Treating people like people

OK, I’ve vented in this column before on this very subject, but some of you are still not listening.

One of my biggest pet peeves is being at a store where the customers treats the clerks like they aren’t even there. Many times they are on a cell phone having some overly-mundane conversation while they are buying groceries or some other items.

Here’s a news flash. Those people who are assisting you are real people. They deserve your attention for the minute or so they are assisting you.

What makes it even worse is the conversations these people are having.

I will give people a free pass if they are using their cell for important conversations. But mostly it’s something meaningless that can be held off to a later time.

It can also hold up the line if the clerk has to ask this customer on the phone a question multiple times.

It’s almost like these people talking on their phones think they are above the people who handle their groceries. They don’t feel the need to address them I guess.

That’s not right.

I guess when our mothers were teaching some of us etiquette, correct cell phone usage never came up – because we didn’t have them back then.

I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I know enough not to treat anyone like they are below me.

Then there might be a faction of people that think these clerks are suppose to be at their beck and call since they are getting paid for it.

That’s still no reason to treat them this way.

Can you tell these people have hit a sore subject with me?

Maybe it’s my former grocery store bagger days that lead me to be so adamant about this issue.

I have seen some restaurants like Subway with signs indicating to customers to stay off their phones when ordering.

That’s a good thing, but it’s sad that many people have to be told that. And guess what, people still end up on the phone and ignoring the sign.

It’s probably the same people who drive and talk and pretend they are the only ones on the road – especially at four-way stops.

I guess it all boils down to treating people like people.

It’s about time some people learned how to do that.

Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or