Helen Bach: Battle of Wounded Knee in Waitrose

The pain caused by Helen's shopping trolley-inflicted injury was lessened by the apology from the offending shopper

The pain caused by Helen's shopping trolley-inflicted injury was lessened by the apology from the offending shopper

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Manners maketh man.

If, like me, you went to a church comprehensive school in Northamptonshire then these words will sound familiar.

It was a favourite saying of one of the deputy heads.

He was a stickler for good manners, and that saying has stuck with me.

I thought of him the other day when I was whacked very hard in the leg in Waitrose.

It was Christmas Eve Eve (the day formerly known as December 23) and the shop was very busy.

I was searching the wine aisle for my mum’s favourite tipple – Lambrusco – which I couldn’t find anywhere.

I’m guessing it’s become deeply unfashionable, but she likes it so I was on a quest.

A gentleman tried to manoeuvre his groaning trolley past my husband’s basket (we only go there for Dickinson & Morris pork pies at Christmas and Easter, it’s become a tradition) but hit it full tilt, whacking it into my knee.

As I crumpled, clutching my wounded knee (not exaggerating, it really did hurt, I’ve got a massive bruise, but then again I do bruise like a peach), the gentleman, on realizing he was the cause, stopped to see if I was OK, apologized profusely, before continuing on with his trolley once I’d assured him that I would survive (cue Gloria Gaynor song in my head).

Now, although I was still hurt, I felt slightly better that he’d bothered to check if I was OK and say sorry.

I just wish that people were always this polite.

I read some horrendous things people say to each other on social media, and hope that they aren’t that rude face-to-face.

But this then leads me to ask, if they wouldn’t say that in person, what makes them think it’s OK to say it online?

Wouldn’t it be good if people remembered their manners no matter where they were – or is that just me being old-fashioned?

Read more from Helen here.