Dear Abby…err Cary. Is no one polite anymore?
I am probably showing my age with the Dear Abby reference. You young ones Google her. I am going to step on my soap box for a minute here so bear with me. (Young people are now Googling soap box.) Politeness is dying.
My mom and my grandma taught me to be polite. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. (Now the kids are googling that phrase). If I wasn’t polite, I was going to get it. I am sure to the generation of folks above me, we were rude and obnoxious kids. And I am sure to some extent this is a generational thing where each generation thinks the one below it is worse than the one before. However, with social media, email, and texting being polite is a lost gift or maybe I just have a burr in my saddle.(Google is getting a work out, uh?)
Sometimes emails and texts do not come across the way we intend them to read. In this fast paced society, people shoot off an email, text or post real quick and maybe do not put any thought into how their words will read. Our moods can change the way we read an email or text. What you meant to be just a quick note or thought can come across as mean, angry or just rude. Writing to get your point across correctly is a gift or maybe it’s something that is learned. It takes practice to be good at it. At ClassicLawns we try very hard to be professional and polite at ALL times. Now, I am not saying all our customers are impolite. It is a small minority I am sure. It just seems to be trending the wrong way. Maybe it is the weathers fault. Heat can make anyone cranky. I hope I am just being an old cranky man, but politeness seems to be a thing of the past.
I challenge you that whenever you write an email or text not just to us, but to any service/professional person to take a second to reread what you wrote to ensure you are being polite.
One more thing about texting. Almost every small business owner I know uses their cell phone as their business phone. We do. It is convenient and it is the way it is in today’s world. However, you would be amazed at when I get texts from customers. I have received many 3am texts, Sunday texts? Yep. 10pm? Several! Inevitably, the customer says that they just wanted to text me while they were thinking about it. I get it. You don’t want to forget, but maybe just maybe you could write yourself a note. Or, use the REMINDER function on your phone to make yourself a note to remember. Or, did you know that you can text your own number then forward the text on to us during regular business hours. By the way… I could substitute text for phone call in the above examples.
You say to me, “Turn your phone off. Don’t reply. Or, get a second phone you cheapskate!” All possibilities, but then I have to carry two phones around or I miss an important personal call. I politely say, “Except emergencies, customers should do their best to please limit their texts and phone calls to regular business hours.” ClassicLawns and all the small business people in the world will thank you for it!
It is not just in writing. You see impoliteness at the store, anytime you are driving in Springfield, and I am sure you see it in your line of work too. We can all do a small part in making the world a little less rude. Let’s just all take a breath, smile, and remember what mom and grandma taught us… Be Polite!
Now let’s all drop that jug of vinegar and pick up some honey. I am stepping off my soap box.
Forever politely yours,
Cary Carlson – Owner of ClassicLawns