Aisle etiquette

Here is a Dear Abby article my aunt sent me from December 7, 2008. It sums up pretty well the idea of “aisle etiquette” — the act of staying to the right on common pedestrian thruways.

DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to the idea of keeping to the right? Most drivers observe this rule in their cars, but as soon as their feet hit the pavement, all memory of it vanishes. Our sidewalks, airports, grocery stores and shopping malls have become free-for-alls.

I was taught in school that keeping to the right prevents accidents. People have crashed into me with their grocery carts as I made a right turn from one aisle to the next and they are making a left turn along the left side. Then they look at me as if I’m in the wrong place.

Rules like this are designed to make life easier. It seems a growing number of people don’t realize this is common courtesy or just don’t care. I hope that by mentioning this in your column that it will remind people so our sidewalks, stores and malls will be safer for all who are walking.

If people will remember to stay to the right and pass on the left, they will see that these important rules of the road make all traffic move more smoothly. — TIRED OF THE DO-SI-DO IN ATLANTA

DEAR TIRED: I’m pleased to print your reminder that there would be fewer collisions — of every kind — if we practiced good manners more of the time. And speaking as someone who has sashayed up my share of the center of supermarket aisles, I promise to be more careful in the future. Good manners are a manifestation of the respect and concern we have for others.

Seems like a good idea to me!


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (, 2008-2009. (Except Dear Abby article)

Waiting… and waiting… and waiting

Most people have worked service jobs at one point in their lives. And so most of us know one thing: they stink.

My mother was a grocery store cashier for 23 years. She was great at her job in many ways, but one was that she made a point of being kind and courteous to each person that came through her line. As a little girl watching her carry that attitude with her everywhere she went, I learned a lot about how to treat others.

When we are behaving as customers, it is easy to be frustrated at any variety of things. Only one check-out line is open, someone is paying with all coins–no bills, the person behind the counter is new and doesn’t know how to run their register yet, the waiter is covering another person’s section and has full tables….  It is easy to forget how it feels to be the person who’s working.

When I go to the store, I make sure to ask the cashier how their day is going and make chit-chat with them (if they are responsive to it). I am sure to say “please” and “thank you” to my server, even if they are just refilling my water glass. I look past my frustrations at a long wait to the possible reasons for the situation: someone was mis-scheduled, someone called in sick, someone quit suddenly, someone hurt themselves in the kitchen and had to go to the ER. There are any number of reasons, and often-times when I ask, my instincts are right. This server isn’t a jerk or doing a “bad” job, they are just handling poor circumstances. So I try not to make their day worse by being another angry customer. In doing so, the wait feels more tolerable and worthwhile, because I am making that person’s day a little easier to handle. Who couldn’t feel good about that?


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (, 2008-2009.

Lint-bunnies and plastic baggies

I live in an apartment complex with shared washers and dryers all over the complex.  Typically the laundry area is kept pretty tidy, even though they are in damp musty basements. But today as I began my six (long overdue) loads of laundry, I was taken aback by the room. Spills of laundry detergent on the washers, dryer sheets, plastic bags and lint-bunnies littered the floor.

Now, I’ll admit I forget to clean the lint filter from time to time, so I didn’t mind cleaning out someone else’s lint, but the large mess in the room prompted me to write a message about messes. It’s pretty simple: clean up after your own messes, wipe up your spills, pick up what you drop, and if you are a saint, tidy up a mess you didn’t even make.  I bet we’ll all make our moms proud.


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (, 2008-2009.