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Staff column

Sun Advocate publisher

Maybe informal has gone a little too far

There was a time in our society when things were pretty formal amongst most of the population. People dressed up when they left their homes, even when they went down to the grocery store. They made sure they looked nice when they went out to dinner. Polite society ruled. Off color jokes were reserved for the bar or a men's club. No one ever wore jeans to church or shorts to a symphony.

It was just the way it was.

I have never been one that stood on formality. I have always thought that the actions of a person, their demeanor, their temperment was more important than what they wore. Long hair or short hair, I didn't care. People should not be judged, just like one should not judge a book based on its cover.

I was once told by an older gentleman when I was young that people act more properly when they are dressed up. He felt that when people get lazy about their dress they get lazy about their actions and attitudes. I scoffed at that at the time; I thought he was just a stuffy old fool.

In recent years I have begun to believe I was wrong about what he thought.

The reason? Well the proof is in the pudding. As our society seems to dress down more and more, it becomes less polite, less enjoyable. Manners often go out the door.

While I have noticed this it all came to a head the other morning while I was standing in line at a convenience store with a cup of coffee in my hands. Now I was surrounded by a bunch of working guys in that store; they had on all kinds of uniforms, were on their way to work or stopping in for a break. Right in the middle of the line of these hard working, blue collar guys was a young man about 25 with his pajamas on. He had his 20 something girl friend with him and she had her pajamas on too. Neither had combed their hair (and both heads of locks looked very greasy) and they wore slippers on their feet. They were thumbing through the food at the hot counter like they owned it all.

The girl friend yelled at the woman behind the counter about the fact there wasn't some kind of sandwich and she wanted one. When she was told no more would be coming out for about 10 minutes she threw a fit. The pair left the line and stomped around the store looking at everything and complaining loudly. At the same time they kept kissing each other.

Meanwhile I worked myself through the line noticing that no one (including me) was now selecting anything from the hot counter. The guys around me were in no way snobs, but I did here one guy say to one of his working buddies "Can you believe those two. Guess they couldn't get anyone to serve them breakfast in bed, so they came down here, right out of bed." The other guy laughed.

I left the store before the pajama gang did so I didn't see what happened after, but it did put some ideas in my head; ideas about convenience store manners. Here's a list after discussing it with some other people and asking them how they felt. I am sure that those who work in conveniece stores could expand on it to.

*Don't wear pajamas to the store, even the conveniece store. You can call them leisure pants or whatever you want, but they are still pajamas to most of us. Also don't wear them to pump gas, into restaurants or actually anywhere in public.

*Signs of affection are good, but if you have to kiss someone more than 3 times in thirty seconds, get a room.

*Hot counters are a convenience for customers, not a toy box for you to go through. I have slapped my grandkids hands for sticking their fingers in the icing on a cake on the table at home, so better watch out. Someone might slap yours for handling all the breakfast sandwiches.

*Don't block the entire coffee counter because you need to get three kinds of flavors of coffee in your cup, three different creamers and then stand there in the middle and put 10 teaspoons of sugar in your brew. Move a little to the side so others can get some too.

*Don't pour your half drank Coke on the pavement outside your car so others can step in it. Drink it all or find a drain. In the summer it makes every thing sticky and in the winter it turns to ice. I as a pedestrian would appreciated not having sticky shoes or falling on my butt because of your actions.

*If you pulled up and paid at the pump for fuel, but still need to go in and get a drink or use the facilities, move your car away from the pumps before you go in.

*If you use the john in the store, flush the damn toilet or urinal. And put the seat down.

*Please don't pay with pennies or dump a whole load of change on the counter and ask the clerk to sort it out for you. This is especially true when there is a rush on in the store, like when people are going to work.

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