December 12, 2012

Changing Holiday Shopping Rudeness

This weekend, while doing my monthly grocery and house good shopping, I experienced some of the holiday shopping abuse that so many have written about. People nearly ran me over with their carts. One lady grabbed a candle that I was clearly reaching for and put it in her basket. I even had a car pull into a parking spot that I was definitely waiting for, with my blinker on and all. I even saw a shopper knock over a display of fine chocolates and just walk away. It was astounding.

But did I say anything to my fellow consumers for their blatant rudeness? No. In fact, I helped to pick up the chocolates. I even rationalized the car that took the spot I was waiting on. I mean, obviously, that car was in a bigger hurry than I was, right? I absolutely enabled their bad behaviors…I allowed them. Well, EurekAlert released information directly related to holiday shoppers and their behaviors.

According to EurekAlert, most consumers will not punish fellow consumers for their rudeness and bad behaviors. In fact, most will take the same routes I did; most consumers excuse bad behavior, avoid confrontation, or simply ignore bad behavior. For those bad behavior consumers that others see as a higher status than themselves, we will even hold them to a different standard and allow them to cut in line, create messes, or act rude. We all work so hard to fight against double standards, yet somehow they even sneak into our holiday shopping.

Moreover, most consumers will not punish other consumers who behave badly particularly if a store employee has already punished the behavior. I wonder if we feel like we should not speak up and complain. Perhaps we feel like we also have moments of bad behavior, so it is not our responsibility to be the politeness police. But why don’t we complain?

Why did I allow that lady to grab the candle from me? Why didn’t I point out the mess to the shopper who knocked over the chocolates? For me, I felt it was easier to just help deal with the mess and to just pick a different candle than to contribute more negativity to the holiday shopping, and I wasn’t even holiday shopping. I was just purchasing my monthly food and goods. But these are not good enough explanations. They are simply another excuse for bad behavior.

We all hear the complaints and issues that others have with the holiday season especially dealing with gift purchasing and gift giving. So many shout about how Christmas has become too commercialized and too material. Yet we allow others to behave negatively and badly. We become passive supporters of the bad behavior thus we also contribute to the focus on material items.

Had I not read this press release from EurekAlert, I am positive I would not have even thought about how I interact with those shoppers who ruin the holiday shopping for me. I would have continued to be a passive enabler, allowing bad behavior to influence my feelings on the holidays. Now, though, I think I will complain. I think I will point out when someone is being unnecessarily rude or disrespectful. The next time I see a shopper knock over a display or leave a section in complete disarray, I will say something.

We have a responsibility to each other to demand polite and happy and positive interactions. It is okay to let others know when they are not fulfilling their end of the social norms. If we want to take back the holidays and make them more positive, then we must act. We must choose positivity and happiness. And we must remind each other of these.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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