No bad manners please

Mr Rude
Mr Rude

What rude behaviour most annoys you?

Personally, I hate being served in a shop by an assistant who does not say one word to you during the entire transaction. It’s just rude.

I also get pretty peeved when you let a fellow driver pull out and there is no wave of the hand or flash of the lights to say thank you.

We all have our grumbles when it comes to common courtesy, but according to new research politeness is no worse – and possibly even better – than two decades ago.

And the researchers found that while we are quick to be offended by other people’s behaviour, we can be rather slow to realise our own faults.

In particular, many of us don’t realise we cause offence when we remain locked in mobile phone conversations or play loud music through headphones in public.

The study by the Young Foundation, which involved visits to inner-city areas as well as rural market towns, also found that social class was not linked to good manners, challenging the belief those in run-down areas were more likely to be aggressive or uncouth.

The report says: “Generalisations about declining standards of civility are inaccurate and problematic.

“While there are flashpoints of incivility, these tend to be contained to certain places or certain times. But in general Britain remains a well-mannered and courteous country. We still compare favourably to other developed nations.”

Will Norman, one of the researchers, said: “Basic day-to-day politeness, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, ‘hello’ and ‘morning’, giving up seats, the use of mobile phones, how you react to other people – the impact that has on building community and in triggering respectful relationships is extraordinary, just as rudeness can easily undo things, and make a situation very stressful and unpleasant.

“If someone is rude and someone else responds in the same way, then things escalate frighteningly fast.”

Evening Telegraph readers were quick to share examples of rude behaviour that annoy them.

Emma Lewis, 30, of Irthlingborough, a community centre caretaker, said: “A please and thank you doesn’t cost anything. I just wish I heard it more often, from all generations!”

Julia Miller, 45, of Corby, agrees. She said: “It really annoys me when you hold the door open and someone just walks through without saying thank you. Also when you are driving, you have the right of way and the other car just drives without stopping. I end up stopping to let them through when it should have been them.”

Impolite drivers also bother Catherine Stewart, 26, of Kettering, who says: “I hate it when I’m giving way to somebody when I’m driving and they don’t have the courtesy to give a quick flash of their lights or a quick wave to say thank you.”

While rude shop assistants can come under fire, shop worker Julie Hill, of Kettering, says there are just as many rude customers.

She said: “People often mention rude shop assistants who talk to each other when they’re serving you, but how many people would admit to being rude themselves when being served? Talking on their mobiles and to each other, and ignoring the person trying to help them, not paying attention or even saying please, thank you or goodbye.”

But Jade Manning also works with the public and says she has seen an improvement in people’s manners generally.

Jade, 27, of Kettering, who works for Tesco, said: “I have worked in a customer orientated job for the past eight years. There has been a dramatic change in peoples’ attitudes during this. So I don’t agree with it being the same as 20 years ago.”

Victoria Webb, 21, a care home worker from Kettering, said: “I think it doesn’t matter what day and age we are in, you will always get polite people just as you will always get rude people.

“Chances are that if youngsters are rude, it’s probably because their parents are too.”

What do you think? Are people’s manners improving or getting worse? What rude behaviour most annoys you? Get in touch by emailing or writing to Viewpoint, the Evening Telegraph, Newspaper House, Ise Park, Rothwell Road, Kettering, NN16 8GA