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Common courtesy commonly neglected

January 30, 2013 - Ron Deuter
I belong to a gym in town. The area where members can hang their coats, stow belongings and switch shoes is small. All too often I will be sitting there changing shoes and someone approaches in need of getting to a cubby I am blocking.

I have to say, I can’t remember the last time someone spoke up and said ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ in order to reach their cubby and retrieve their stuff.

In fact, it almost never happens.

What usually occurs is I’ll be changing my shoes and I’ll catch someone approaching out of the corner of my eye. I can tell they need to get where I am sitting because they typically have their eyes zeroed in on their exact cubby space and nothing else — like they are staring at a buck through a scope. And, it’s almost like the closer they inch, they just assume I am supposed to stand up and get out of their way.

Wasn’t I there first?

I’ve had people not say a word and simply walk right up and reach around me, over me or slightly make contact to get to their cubby — almost like I’m not even sitting there. No joke.

When I am done with a workout, if I see someone sitting where I need to go, I usually do a quick lap around the gym, take a drink, and by the time I get back to the changing benches, the person is usually done and gone.

If there are a bunch of people milling about in that space, I will kindly walk up and ask if they would mind if I squeeze in to grab my stuff. It’s really not that difficult.

But I guess it is for some people.

It reminds of being in line at the grocery store. You’re waiting in line with another couple people waiting people behind you.

A clerk comes over and announces a new lane opening up, and what happens? Typically, the person last in line runs over to the newly opened register. It’s like the gun went off at a track meet. They jump so quick, the tires on their cart screech.

Here’s a thought. What about the person in front having the option to move first. They are in line in front of you in the first place, right? The new lane opening shortens the waiting time for everyone when the person next in line at the old station is allowed to move over first.

I know, too polite and simple.



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