What you don’t know the communication code? Yeah, right, like I believe that! Everyone alive knows the Code, unless you’ve grown up away from civilized society, raised in the woods by wolves, or if you are a toddler. But none of that was true of the car salesman who sat in front of me. HE used to be the hotshot GM of a large conglomerate of dealerships. HE used to oversee 900 sales employees. HE just told me how successful he was for 4 decades in sales. So how come he is now somehow amnesiac about playing by the proper rules?
We all know the Code’s unwritten rules: First, I ask you about your family; you then go on for a moderate amount of time about how brilliant, beautiful, and successful your only daughter is, while I listen politely, feign interest, nod encouragingly with a little smile on my face. Next – please, everyone, chime in together since we all know full well what comes next – you then ask me about my family. I then get a brief brag period, and we feel like we have done the rapport dance needed to go about the business at hand.
Next, feeling like we are now friends, or at least on friendly terms, I ask for some negotiating piece, so I feel good about the exchange of a large sum of money. You then give me an inch, if you can, or if you really can’t, you at least say you can’t in an apologetic tone of feigned would-if-I-could language. Those are the game rules, no surprise to anyone. And with them firmly in place communication runs along smoothly, because everyone is on the same page.
Here’s what happened instead with this bozo –
Him: blah, blah, brilliant, beautiful, successful… for way too long
Me: polite silence and nodding, doing my part quite well
Him: OK, are you going to buy this car or aren’t you?
(break in the conversation for puzzlement – What??!?? Are you serious??)
Me: Well, how about if you allow us more for the trade-in to cover the cost of the extended warranty you’re raving about [and I know you get a hefty chunk of overpriced commission on]?
Him: Nope, the price stands period. [not even an effort towards being conciliatory!]
Call 911 now because I’m just about to jump out of my chair and strangle this fat s.o.b. with his own gaudy necktie. Why don’t you just play nice, instead of disparaging the reputations of decent car salesmen everywhere with this typically gauche behavior?
The next occurrence happened in line at a store’s customer service counter: the elderly gent at the front of the line was taking his time buying lottery tickets. A store employee gets 4th in line behind my husband, striking up a conversation with him about this, that and the other thing, including people taking too much time buying lottery tickets.
After the elderly man concludes his purchase, this guy jumps in front of my husband and requests of the woman, now next in line, to go in front of her “because he only has one transaction”! Look around, buddy, everyone only has one transaction, and they’ve all been waiting longer than you have – but your time is somehow more valuable than theirs?
Again I wonder, how do you not know the blatantly obvious code of proper communication and behavior? Oh, right, you’re a wolf’s child, sorry I didn’t realize you were THAT guy.
Everyone knows that the unwritten rules for this situation state:
1) Wait your turn, unless you are gravely injured and need immediate medical attention
2) Give the elderly additional time out of respect, unless #1 is true
3) Don’t cut in front of a woman when you are an able-bodied man
4) Don’t cut the line at all, especially with a lame reason for rude behavior
Look around – there is ignorant behavior happening every day, everywhere. We are that society, with too many members who have conveniently ‘forgotten’ the rules of polite behavior, which allow us to co-exist with a modicum of pleasantness.
And those who need to return to ‘finishing school’ – or who never attended in the first place – are too boorish to even know that they need a lesson in civility.
Know anyone who could use more than a little touch of class?