A friend told me recently of an incident that occurred while she was shopping at Macy’s. She observed a customer being straight up cruel to a salesperson. My friend came to the salesperson’s defense, succeeding only in turning the customer’s wrath onto herself.
The other day, my neighbor was in my backyard with her kid, throwing rocks around my garden. I asked her to kindly cease the rock catapulting. Her response was to tell me to go to–well, it rhymes with bell.
It wasn’t pretty after that.
My point is, I’ve become very tired of people lacking manners. So perhaps I am overly sensitive to the need for manners in my professional work.
I’m so grateful to have a job I enjoy and so pleased that people are talking to me that I try to be polite and gracious–because, trust me, sometimes it isn’t easy or pleasant to interview people.
But what is the line between manners and pushing for what you want? With my concern for manners at work, maybe I’m not aggressive enough?
Last week, I attended a press luncheon for the opening of the Sturt Haaga Gallery at . Descanso’s media representative is always helpful, accommodating, patient and, well, nice, as are all the people I’ve ever interviewed there.
Such kindness, even if based in the desire of impressing the press, is appreciated, and I try to reciprocate through gratitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t write the truth or show bias.
I just show manners.
But while I was there, a photographer from another news group did something I would never consider. He started shouting at people to hurry up and get together for a photo. Fairly certain there was even finger snapping. I cringed. At the same time, I wanted to take the same photo he was demanding.
And, I thought, "Have I been going about this the wrong way?"
I talked to the photographer about it, and he expressed his desire to get in, do his job, and get out. He felt that he was just doing what he needed to do.
My method involves taking my time, covering all my bases and actually conversing with people–sometimes you learn things by engaging this way, and it’s my job, so what am I rushing off to that could be more important?
Still, I thought, maybe in the future it would serve me better to be a bit rude?
As I was leaving the event, a woman came up to me and shook my hand. “You’re Lynda, from Patch!” she said. “We love Patch.” She works at Descanso. I had interviewed her in the past. While talking with her, more people came by to greet me, people who recognized me from my coverage of La Cañada. I felt like a celebrity. They forced me to take a cookie for the road.
The photographer raced to a garden shuttle and hopped on for the ride down to the gardens’ entrance. No one rushed to shake his hand. No one knew his name. He may or may not have had a cookie.