Why Everyone Is So Rude Right Now
September 2021 was a bad month for manners. On the 21st, a woman pulled a gun on servers at a Philadelphia fast food restaurant when they asked her to order online. On the 16th, several women from Texas pummeled a hostess at a New York City family-style restaurant. A few days prior to that a Connecticut mother was investigated for slapping an elementary school bus driver and that same week, a California woman was charged with felony assault for attacking a SouthWest airlines flight attendant and dislodging some of her teeth.
Re-entry into polite society is proving to be a little bumpy.
Of course, it’s the people-have-lost-their-everloving-minds incidents that make the news, but they are also a reflection of a deeper trend; Americans appear to have forgotten their niceties, especially with those whose job it is to assist them. Lawyers are reporting ruder clients. Restaurants are reporting ruder clients. Flight attendants, for whom rude clients are no novelty, are reporting mayhem. (FAA fines for unruly behavior have already exceeded a million dollars this year.) So legion are the reports of discourtesy that some customer-facing businesses have been forced to play Miss Manners.
Visitors to the Indiana University Health system are now greeted by a sign that reads, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space …your behaviors matter.” The Cleveland Clinic uses what it calls behavioral contracts when patients’ behavior is continually difficult. The clinic issued nine such contracts in 2017; so far this year, it’s issued 111.