene, but it always struck me as unfair that the ones who were most horrible got what they wanted and the more polite ones were fobbed off. I always tried, sneakily, to be nicer to the more polite ones. After all, it is possible to complain without being rude or offensive.Sorry, I’m rambling now…

  39. Happy New Year, Andrew.Count me in. The absence of a simple please or thank you can ruin my mood for the day, and don’t get me started on littering – I don’t understand how some people can be so self-absorbed that they don’t seem to realise they share this planet.

  40. Happy New Year, Andrew.Count me in. The absence of a simple please or thank you can ruin my mood for the day, and don’t get me started on littering – I don’t understand how some people can be so self-absorbed that they don’t seem to realise they share this planet.

  41. Despite her now being a lunatic schizophrenic who collects dead birds and doesn’t know where her money comes from, my mother at least did one good thing when I was younger and that was to teach me good manners. The result is that I already try to do as much of your manifesto as I can. It was easier when I lived in Brighton, but since moving to London I’ve found it much more difficult, especially the “I think you’ve dropped something” for rubbish-droppers. I am much more mindful of getting a knife in the face or a swift toe-cap to the bollocks in good old London town and as such am less inclinded to live by all of your manifesto, which is a shame. Perhaps we need some regional caveats?Of course, it is indeed a shame that you even need to think about writing this manifesto. We shouldn’t even need to be told.

  42. Despite her now being a lunatic schizophrenic who collects dead birds and doesn’t know where her money comes from, my mother at least did one good thing when I was younger and that was to teach me good manners. The result is that I already try to do as much of your manifesto as I can. It was easier when I lived in Brighton, but since moving to London I’ve found it much more difficult, especially the “I think you’ve dropped something” for rubbish-droppers. I am much more mindful of getting a knife in the face or a swift toe-cap to the bollocks in good old London town and as such am less inclinded to live by all of your manifesto, which is a shame. Perhaps we need some regional caveats?Of course, it is indeed a shame that you even need to think about writing this manifesto. We shouldn’t even need to be told.

  43. Andrew,Happy New Year, fella.As for The Manners Manifesto… It looks good in theory, but put into practice it’ll start to get you down.I smile and grin, say please and thank you and wish people a good day/morning/afternoon/evening and, once it gets to Friday, a good weekend.I open doors, let women and the elderly onto buses and train/tube carriages ahead of me.I don’t buy The Big Issue but always give money to homeless people when I can. If I don’t have change I apologise but tell them to take care. When I smoked, I gave them cigarettes. Most of all I acknowledged their existence rather than ignore them. I chat to supermarket and shop staff, but not enough to stop them doing their work.All the above, perhaps not so much when I’m in a real rush.But when I’m feeling a bit down over things – usually three days out of five at the moment – I make sure I’m nice to people and polite. Probably – perhaps selfishly – because I hope someone in this miserable concrete mess will smile back.And I hope…

  44. Andrew,Happy New Year, fella.As for The Manners Manifesto… It looks good in theory, but put into practice it’ll start to get you down.I smile and grin, say please and thank you and wish people a good day/morning/afternoon/evening and, once it gets to Friday, a good weekend.I open doors, let women and the elderly onto buses and train/tube carriages ahead of me.I don’t buy The Big Issue but always give money to homeless people when I can. If I don’t have change I apologise but tell them to take care. When I smoked, I gave them cigarettes. Most of all I acknowledged their existence rather than ignore them. I chat to supermarket and shop staff, but not enough to stop them doing their work.All the above, perhaps not so much when I’m in a real rush.But when I’m feeling a bit down over things – usually three days out of five at the moment – I make sure I’m nice to people and polite. Probably – perhaps selfishly – because I hope someone in this miserable concrete mess will smile back.And I hope…

  45. How odd to read this just as I was blogging about the lack of manners involving people on their mobile phones while being served in shops and driving in their cars (which is also pretty damn dangerous as well as stoopid and rude).I think your rules should be law!

  46. How odd to read this just as I was blogging about the lack of manners involving people on their mobile phones while being served in shops and driving in their cars (which is also pretty damn dangerous as well as stoopid and rude).I think your rules should be law!

  47. Judging by the comments above I think you’re preaching to the converted. You can count me in. Am I allowed to clip people around the ear for NOT following the Manifesto? No? Just thought I’d ask…Happy New Year.

  48. Judging by the comments above I think you’re preaching to the converted. You can count me in. Am I allowed to clip people around the ear for NOT following the Manifesto? No? Just thought I’d ask…Happy New Year.

  49. I’ve never left anything outside a charity shop and I feel obliged to point out that this is not a one-way street. Charities regularly put collection bags through my front door even though there’s a pile of about 20 such bags, all unused, on my doorstep. Each of those bags says on it that the charity will collect it whether it’s used or not. Lying do-gooding blighters. One bloke even picked up all the bags (neatly sorted into piles from each charity), put them in my bin, then put one of his bags through the door. Ignorant tinker.I’m also not sure about talking to people on the check-out. One assistant in the Co-op is very chatty. I can’t buy tonic water there when he’s serving because I know he’ll start talking about gin and I know nothing about gin – I just like tonic water. I find his attempts to cajole me into conversation presumptuous and annoying. And if that annoys me then imagine what it must be like having to return polite conversation to a whole succession of over-chatty coves when you’re paid jot all and you’ve no escape until your shift’s finished.Loved the last sentence of point 2.

  50. I’ve never left anything outside a charity shop and I feel obliged to point out that this is not a one-way street. Charities regularly put collection bags through my front door even though there’s a pile of about 20 such bags, all unused, on my doorstep. Each of those bags says on it that the charity will collect it whether it’s used or not. Lying do-gooding blighters. One bloke even picked up all the bags (neatly sorted into piles from each charity), put them in my bin, then put one of his bags through the door. Ignorant tinker.I’m also not sure about talking to people on the check-out. One assistant in the Co-op is very chatty. I can’t buy tonic water there when he’s serving because I know he’ll start talking about gin and I know nothing about gin – I just like tonic water. I find his attempts to cajole me into conversation presumptuous and annoying. And if that annoys me then imagine what it must be like having to return polite conversation to a whole succession of over-chatty coves when you’re paid jot all and you’ve no escape until your shift’s finished.Loved the last sentence of point 2.

  51. Happy New Year Andrew.I agree with the manifesto and like to think that’s how I’ve been (mostly…) living. I’ll have to do a bit more work on the old traffic bit but it’s not like we’re talking about brain surgery eh ?Reminds me of 2 expressions:’Easier to catch a fly with honey’ ‘the bluebottle that buzzes loudest gets squashed first’

  52. Happy New Year Andrew.I agree with the manifesto and like to think that’s how I’ve been (mostly…) living. I’ll have to do a bit more work on the old traffic bit but it’s not like we’re talking about brain surgery eh ?Reminds me of 2 expressions:’Easier to catch a fly with honey’ ‘the bluebottle that buzzes loudest gets squashed first’

  53. Can I just add a few lines to your thoughts ?If you’re talking to someone who is trying to help you in a shop, bank, Post Office etc.a) take your MP3 player earphones out andb) if your phone rings , answer it and say “I’m in the middle of something at the moment, can you ring me back in five minutes please”few things irritate me more than seeing someone attempting to give “great customer service” only to be met by a dumb pantomime from a customer who’s too absorbed int heir own world of music or busy explaining where they are and how they’ll be with the caller in five minutes.Thank you.

  54. Can I just add a few lines to your thoughts ?If you’re talking to someone who is trying to help you in a shop, bank, Post Office etc.a) take your MP3 player earphones out andb) if your phone rings , answer it and say “I’m in the middle of something at the moment, can you ring me back in five minutes please”few things irritate me more than seeing someone attempting to give “great customer service” only to be met by a dumb pantomime from a customer who’s too absorbed int heir own world of music or busy explaining where they are and how they’ll be with the caller in five minutes.Thank you.

  55. I’m with you Andrew, these are rules which shouldn’t even need to be written down and suggested, but well done on highlighting them anyway. Common courtesy seems to have been abandoned in the 21st century, so any campaign to reintroduce it, is a good thing in my books. Happy New Year Andrew!

  56. I’m with you Andrew, these are rules which shouldn’t even need to be written down and suggested, but well done on highlighting them anyway. Common courtesy seems to have been abandoned in the 21st century, so any campaign to reintroduce it, is a good thing in my books. Happy New Year Andrew!

  57. Happy New Year Mr C,Your manifesto is how I bumble through life anyway.(well perhaps not the jehovahs witness bit, I usually go to the front door and shout to them that I’m out without opening the door) martynGnawfowlt

  58. Happy New Year Mr C,Your manifesto is how I bumble through life anyway.(well perhaps not the jehovahs witness bit, I usually go to the front door and shout to them that I’m out without opening the door) martynGnawfowlt

  59. Like most of the people who have commented before, I couldn’t agree more, although it’s something I have tried to follow for a long time. I treat people as I wish to be treated. Having said that if you piss me off you’ll soon know all about it. Manners maketh the man (and woman).I would however disagree with the Big Issue bit. I had a big problem with someone at the Big Issue a few years ago and I stopped buying it immediately. I don’t forgive easily. (For Big Issue, also read Amtrak, Scotrail and the couple at number 8).Happy New YearPaulP.S. As a new car driver (three months and counting) I am trying to keep using all the good habits my long suffering driving instructor drummed into me. Don’t get me started on non-indicators, red light jumpers and boy/girlracers.

  60. Like most of the people who have commented before, I couldn’t agree more, although it’s something I have tried to follow for a long time. I treat people as I wish to be treated. Having said that if you piss me off you’ll soon know all about it. Manners maketh the man (and woman).I would however disagree with the Big Issue bit. I had a big problem with someone at the Big Issue a few years ago and I stopped buying it immediately. I don’t forgive easily. (For Big Issue, also read Amtrak, Scotrail and the couple at number 8).Happy New YearPaulP.S. As a new car driver (three months and counting) I am trying to keep using all the good habits my long suffering driving instructor drummed into me. Don’t get me started on non-indicators, red light jumpers and boy/girlracers.

  61. Was with you all the way, Andrew, right until you said “talk to people at the checkout”. Having been a checkout boy in my dim and distant youth, there was only one thing worse than eight hours of the demeaning, soul-destroying, repetitive beeping of tins of baked beans as they passed through the till. And that was eight hours of demeaning, soul-destroying, repetitive beeping interrupted every three minutes by some well-meaning customer asking me how my day was.Manners are a minefield, and I think it bad manners these days to subject checkout staff to my bonhomie when really they probably feel like strangling me. Just say no, kids.

  62. Was with you all the way, Andrew, right until you said “talk to people at the checkout”. Having been a checkout boy in my dim and distant youth, there was only one thing worse than eight hours of the demeaning, soul-destroying, repetitive beeping of tins of baked beans as they passed through the till. And that was eight hours of demeaning, soul-destroying, repetitive beeping interrupted every three minutes by some well-meaning customer asking me how my day was.Manners are a minefield, and I think it bad manners these days to subject checkout staff to my bonhomie when really they probably feel like strangling me. Just say no, kids.

  63. Andrew, you’re just completely right, here. And good on yer for trying to promote this way of looking at the world. Cynicism is so very easy, but being nice to people isn’t really *that* much harder, is it? A very Happy New Year to you.

  64. Andrew, you’re just completely right, here. And good on yer for trying to promote this way of looking at the world. Cynicism is so very easy, but being nice to people isn’t really *that* much harder, is it? A very Happy New Year to you.

  65. Yeah Hi Leif. Not sure AC wants his blog become a chat room but, in keeping with the theme of this topic, it would be rude not to acknowledge your ‘hi’. Only trouble is I’m not sure who you are. Were you once Tonk?

  66. Yeah Hi Leif. Not sure AC wants his blog become a chat room but, in keeping with the theme of this topic, it would be rude not to acknowledge your ‘hi’. Only trouble is I’m not sure who you are. Were you once Tonk?

  67. Hi AndrewI do like the idea of everyone being polite to each other and trying to be happy.But I do think sometimes that being rude is justified. If for example you have exceptionally poor service from a customer services representative you should make it clear to them.

  68. Hi AndrewI do like the idea of everyone being polite to each other and trying to be happy.But I do think sometimes that being rude is justified. If for example you have exceptionally poor service from a customer services representative you should make it clear to them.

  69. Happy New Year, Andrew, and to all your readers!I agree with everything you have said. I have been waging my own “please” and “thank you” campaign, particularly on the trains and tubes. It is always a delight to see the default grumpy, pissed off look change to slightly surprised and then pleased at having been acknowledged.As my dear old Mum used to say, “Good manners cost you nothing”.

  70. Happy New Year, Andrew, and to all your readers!I agree with everything you have said. I have been waging my own “please” and “thank you” campaign, particularly on the trains and tubes. It is always a delight to see the default grumpy, pissed off look change to slightly surprised and then pleased at having been acknowledged.As my dear old Mum used to say, “Good manners cost you nothing”.

  71. Hi,totally with you all on the manners thing. I am a primary teacher, have been for 10 years. So that’s about 300 or so children that for one year of their life I forced to say ‘please’,’thank you’, ‘may I’ & ‘you’re welcome’ EVERY single time it was needed. No exceptions, EVER. Not once. I’m really proud of that- I’m sure it stuck with most. (But I’m crap at teaching division.Oh, and PE)

  72. Hi,totally with you all on the manners thing. I am a primary teacher, have been for 10 years. So that’s about 300 or so children that for one year of their life I forced to say ‘please’,’thank you’, ‘may I’ & ‘you’re welcome’ EVERY single time it was needed. No exceptions, EVER. Not once. I’m really proud of that- I’m sure it stuck with most. (But I’m crap at teaching division.Oh, and PE)

  73. Mike, I agree that in certain circumstances – ie. bad service – it can be self-defeating to remain smiley and accepting, but that’s not to say that rudeness helps. Unless you’re speaking to the CEO of the company, it’s pointless being rude. The person on the other end of the phone, or on the other side of the desk is just doing a job. That said, if you start out nice and polite, you have the moral high ground. The moment you swear or raise your voice, you risk losing that moral high ground. I have just spent longer than I’d have liked queueing up to speak to the correct BT operator who could help me with a bill query. I was cut off twice (accidentally, we must assume, since I hadn’t actually said anything to one of them; the other one put me through to a line that rang, then went dead), and had to wait a long, long time to finally get through. I was a nice as pie to everyone I spoke to, as it wouldn’t have made my ordeal any quicker to have lost it with any of them. Indeed, I was effusive with my thanks when they helped me, and solved my problem. I have an underlying distrust of BT, as they seem too big, and one operator seems not to know what the other is doing, but it’s not fair to take it out on the staff. Patrick, I am a former checkout boy myself (Sainsburys, Grosvenor Centre, Northampton, 1981), and I disagree about customers speaking to you. It’s better than looking down grumpily at their shopping.

  74. Mike, I agree that in certain circumstances – ie. bad service – it can be self-defeating to remain smiley and accepting, but that’s not to say that rudeness helps. Unless you’re speaking to the CEO of the company, it’s pointless being rude. The person on the other end of the phone, or on the other side of the desk is just doing a job. That said, if you start out nice and polite, you have the moral high ground. The moment you swear or raise your voice, you risk losing that moral high ground. I have just spent longer than I’d have liked queueing up to speak to the correct BT operator who could help me with a bill query. I was cut off twice (accidentally, we must assume, since I hadn’t actually said anything to one of them; the other one put me through to a line that rang, then went dead), and had to wait a long, long time to finally get through. I was a nice as pie to everyone I spoke to, as it wouldn’t have made my ordeal any quicker to have lost it with any of them. Indeed, I was effusive with my thanks when they helped me, and solved my problem. I have an underlying distrust of BT, as they seem too big, and one operator seems not to know what the other is doing, but it’s not fair to take it out on the staff. Patrick, I am a former checkout boy myself (Sainsburys, Grosvenor Centre, Northampton, 1981), and I disagree about customers speaking to you. It’s better than looking down grumpily at their shopping.

  75. Yay, I do all these things already! Recently though I got in to a bit of a spat with a drunk girl in a tube station. She was in the wrong and rude but I was rude back and consequently I spent the next hour feeling tense and angry. If I had let it go I think I would have felt good about myself and forgotten about the whole incident more quickly.Also, as someone who has worked a lot in shops I think a bit of a chat with customers is good, however inane. Plus, even in a large central London branch of a chain store you do get regulars and it feels really good to smile and say hello to these people and gives a good impression of you and your business.

  76. Yay, I do all these things already! Recently though I got in to a bit of a spat with a drunk girl in a tube station. She was in the wrong and rude but I was rude back and consequently I spent the next hour feeling tense and angry. If I had let it go I think I would have felt good about myself and forgotten about the whole incident more quickly.Also, as someone who has worked a lot in shops I think a bit of a chat with customers is good, however inane. Plus, even in a large central London branch of a chain store you do get regulars and it feels really good to smile and say hello to these people and gives a good impression of you and your business.

  77. Happy New Year!I’m absolutely with you on this one. except, as a few others have mentioned, with the Big Issue. I used to buy it but then realised that it was actually less interesting than the average free newspaper. In all honesty, I think it would be better for the people behind the magazine to take a serious look at the content.I realised a short while ago that, when motorists behave foolishly while I’m out cycling (which I endeavour to do politely and considerately), I get a far more constructive response by speaking to people politely (“Excuse me, I’m not sure you realise that your car clipped my front wheel back there”) than by shouting unpleasantries about the driver’s mother.

  78. Happy New Year!I’m absolutely with you on this one. except, as a few others have mentioned, with the Big Issue. I used to buy it but then realised that it was actually less interesting than the average free newspaper. In all honesty, I think it would be better for the people behind the magazine to take a serious look at the content.I realised a short while ago that, when motorists behave foolishly while I’m out cycling (which I endeavour to do politely and considerately), I get a far more constructive response by speaking to people politely (“Excuse me, I’m not sure you realise that your car clipped my front wheel back there”) than by shouting unpleasantries about the driver’s mother.

  79. By the way, that bit about not swearing? Have you noticed how few people nowadays seem to believe that ‘God’, ‘Christ’ and ‘bloody’ are swearing? Perhaps not as foul as other words but still not language I would use in front of my mother.

  80. By the way, that bit about not swearing? Have you noticed how few people nowadays seem to believe that ‘God’, ‘Christ’ and ‘bloody’ are swearing? Perhaps not as foul as other words but still not language I would use in front of my mother.

  81. Andrew – I agree with every part of your manifesto (and it is cheering to read so much support for it). On the litter issue – which, living in the country and having to put up with rural road verges that resemble linear rubbish dumps, I am particularly bothered by – can I just make a plea for everyone to do a bit of litter picking in their immediate neighbourhood? The downside is that it tends to make you quite cross while you’re doing it; and the first time you see a new can/bottle/crisp bag/fag packet sullying those pristine verges can be somewhat demotivating. On balance though, the sense that you are at least doing something (perhaps helping to stop the odd small mammal from drowning in a water-filled lager bottle, or saving a bird from strangulation by plastic can-holder), even if it’s only an aesthetic improvement, can be very satisfying.Oh – and ask your local Council to give you some bags, a litter picker and a high vis. jacket. In my experience they are more than happy to encourage (and sometimes even pay for) community participation. And, to those who moan that this is what they pay their Council Tax for, can you really expect them to keep every single road verge free of litter? I don’t think so.Happy New Year.

  82. Andrew – I agree with every part of your manifesto (and it is cheering to read so much support for it). On the litter issue – which, living in the country and having to put up with rural road verges that resemble linear rubbish dumps, I am particularly bothered by – can I just make a plea for everyone to do a bit of litter picking in their immediate neighbourhood? The downside is that it tends to make you quite cross while you’re doing it; and the first time you see a new can/bottle/crisp bag/fag packet sullying those pristine verges can be somewhat demotivating. On balance though, the sense that you are at least doing something (perhaps helping to stop the odd small mammal from drowning in a water-filled lager bottle, or saving a bird from strangulation by plastic can-holder), even if it’s only an aesthetic improvement, can be very satisfying.Oh – and ask your local Council to give you some bags, a litter picker and a high vis. jacket. In my experience they are more than happy to encourage (and sometimes even pay for) community participation. And, to those who moan that this is what they pay their Council Tax for, can you really expect them to keep every single road verge free of litter? I don’t think so.Happy New Year.

  83. I like the manifesto and I try and generally do live up to a lot of it. Especially like the talking at the checkout one. I tend to find that older checkout staff (50+) tend to be much more talkative than younger ones and will often strike up conversations first. I like that.Agree with the driving one too. I tend to let one of two cars out at junctions. If there’s a whole queue of them I’ll let a couple through but make it clear that that’s it for now. The only cars I DON’T ever let through are clean SUVs. A muddy landrover is fine (farmer popping into town etc.) but as far as I’m concerned a shiny new BMW X5 driven by a mid-30s mother of one is not getting past me. Choose to drive something obscene and useless like that and you can put up with the consequences. Not sure about the Jehovah’s Witnesses ones either. A polite “no thank you, not today” to door to door salesmen is fine, but if I get JWs I will, as politely as possible, let them know exactly what I think of their “faith” and others.The key thing is to be nice to each other, but don’t be a doormat either. I think it’s particularly important not to put up with anti-social behaviour. For example, if you see someone drop litter then pick it up and say “excuse me, I think you just dropped something”. Obviously only if it’s safe to do so, but you get my point.

  84. I like the manifesto and I try and generally do live up to a lot of it. Especially like the talking at the checkout one. I tend to find that older checkout staff (50+) tend to be much more talkative than younger ones and will often strike up conversations first. I like that.Agree with the driving one too. I tend to let one of two cars out at junctions. If there’s a whole queue of them I’ll let a couple through but make it clear that that’s it for now. The only cars I DON’T ever let through are clean SUVs. A muddy landrover is fine (farmer popping into town etc.) but as far as I’m concerned a shiny new BMW X5 driven by a mid-30s mother of one is not getting past me. Choose to drive something obscene and useless like that and you can put up with the consequences. Not sure about the Jehovah’s Witnesses ones either. A polite “no thank you, not today” to door to door salesmen is fine, but if I get JWs I will, as politely as possible, let them know exactly what I think of their “faith” and others.The key thing is to be nice to each other, but don’t be a doormat either. I think it’s particularly important not to put up with anti-social behaviour. For example, if you see someone drop litter then pick it up and say “excuse me, I think you just dropped something”. Obviously only if it’s safe to do so, but you get my point.

  85. Well said, Andrew. My weakness is being rude to political canvassers who call at the door and with whose views I don’t agree (especially Fianna Fail and the PDs in the last Irish election), although I do feel a bit guilty afterwards. And I’m pretty nice to people who are selling something.

  86. Well said, Andrew. My weakness is being rude to political canvassers who call at the door and with whose views I don’t agree (especially Fianna Fail and the PDs in the last Irish election), although I do feel a bit guilty afterwards. And I’m pretty nice to people who are selling something.

  87. I hate overweight people who can’t walk the length of themselves and who assume this entitles them to park in disabled spaces. Having said that, if no-one at Tesco, Asda et al polices the car park then people will continue to take the piss and park where they like.

  88. I hate overweight people who can’t walk the length of themselves and who assume this entitles them to park in disabled spaces. Having said that, if no-one at Tesco, Asda et al polices the car park then people will continue to take the piss and park where they like.

  89. Re: Number 7What’s to be done about neighbours who flagrantly disregard provided recycling bins and dump their cardboard, cans, bottles etc in the bike storage room?I have yet to witness this “fly-tipping” in the flesh, but at the weekend as I separated the recyclables and cleared out the storage room (I’m not expecting a medal by the way) I did find some bills/paperwork that may point the finger.Armed with these names and flat/apartment numbers, do I now confront my lazy, thoughtless neighbours or simply put up a sign requesting that they desist from such behaviour?PS You’d have thought a vet and a radiologist would have been more thoughtful! Maybe not.

  90. Re: Number 7What’s to be done about neighbours who flagrantly disregard provided recycling bins and dump their cardboard, cans, bottles etc in the bike storage room?I have yet to witness this “fly-tipping” in the flesh, but at the weekend as I separated the recyclables and cleared out the storage room (I’m not expecting a medal by the way) I did find some bills/paperwork that may point the finger.Armed with these names and flat/apartment numbers, do I now confront my lazy, thoughtless neighbours or simply put up a sign requesting that they desist from such behaviour?PS You’d have thought a vet and a radiologist would have been more thoughtful! Maybe not.

  91. I’d go for the sign option, Al. Try guilt-tripping them. Stella – there’s nothing wrong, in my opinion, with engaging in a free and frank exchange with political canvassers on the doorstep. They started it. And debate and engagement are sadly lacking in politics for much of the electorate. Just don’t swear! (See: moral high ground point made earlier.)

  92. I’d go for the sign option, Al. Try guilt-tripping them. Stella – there’s nothing wrong, in my opinion, with engaging in a free and frank exchange with political canvassers on the doorstep. They started it. And debate and engagement are sadly lacking in politics for much of the electorate. Just don’t swear! (See: moral high ground point made earlier.)

  93. My addition to point 3… When driving acknowledge other’s courtesy. I hate it when you stop to let someone through coming the opposite way (and I’m not taliking about when they have right of way anyway)but they don’t wave or flash their thanks. The trouble is there is nothing you can do to rebuke them – because they are gone.

  94. My addition to point 3… When driving acknowledge other’s courtesy. I hate it when you stop to let someone through coming the opposite way (and I’m not taliking about when they have right of way anyway)but they don’t wave or flash their thanks. The trouble is there is nothing you can do to rebuke them – because they are gone.

  95. HNY AC. Couldn’t agree more etc…One thing that I have noticed in my corporate life is how rude people at a senior level can be. Now I have my own small theory about this. From the mid-80s onwards the class-glass-ceiling has been smashed and we have people who have achieved highish positions in organisations by being pushy/aggressive. Trouble is, these people had been brought up in an environment where manners were not taught. This has become exacerbated because the working classes in the 60s/70s/80s considered that the ‘bosses’ were all toffs (which generally they were) and you had to be ready for the fight to achieve anything.Consequently, in my experience, many of these ex-working class corporate achievers are rude and brash and care little for manners. This rubs off on people lower down the corporate food chain who passes this onto the customer and peers and subordinates. People who were well-schooled at home/in education are far more polite and well-mannered, because IMHO they are more confident in their lofty corporate position.

  96. HNY AC. Couldn’t agree more etc…One thing that I have noticed in my corporate life is how rude people at a senior level can be. Now I have my own small theory about this. From the mid-80s onwards the class-glass-ceiling has been smashed and we have people who have achieved highish positions in organisations by being pushy/aggressive. Trouble is, these people had been brought up in an environment where manners were not taught. This has become exacerbated because the working classes in the 60s/70s/80s considered that the ‘bosses’ were all toffs (which generally they were) and you had to be ready for the fight to achieve anything.Consequently, in my experience, many of these ex-working class corporate achievers are rude and brash and care little for manners. This rubs off on people lower down the corporate food chain who passes this onto the customer and peers and subordinates. People who were well-schooled at home/in education are far more polite and well-mannered, because IMHO they are more confident in their lofty corporate position.

  97. I’m in. Do I need to sign something? I liked “Just because you’re a superhero for giving an old jigsaw and some jumpers to charity”. That exposed a few flaws :)I’ve started buying the Big Issue again, cause it’s encouraging people who’re homeless to earn money rather than beg.

  98. I’m in. Do I need to sign something? I liked “Just because you’re a superhero for giving an old jigsaw and some jumpers to charity”. That exposed a few flaws :)I’ve started buying the Big Issue again, cause it’s encouraging people who’re homeless to earn money rather than beg.

  99. Hey Misery GutsMy mum is one of those overweight who can’t walk their own length AND has a disabled space. She was in a serious car accident a few years ago (the same car accident in which my brother was killed) and despite having numerous operations on her spine, multiple painkilling injections, and spinal blocks, she’s now on the waiting list to have some discs removed and her spine fused.If you think her disablement is so trivial, why don’t you try having it for a day?No need to apologise. You have incurred my pity rather than my wrath.

  100. Hey Misery GutsMy mum is one of those overweight who can’t walk their own length AND has a disabled space. She was in a serious car accident a few years ago (the same car accident in which my brother was killed) and despite having numerous operations on her spine, multiple painkilling injections, and spinal blocks, she’s now on the waiting list to have some discs removed and her spine fused.If you think her disablement is so trivial, why don’t you try having it for a day?No need to apologise. You have incurred my pity rather than my wrath.

  101. I liked your post. The thing about charity stores is especially close to my heart – I wish people also wouldn’t just take junk down there that they wouldn’t buy themselves – charities have to waste a lot of money each year carting this stuff off to the tip because the “donor” was too lazy to do so.Also, please don’t help yourself to the stuff that is going to get left there anyway despite this well intentioned manifesto. I ended up having a chat with three chaps just before Christmas who had brought along a pickup truck to help themselves to the spoils left outside the local St. Vincents. They claimed they “didn’t know” it was wrong.

  102. I liked your post. The thing about charity stores is especially close to my heart – I wish people also wouldn’t just take junk down there that they wouldn’t buy themselves – charities have to waste a lot of money each year carting this stuff off to the tip because the “donor” was too lazy to do so.Also, please don’t help yourself to the stuff that is going to get left there anyway despite this well intentioned manifesto. I ended up having a chat with three chaps just before Christmas who had brought along a pickup truck to help themselves to the spoils left outside the local St. Vincents. They claimed they “didn’t know” it was wrong.

  103. I am all with you. How about we all take the littering one a step further and look for a recycle container to toss it in? I am lucky, my town has a great municipal recycling program (I don’t have to sort anything) so it’s not hard for me. Folks who go the extra mile will notice it immediately. I have honestly changed my lifestyle in the last year, I now recycle upwards of 90 percent of the garbage I used to throw away. I noticed it right away. I only have to take out the “trash” once every two weeks now.

  104. I am all with you. How about we all take the littering one a step further and look for a recycle container to toss it in? I am lucky, my town has a great municipal recycling program (I don’t have to sort anything) so it’s not hard for me. Folks who go the extra mile will notice it immediately. I have honestly changed my lifestyle in the last year, I now recycle upwards of 90 percent of the garbage I used to throw away. I noticed it right away. I only have to take out the “trash” once every two weeks now.

  105. Thanks for the MetaFilter no, Michael. I’ve never seen this forum before. It’s nice to see the Manifesto generating so much comment, esp. from Americans, which most of them see to be. Next stop: US foreign policy!

  106. Thanks for the MetaFilter no, Michael. I’ve never seen this forum before. It’s nice to see the Manifesto generating so much comment, esp. from Americans, which most of them see to be. Next stop: US foreign policy!

  107. Beautiful; man, you knocked it out of the park. You could almost start a new religion with this. Let me be one of the first of the twelve apostles…no kidding.Great way to start the new year- Thanks & Cheers – Dex

  108. Beautiful; man, you knocked it out of the park. You could almost start a new religion with this. Let me be one of the first of the twelve apostles…no kidding.Great way to start the new year- Thanks & Cheers – Dex

  109. Apologies for that brief blip. I accidentally published an anonymous comment (it’s easily done when you’re processing a number at one time), then came over all magnanimous and left it up. I’ve since been out and come back with a clear head. What’s the point in having rules if I allow them to be broken?You don’t have to register or sign in to leave a comment – merely click “Anonymous” and make sure you put a name at the end of the comment. Since we’re talking about manners, it seems the least you can do.

  110. Apologies for that brief blip. I accidentally published an anonymous comment (it’s easily done when you’re processing a number at one time), then came over all magnanimous and left it up. I’ve since been out and come back with a clear head. What’s the point in having rules if I allow them to be broken?You don’t have to register or sign in to leave a comment – merely click “Anonymous” and make sure you put a name at the end of the comment. Since we’re talking about manners, it seems the least you can do.

  111. Damned good topic. I’m always nice to telephone sales people who cold call me at work. I’ve given up being grumpy with them. I always wish them luck with their next call, & thank them for ringing me. I think it confuses them, but makes me feel good. As for disabled parking spaces, we should guilt trip offenders as the French do. Their supermarket parking spaces often display the (roughly translated) legend; “Take Me, Take My Disability Too”

  112. Damned good topic. I’m always nice to telephone sales people who cold call me at work. I’ve given up being grumpy with them. I always wish them luck with their next call, & thank them for ringing me. I think it confuses them, but makes me feel good. As for disabled parking spaces, we should guilt trip offenders as the French do. Their supermarket parking spaces often display the (roughly translated) legend; “Take Me, Take My Disability Too”

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