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Sorry, what did you say?

December 6, 2010

Recently I’ve begun noticing how society, specifically manners, have changed over the years I’ve been alive, and I think it is indicative of societal shifts in general as well. Take this example phone conversation from 1995:

Person A: Hello, I am looking for a new VHS player, could you tell me what you have at your store?
Person B: Sure, we have three brand new models. What price range are you looking for?
Person A: I don’t know maybe hywdygdw?
Person B: Pardon me?
Person A: Sorry, maybe around $50?

Now take this example of the same conversation from 2010:

Person A: Hello, I am looking for a new blu-ray HD DVD player, what do you have?
Person B: Sure, we have forty-three brand new models. What price range are you looking for?
Person A: I don’t know maybe hywdygdw?
Person B: What was that? I couldn’t hear you.
Person A: Sorry, maybe around $45?

In these two examples, Person B responds differently depending on the year. In 1995 the blame for the problem goes on self, in order to not put shame on the other. In 2010 the blame is put on Person A, basically saying, “it’s you own fault we’re having a hard time with this conversation, so you need to speak up or something.”

People 10 years ago, I believe, had a different understanding, at least externally, of what manners mean and how they should work out. It’s a simple example, but, as I mentioned at the beginning, I think it’s telling of the changes that have and are occurring in personal interactions. People, in general, aren’t so concerned about the other person, but about being right and being recognized as such.

Just my current musings. But I think I’m right.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. vickchick permalink
    December 9, 2010 4:49 am

    There is a huge difference in manners depending on where one lives, too. In Wisconsin, the teens (overall) were so respectful and helpful in stores and restaurants. In the South, many of them act like you are bothering them that you showed up at their place of work. Or maybe I should say “employment”. 🙂

    It’s a sad thing that manners have gone by the wayside. Common courtesies are signs of common grace, but they are disappearing as the individual is now number one. I am happy that my kids are teaching their kids manners. It IS a big deal to be kind to one another.

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