There is a man in our neighborhood that walks every day. I don’t know if it is for his health, because he likes being outdoors, or if he is simply looking to escape from home. I do know that he carries a plastic bag with him and uses it to pick up trash along his way.
A couple of days ago a friend posted a note on facebook about how she let a guy with only three items go ahead of her in line at Costco. Her comment? “I think he thought I was crazy!” Another person’s response? “That was nice of you. He’s probably not used to meeting nice people at Costco this time of year … you know how the public can get during the holidays!”
I have heard many people talking about — complaining about — how commercial the holiday season has become. Stores are not only opening early in the morning to kick off the holiday shopping season on Black Friday (3:00 am is a tad bit early for me, personally) but there are some that are now staying open on Thanksgiving Day itself. We decorate, bake, shop, visit, entertain, party and “enjoy” the holidays, whether we want to or not! All while we go about accomplishing our regular tasks and responsibilities as individuals, sons, daughters, parents, employees, employers and general members of society.
But what about taking a step back and using this opportunity to get into the spirit of the holidays without the stress? Whether it is the idea of “Pay It Forward” or “Do Unto Others”, there are little things you can do every day that may have a tremendous impact on someone else … and make you feel good at the same time.
* Next time you walk into a building, hold the door for the person coming in behind you; or better yet, open it and allow them to go first!
* Return a shopping cart for someone at the grocery store.
* If someone is standing in line behind you with a heavy purchase, can you help out in some way?
* Offer a greeting to the person sharing the elevator with you, rather than carefully staring at the numbers above the door.
* Can you pause in your driving to allow the person who wants to merge into your lane the opportunity to do so in front, instead of behind you?
It is the simple things, such as taking a bag to collect trash when you go for a walk, which can make a big difference. You might even find yourself continuing to do them when the holidays have passed!
Gandhi said it best:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
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Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness
may now be viewed at my website,
Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist
Speaker & Seminar Leader
“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,
not changing who you are.”