You may remember a while back I spoke up to a group of teenagers in our local town when they used the word 'retard' in a particularly derogatory way. I don't like the word, never have and never will, and in that instance it was used as an insult towards disabled people. Not a great idea in front of a special needs mum whose sleeves are rolled up more often than not. So yesterday, there I was, in the town again when three girls, looking about seventeen years old, sauntered into a shop, pushed in front of me in the queue and dumped their items on the counter. I didn't say anything because I was still contemplating whether to get a packet of ginger-bread men. Two of the girls were tapping away on their touchscreen mobile phones whilst the other was digging around in her purse after being asked for £1.50. She slammed the money on the counter, never uttered a word then walked out. The other two girls stepped forward. I, meanwhile, still contemplating the ginger-bread men, watched as both girls continued tapping away on their phones, never uttered a word as they handed over the money, then also walked out of the shop. I looked at the assistant and she smiled sweetly then said, "can I help you?" as though it was the norm to use a mobile phone whilst being served in a shop. The fact that the words 'please' and 'thank you' don't seem to exist in the English language so far as those three girls were concerned didn't seem to matter one iota.
I shook my head in disgust. I was brought up to use my manners. I am bringing Amy up to use manners. Is there something so uncool about using manners these days? Do teenagers of a certain age think it's wrong to be polite, to look up from their mobile phone whilst someone is acknowledging them?
It isn't cool to act like a diva with no manners; it makes you look ridiculous. And it won't get you very far when the day comes for you to venture out into the big wide world of employment. You might know how to use an iPhone and how to download apps and get around Facebook's constant updates, but manners will always be needed in your future, even when iPhones have gone out of fashion.
And I never did get the ginger-bread men.