Suddenly…Rudeness Everywhere!

MSNBC had a poll a while back that asked readers what they thought were the most rude behaviors.

The contenders:

  • Talking at the movies
  • Cell phones left on during movies
  • Listening to other people’s cell phone conversations in public
  • Bad cell phone behavior in general
  • Lack of basic courtesy — thank you, please, etc.
  • Aggressive and/or discourteous drivers
  • People who don’t use their turn signals
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Coarseness of language
  • Chewing with the mouth open
  • Shirts with profane or offensive slogans
  • Littering
  • Parking oversized cars in compact spaces
  • Interrupting when someone else is speaking
  • Children allowed to run rampant in stores, restaurants, etc.
  • Cutting in line

Which rude behavior irritates you most?

* 9867 responses

Children allowed to run rampant in stores, restaurants, etc. 22%
Lack of basic courtesy — thank you, please, etc. 20%
Bad cell phone behavior in general 14%
Aggressive and/or discourteous drivers 12%
Talking at the movies 5.4%
Listening to other people’s cell phone conversations in public 5.4%
Coarseness of language (cussin’) 4.6%
Cutting in line 4%
People who don’t use their turn signals 3.1%
Chewing with the mouth open 2.4%
Interrupting when someone else is speaking 1.9%
Lack of personal hygiene 1.6%
Cell phones left on during movies 1.5%
Littering 1.3%
Shirts with profane or offensive slogans 1.2%
Parking oversized cars in compact spaces 0.9%

It’s a rude world out there.

Other examples of behaviour commonly regarded as rude:

How to express contrition if you err and become rude:

Rude behaviour happens and must be made up for in order to compensate for violating etiquette. This is followed by a feeling of regret and expressing one’s regret. A person’s regret is indicated by:

  • “Excuse me”
  • “I’m sorry”
  • “Forgive me”
  • “Pardon me”
  • “Beg your pardon”
  • “Please accept my apologies”

Here are some helpful hints to avoid becoming a Rudey MacRuderson (for those of limited attention span, Your Humble Narrator will highlight the most important parts in bold).

1. says: “I’m only going to say this once: don’t use “gay,” or any related word, as a term of derision. I don’t want to hear your protestations that the word you used has nothing to do with the term commonly used for homosexuality. For one thing, you’re wrong, and for another thing, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that, almost certainly, someone listening to you now thinks you’re a jerk. And if you are absolutely 100% certain that every single one of the other heterosexual folks you hang out with agree with you, you’re probably wrong there too, on both counts.” “Gay” is not a good word to use as a swear.

2. also wish to share with us what they call The Poo Rules. For the further edification of society at large:

A. If you don’t poo for five days, TELL SOMEONE. That someone should be a medical professional.
B. If you poo more often than every five minutes, more than four times in a row, TELL SOMEONE. That someone should be a medical professional.
C. If pooing causes you an unusual degree of pain, such that you make involuntary noises, TELL SOMEONE. That someone should be a medical professional.
D. If your poo is an unusual colour, especially if it is red, TELL SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY. That someone should be a medical professional.
E. Under all other circumstances, TELL NO ONE about your poo.

“Trust me on this: mentioning poo, or the smell of poo, or the need to poo, or anything related to poo — no matter what euphemism you choose to use — is not considered nice. In fact, mentioning it is worse than the smell itself. This is a generalization of the fact that it is generally considered impolite to talk about bodily functions in public. There is no good or logical reason for this squeamishness, it’s just the way of things. The only times when it is permitted to discuss poo are when talking to young children, when talking to your doctor, when in a group of friends (presumably all male) who are entertained by the subject of poo, or when writing a blog entry explaining the above to people who apparently never learnt.”

3. There are times when you should express your feelings via e-mail, and times, especially when you are angry, when you should take a few deep breaths and go eat a candy bar or something instead. So you’re feeling a touch of ire. You wish to share your annoyance with others. What are some Warning Signs that your e-mail may be, shall we say, a tad harsh?

  • You are going to write something with which the recipient will probably disagree.
  • You’re expressing a strongly felt opinion, even if asked for it.
  • You’re writing to someone two or more steps up any organizational hierarchy.
  • It’s late and you’re tired.
  • It’s late and you’re drunk.
  • You’ve just switched contexts from something that used your brain in totally different ways — coding, gaming, browsing Cat Macros, whatever.

Go eat a candy bar. If you’re still spitting nails an hour later, check your spelling and grammar, then fire that missile. Just be aware that the recipient will probably not be best pleased to receive it. So don’t act all surprised when you get flambéed right back.

4. When to use a mobile phone: when you are alone, or it is an emergency. If you are at a movie, SHUT IT OFF. Do not answer it, do not talk on it, do not text on it, do not let it ring. These rules apply in restaurants, offices, classrooms, stores, bathrooms, theatres, public transportation, or while walking down a sidewalk or driving a car. Proper way to use a mobile phone:

  • Choose a non-obnoxious ring tone. Don’t have phones that sound like stereos, doorbells, sirens, animals, a person shouting, or a baby crying. What’s wrong with a simple ring or a brief tune with no lyrics? Better yet, set it to vibrate and keep it in your pocket.
  • When with others, love the one you’re with. Do not interrupt a current conversation to start a new conversation. If it’s a potential employer, date, emergency or relative, excuse yourself and go somewhere out of the way so your conversation will not annoy everyone around you.
  • If you are driving, pull over or suggest that you call your friend back. You are a menace on the road with your attention divided between Avoiding Vehicular Homicide and Chatting About Crap On Cell.
  • Don’t be a TechnoSnob. No one gives a crap about your new toy. It doesn’t make you a better person. We don’t care about your overpriced watch or purse, either. Please grow some useful values and perspective. Do not brandish, flaunt, or show off your stupid PDA / phone / gizmo.
  • Do not yell into your phone. If you can’t speak in a normal tone of voice, that is a sign that it is a bad time to use the phone. Either reception is poor, or you are at a venue where using a mobile phone is supremely idiotic, such as at a live concert or dance club, or crowded bar, or happenin’ party. Excuse yourself, find a quiet place, then speak like a normal person.
  • If you are too irresponsible to keep track of your phone, and frequently drop it under car seats or leave it in restaurants or at friends’ houses, then please have the decency to password protect it so dirty rotten phone thieves won’t have a whole bunch of telephone numbers, addresses, names, and/or e-mails to harass.

5. You are the caretaker of a small child. The small child, insufficiently civilized, is likely to make loud noises. What should you do?

  • Remove the child from the area. If in a movie, go to lobby or outside. If in a restaurant, go outside. If in a museum, go outside. If in a store, go outside. In general, if you are inside somewhere and the child in your care begins to howl, take him or her outside.
  • If the child is misbehaving deliberately, but you need to get errands done, that sucks. Take the child outside.
  • If the child needs a fresh diaper, remove and replace the diaper IN A BATHROOM, then place the dirty diaper IN A TRASH RECEPTACLE. Do not change your child on a restaurant table, in the aisle of a movie theatre, in a dressing room, in the middle of the mall, or anywhere other than an appropriate surface in a bathroom.
  • I’s lovely that you breastfeed. It is your right to breastfeed. It’s good for the baby that you breastfeed. It’s not gross or anything. We know. But not everyone is as enlightened and mature as you, so please do your breastfeeding in a secluded area, not in the middle of a crowded restaurant, bar, movie theatre, store, mall, etc.
  • When operating a stroller, it is bad to use it as a battering ram to make your way through a crowd. It is rude to block aisles. It is rude to roll it over people’s feet. It is thoughtless to aim your child’s stroller so that your child can reach other people, their pets, their food, their purses, or any neatly-folded store displays.
  • Do not use your stroller to play chicken with oncoming traffic. Unless you never really liked that kid much, anyway. Yes, pedestrians should have the right of way. But in a contest between your kid’s stroller and a vehicle, the vehicle will win. You’ll have a lot of explaining to do, also, if you leave the house with N+1 children and come back with only N children. Do you need that hassle?
  • RULES FOR THE CHILDLESS: Disneyworld and other theme parks, Toys’R’US and other toy stores, Babies’R’Us and other children’s clothing and supply depots, McDonald’s and other crappy fast food places, Chuck E. Cheese and other cheap pizza joints, playgrounds and other recreation areas with kiddie toys and swingsets, petting zoos, circuses* and many  public parks are primarily for the kiddies. You relinquish your right to complain about the presence of children in any of these places.
  • TIPS FOR THE CHILDFREE: If you open doors, help distract a child preparing to wail, and learn to count to three before bestowing the Glare of Death on nearby parents, they will be able to conduct their business all the more quickly and leave. Anything to keep the peace and help them move along, right?

What behaviors piss you off the most? Did I leave something out?


* Having your Cirque Du Soleil experience ruined by an unmanaged and ill-mannered child, however, is something you can legitimately complain about.

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