A little stool-full of courtesy

First, I apologize for not posting anything in so long!  It has been… well… a difficult August. BUT! It is over over over. So, on with the good stuff!

I was perusing my personal Facebook account today, and got a real kick at what one of my friends posted. It seems that her coworkers had forgotten a very important part of restroom etiquette, and so someone (not she) took it upon themselves to educate the women of the office. Then my friend posted it to share with all of us. (I have no clue who wrote this little blurb, so I apologize for the lack of recognition…)  Without further ado:

What is a Courtesy Flush?
A courtesy flush is meant to be just that, a courtesy for others. If you know ahead of time you are about to pay the price for last night’s over-indulgences, you may want to consider flushing the toilet several times during your visit in order to minimize unpleasant odors. The common belief is that most unpleasant odors are generated between delivery and reception, if you get my drift. This type of courtesy flush is supposed to take the offenders out of the game as soon as possible, thus reducing the total exposure time for others.

Now ladies I know some of us don’t want to admit that yes, girls poo too. But come on. You do it. And it stinks. Admit, and move on. (Me and my gal pals on the other hand can’t stop talking about our bodily functions. It’s a source of daily humor in our conversations!!!)

And to you water conservationists, remember: your poo might not smell that bad to you, but that bean burrito from last night has a funny way of making other people want to ralph. So save them the trauma and spend the extra water. You’re clever–you’ll find other ways to make up for the extravagance.


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Bad motorcyclist! Bad!

How many of you have parked in, or blocked, a disabled parking space (or ramp) for convenience? Just a quick run inside–it won’t hurt anyone, right? Well, it might not hurt anyone, but it terribly insensitive.

Last night, I dropped off my fiance at work and saw that a motorcyclist had parked his or her bike in the loading zone between two disable parking spots, rendering the loading area completely useless (and therefore the spots very useless). The nerve! Perhaps the biker thought it was more considerate to take that space than a standard parking space (the latter of which can be annoying indeed, but it isn’t illegal or nearly as insensitive). That driver made a misguided decision. Imagine being a person in a wheel chair. Not only might you have to traverse snow-piled sidewalks in the winter (often rendering you home-bound in snowy conditions), but getting around in general can be difficult. So consider the frustration one might feel if they could not utilize the parking area designated for loading and unloading wheel chairs. Especially when the spots are there specifically for the disabled. Frustrating.

With this in mind, here is some information to know and some easy things you can do to be more considerate to disabled individuals:

  • Shovel the snow off your sidewalks after the snowplows have passed (so the person can get to the street).
  • Never ever park in a disabled spot (or loading area) if you do not have the correct certification.
  • Don’t assume a disabled person is incapable of doing things for themselves. If they need help, they will ask. You can offer assistance, but be sure to always ask first before acting.
  • Never pet a guide dog or feed them treats.
  • Guide animals are allowed in all public places including restaurants and hotels.
  • Don’t touch a person’s wheelchair or scooter without permission. To many, it is an extension of their body, making that action offensive or off-putting.
  • Don’t ask a person’s disability. That is incredibly inappropriate.
  • Don’t assume that a disability is visible from the exterior. Many illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, may not be visibly in its early stages.
  • Hold doors, hold elevators, hit the disabled door-opener button, press the elevator floor, and many other courteous actions which you would do for anyone!
  • Support businesses run by the disabled. An example of this is Uptown Bill’s Small Mall in Iowa City, Iowa. Click on the link to read Bill’s story.
  • Volunteer for associations that assist the disabled.


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Red (Faced) Tape at the DMV

In the DMV the other morning, I noticed the most appalling behavior. A  DMV worker, let’s call her Sally,  was managing a customer’s routine request (let’s call her Ronda). Sally told Ronda  to fill out a few specific forms in an informative tone, which should have resolved her problem. Immediately Ronda threw her hands on her hips and became very snippy with Sally. Speaking to her like a child, Ronda indicated she had filled out the forms and said, “If you would stop and listen to what I am saying instead of jumping to conclusions, maybe you might understand what I am saying.”  Unphased by Ronda’s tone and courteous still, Sally said, “I’m sorry. Please explain what you need.” The conversation continued and within a few moments Ronda snapped at Sally again , “That’s why I’m here! I didn’t step into line on a whim. That guy over there told me to come here and speak with you. And don’t you think I’m about to keep running back and forth because you all don’t seem to know how to do your jobs.”  The conversation continued from there, with Ronda continually growing angry at the ever-calm Sally. I phased out at that point to tend to my own business, but it left me with a lot of thoughts about what transpired.

First, since when did adults believe it is acceptable to behave like toddlers? Ronda threw a tantrum in the DMV fully expecting everything to go her way because she expressed her anger. In my opinion, I would think being kind and courteous would have facilitated the resolution to her complaint much more quickly.

Second, when Ronda grew upset from the start, it was clear to me that she would have gotten angry at anybody. Sally was just the first face to come along. That isn’t very considerate of Ronda. It is fine to be upset with the red tape in our law system, but the people behind the counters don’t make the rules. They are likely as frustrated as you are with the system. What would have been better in this situation would be to ask questions to clarify what Sally meant while including the fact that Ronda had indeed filled out some forms.

My third feeling about this event was admiration! Sally kept her cool with Ronda, even after Ronda insulted Sally’s ability to listen and do her job. Amazing. Sally is an example of a terrific employee and person. Rather than accelerate the situation by reacting to Ronda, Sally provided information and assistance clearly and calmly to her and managed to get the frustrated customer out of the DMV without any major incident.

Challenge: “Follow-through” style courtesy

Absentminded courtesy is commonplace in our society. How many times have you done this: 

Walking down the stairs at work, you see a colleague coming up the opposite direction, and you say,  “Hey, how are you?” without stopping to hear his/her response. 

It was your way of saying “Hello” right? Neither of you probably bothered to give or hear an answer because it was not expected.  There’s nothing wrong with this practice, but why not change it up? Here’s a good challenge:

Just for one day, follow-up your “How are you’s” with another question. It could be, “Is it supposed to rain today?” or “Is your work day going quickly?” or,  it could be, “Wow, you seem rushed. Anything I could do to help?” It could also be, “Did you cut your hair? You look different.” Anything will do. What it tells the person opposite you is: someone caresYou cared enough to connect with him/her past the typical “Hello’s” and “How are you’s” that are usually met with absent-minded (or inaccurate) responses. And that makes you pretty darn terrific!

Bonus: you will be amazed at the exciting new things you learn or the way it will make you feel. I recommend taking on this challenge when you don’t have a crazy schedule. You might find yourself in some lively, unexpected conversations that slow you down (worthwhile I promise)!


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.







Sometimes, people can’t tell. So, remember folks: be careful with the caps usage in writing. People might end up taking it the wrong way.


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Dressing for the occassion

I’m getting married this year to a pretty terrific guy. And the wedding is not your typical white wedding: no white dress, no penguin suit, no bridal party, no church, no diamond ring, no white cake… you get the idea. But when my beloved said he wanted to wear a Tuxedo T-Shirt to our nuptials, I had to say, “Oh, hell no.”

There’s a lot of debate between him and I about dressing up for occasions.  Should someone wear clothes they would otherwise not even have in their closet if they feel like they must, out of respect?  I say yes. He says… NO!  It’s a tricky situation. He wants to be himself. He doesn’t wear dress pants and dress shoes, ties or tucked-in shirts.  And he has more respect for other people (truly) than some others who make the gesture of respect in appearance but don’t act with the same respect through their words and actions. And of course there is the question, what is it going to hurt to put on a dress outfit to show that person you care about their important day or event?  His question is, how is it really hurting that person to let their friend/colleague be himself?

So the question is, do you conform to society’s rules–even if it makes your stomach turn–to show respect?  Or do you be yourself through and through and be respectful in all the other ways that seem to matter the most?


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2009.

The do’s and don’ts of being a customer

I have worked in customer service for a number of years. When we are the customer, consideration for the person behind the counter is important. So here are some do’s and don’ts of being a customer:


  1. …talk on your cell phone or text
  2. …act as though the person behind the counter doesn’t exist
  3. …pay with pennies or coins
  4. …leave refrigeratable items in your basket that is stowed away where the cashier won’t fine it until much later
  5. …get angry with the cashier if you don’t have cash, or your card doesn’t work
  6. …get testy with the cashier if the price rang up for the wrong amount (they don’t enter the bar codes and prices, they just ring up the groceries)
  7. …change your mind half way through to paper after they’ve bagged your things in plastic
  8. …present your coupons after they’ve hit the total button
  9. …knock things over in the aisle and not pick them up
  10. …walk away as they ring things up to look at “one last thing”


  1. …say “hello” or some other friendly greeting
  2. …smile
  3. …give them coupons up front
  4. …give them your cloth bags right away
  5. …be sure you are following the 10 items or less rule if you are in that lane
  6. …give them the items that you change your mind on, rather than leaving them on a shelf or in a cart to go bad (if refrigerated)
  7. …let them know something on their shelf is expired
  8. …tell them if a price is wrong
  9. …make chit-chat (if you are a chitty-chatty type of person)
  10. …have your payment method ready
  11. …mind your children
  12. …talk with your counter-part after you have acknowledged the cashier
  13. …ask for a receipt if one isn’t given without frustration–in many small shops, they give receipts if asked rather than as an automatic action
  14. …tell their supervisor they were especially helpful if they were
  15. …thank them for their assistance

I like to imagine that being friendly to those who provide service might make that person’s day better, and it might promote more positive interactions with future customers. It’s worth the effort no matter the outcome!


© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.