Rudeness Police, part 2

May 30, 2007, 8:55 PM UTC
Fortune

mountie2.jpgHi there. I’m in Vegas again, having flown here next to two lovely women in perfectly pressed pant suits who conversed with each other over the strategic plan of their real estate enterprise for TWO SOLID HOURS. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t even say anything to them like, “Please be quiet, I’m begging you,” because, well, they were just so NICE.

This put me in mind of the concept we explored yesterday, the one concerning the establishment of a Rudeness Police, hereinafter referred to, when I wish, as the RP. It seems to have touched a nerve with a lot of you, and although I haven’t really done this yet, I thought I would share the pet peeves of some of you that have been cordially annoyed enough at the behavior of your fellow citizens to commit yourself to writing.

Fern of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, a state far more polite than its reputation, I think, relates hers (warning — some of these are pretty disgusting, although the fact that they even exist makes them worthy of RP note):

  1. Broken Snapple and/or bottles all over the street. I always hope the kids (or adults) who threw them will somehow run over them when they drive by.
  2. Emptied bottles of water now filled with urine — no joke (and I live in pretty upscale Bergen County).
  3. Used condoms tossed on the street. 
  4. Holding the door open for someone at a store or at the movie theatre and they walk through and don’t say “thank you.”
  5. People talking on the phone while they are sitting with me at lunch. (I don’t think I’m THAT boring.

The tersely named “C” in Montclair, which is also in New Jersey for some reason, writes, “What about including loud eaters? Nothing is more disturbing than listening to the patron seated behind you shovel popcorn into their mouth like they haven’t eaten for days, while I sit there in agony secretly hoping they accidentally bite off their own fingers and choke – could we please add these people to your list? I for one think electronic dog collars are a great solution…perhaps we could up the ante by having repeat offenders sit in buckets of water while they watch the movie.” C adds at the end, “By the way – you rock Stanley!” Thanks, C. Back at ya!

Peter, who could live nowhere but in New York, suggests that “The seats in theaters should be wired to submit shocks to people who start talking and being rude. I say we give them 15 seconds then freakin’ zap’em! Even better (If I were king), I’d issue electric collars like we do for dogs and when people’s bad behavior begins, send a current through them that’ll make’em think twice! Kudos to Regal. They’re on the right track.” Personally, I think that’s a little excessive. As we assemble the RP, we should watch that we don’t simply punish people for every minor infraction. AB in Providence, for instance, relates that “while waiting for the bus, I saw a woman who sat in her car and let it IDLE for over ten minutes while she read the paper. Mind you it was a comfortable, dry 65 this morning so there was no need to leave the car running for heat or air conditioning. What a waste of gas… and oxygen.” I agree, of course, since I spend a lot of time in California and am very green now. But I’m not sure environmental insensitivity should classify somebody as worthy of detainment. “It works both ways,” says Philip of Smithtown, NY. “How about theater chains start having some respect for their paying patrons and eliminate the commercial advertisements before the movie. I think it is rather rude on the part of the theater chains to go in to a movie after having paid $8 or $9/ticket and be subjected to 5 to 10 minutes of advertisements. If I want advertisements, I can watch TV!” Now there’s a solution! Big screen! Your own couch! And TV, too! What a thrill!