Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mind your Manners

I have often wondered, as in the article that follows, where were the
parents of today's young adults when it was time to teach respect and
just plain, good manners? Things like: Thank you, excuse me, please,
or may I?

I think Mr. Burg makes a fine point...

* Manners Make Money
by Bob Burg

Do good manners and showing proper respect make one money? Sure,
though not necessarily directly. What they do is provide a person
with one more avenue for adding value to a relationship and, it's
the adding of value to a relationship that helps one increase their

If you're in a customer service position where you get paid the
same amount of money regardless of what a person buys, it's easy to
think the above does not apply. But it does, for two reasons:

#1 You are training yourself to act the proper way when you "can"
profit directly. And, as T. Harv Eker, author of the book, "Secrets
of the Millionaire Mind" <http://www.amazon.com> writes, "How you
do anything is how you do everything!" Good habits are vital.
Repetition is key to forming good habits.

#2 As Wallace D.Wattles teaches in his 1910 classic, "The Science
of Getting Rich" (to download for free visit
<http://www.ScienceOfGettingRich.net>), your goal is to become "too
big for your place." In other words, by providing so much value you
are putting yourself in a position for advancement . And it's often
amazing how - and in what form - that advancement comes. (Space
permitting, it would have been fun just to share some of those
kinds of stories).

This brings me to an incident - actually a series of incidents -
at a local market where I buy pre-cooked, healthy food. I love this
place. The food is great, the owners are nice, and everyone goes
out of their way to serve.

The one challenge is the young (between 18-25) men who take the
orders at one particular department have the habit of addressing
their customers with names like, "bud" or "man."

Other than that, they are nice young men but I don't agree with
their greeting. It's not right; it's not proper to address people
significantly older than you are by saying, "What can I get you,

Of course, I could say nothing . . . but that wouldn't be me. I
don't feel it serves *them* to believe there is no consequence to
that kind of lack of respect. So, a couple of times, I gently (keep
in mind, it's how you do it - always with tact and kindness)
offered that they were welcome to call me "Bob." When they still
didn't "get it," I suggested that - at twice their age - I'm more
comfortable with being called "Bob" then I am being referred to as

A couple of them understood; a couple didn't. (Again, let me
emphasize, they meant nothing disrespectful; they simply didn't get
it. It didn't register with them. It was obvious from my
observation that they had absolutely no understanding of this
concept. Of course, this makes me wonder where their parents have
been for . . . oh, I don't know, the last 20 years or so of their
lives, but that's another story.)

One day, the manager - always a friendly and outgoing gentleman -
acknowledged how much I shop at the store and elicited my feedback.
I told him how impressed I was with the food and general service. I
then asked if I could share a thought with him, but without getting
anyone in hot water. He said "absolutely."

I then told him my concern and he agreed completely. I said, "Of
course, they are welcome to call me Bob. I'm an informal kind of
guy." He replied, "You know Bob, in our day, we used to have
another name for customers . . . either 'sir' or 'ma'am.'"

"I agree" I replied, but I think in this case it's enough just for
them to understand the "why."

He was fine with that and it's obvious that a staff meeting was
held shortly thereafter and that a new policy had been implemented.

Yesterday, however, a new young fellow was behind the counter. My
friendly demeanor changed to very neutral when he addressed me as,
"Hey man, what can I get you?"

"Feel free to call me Bob."

Apparently, he remembered what he was taught his first day on the
job and then referred to me as "sir."

Personally, I'm good with Bob. I think he's better off with sir. At
least until he forms the right habit. He seems like a really nice
kid and it thrills me to know that he is now putting himself into a
position of growth.

I hear politicians quite often use "The Children" as the excuse for
burdensome taxation. Perhaps one of the best things we can do for
"The Children" is to teach them some basic manners. They'll be
happier, healthier and wealthier, and will pass the same along to
*their* children.

Manners do count, and they make a difference in one's personal
effectiveness and long-term income. Yes, eventually, manners even
make money.


Bob Burg <http://www.burg.com> is co-author with John David Mann
of "The Go-Giver" (Portfolio). To check out the book and receive a
fr*e download of Chapter one, visit http://www.TheGoGiver.com. Burg
is also author of "Endless Referrals", "Winning Without
Intimidation" and "The Success Formula."


HermitJim said...

Hey Cat...good post. Something we all grew up with and the younger generation doesn't seem to be familiar with at all...

Do we blame the youngsters? I think the majority of the fault lies with the parents...but that's just my opinion!

Keep smiling...

blondie said...

I agree,
That was a great post Cat.

I've heard my Son, although not that young anymore, address folks on the phone or in person as Sir or Ma'am (or Miss if they're young).

Maybe my words when he was young actually paid off?

He's got a great job now, making really good money, at only 28.
So there you go :)

Again, Wonderful Post!

Thanks Friend

meltcat said...

Hey Jim and Blondie,
Yes, I think it has a great deal to do with the PARENTS...both negatively and positively.
Neglecting the teaching of common courtesy and manners to our children will ensure the lack thereof for our future generations.
All three of my kids have at one time or another told me that they used to be ridiculed for "Yes, Ma'am, or No, Sir". But as they have grown up using these terms, it is second nature to them now. And they have all three admitted that the ridicule has been replaced with respect now that they are 'out there in the world'.

So, yes, I believe we as parents are responsible to a degree, for the success of our children. And it's really nice to hear them actually say so!