Have a Good One

When I was young, clerks were taught to tell customers, “Thank you.” As a representative of the business, it was the clerk’s responsibility to let people know their patronage was appreciated. Somewhere along the way, it became the customer’s responsibility to thank the clerk for helping, though why this should be, I don’t know except that perhaps the clerks were young and had no manners, while those who shopped were a bit older and still under the influence of the etiquette they were taught.

Now, though the culture at large seems to talk more about being grateful — practicing an attitude of gratitude, as they say — people still don’t say thank you. In fact, customers have even stopped saying “thank you.”

For a while, the standard replacement for “thank you” was “have a nice day.” Then, apparently, even those trite words became too obsequious for that particular generation of clerks, and the best a customer could hope for was a pleasant rather than surly, “There you go.”

Now the standard exit comment seems to be, “Have a good one,” which irks me with its ambiguity. Have a good one what? Being too kind for my own good, I keep my mouth shut, offer a smile and say, “Same to you.” (That’s why I used to like self-checkout — I was at least guaranteed a pleasant checkout experience. Now, though, I am too lazy and too rebellious to use the self-checkout, so even when they are available, I don’t use those lanes.)

I’d worry about becoming a curmudgeonly old woman, ranting about the bad manners of the youth today, but the truth is, I am already a curmudgeon. Another truth is there is no reason to rail against the unmannerly young because few people of any age have manners.

I just googled “why don’t people have manners anymore,” and got over 200,000,000 results. Apparently, I’m not the only one noticing the lack of simple manners.

If I had to pick one of those numerous responses to explain this lack, I’d have to say it has more to do with a growing sense of entitlement rather than the decline of the family or the rise of electronic communication devices. People seem to think they don’t have to apologize to those they consider inferior to them, nor do they have to thank them, and in an entitled society, everyone thinks they are superior. (It’s one of the reasons many Americans supposedly will never penalize the rich, even the robber-baron rich, because they assume they too will be rich one day.)

Truthfully, I don’t care what the reasons for unmannerliness are. And as long as people treat me well, I don’t really care what words they use to acknowledge me. Mentioning the evolution from “thank you” to “have a good one” is more of a curiosity than a curmudgeonly outcry.

But, whatever.

Have a good one.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

9 Responses to “Have a Good One”

  1. mickeyhoffman Says:

    It depends some on what part of the country you happen to be in.(Wow that was an awkward sentence.) A few decades ago it bothered me when a store clerk would be so friendly because it seemed totally fake. I guess I just don’t notice “manners” very much. As long as I don’t get total rudeness I am ok with no exchanges. If you are buying something in a New York city store and are one in a line of ten, do not expect the cashier to say anything at all that is not directly necessary to complete the transaction. However, in general I find New Yorkers to be much friendlier when it doesn’t involve a transaction than people living in many cities where I have lived. Maybe it depends on whether or not the encounter is transactional or not?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Definitely it’s transactional, at least what I was talking about. It goes to that “servant” mentality. No one wants to feel like a servant even if they are in the service industry. The one time rudeness really bothers me during a transaction is when the transactor is talking to someone else while they are supposed to be dealing with me.

  2. Estragon Says:

    I learned early in my retail career that engaging positively with customers not only made them feel better about the experience, it made my day go better too. Most of the staff I coached over the years found the same. The few who didn’t were “encouraged” to find another job.

    The same applies to customers. Most respond well to polite and helpful staff. The few who insisted on power-tripping to the point of abusiveness to staff were “encouraged” (by whatever means necessary) to find another store.

    I agree there seems to be a growing culture of entitlement. Bob seems to have made it worse, or maybe just brought what was already there to the surface. People getting snippy just makes it harder.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      When I first heard the term “the great resignation” in relation to The Bob, I thought it meant that people were resigned to their fate. But no. It meant they were resigning from their jobs. They simply didn’t want to work anymore, or at least not at the jobs they had. And for some reason, even though it was their choice, they still got huge unemployment benefits. Some people didn’t want to go back to work because they made more not working. The Bob really did shake up the world and exacerbated their sense of entitlement.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Have a good whatever–and many more.

  4. Uthayanan Says:

    Have a good one for this year and the next year.

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