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.

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.

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.

Little Tid-bits

I always feel extra special when someone remembers something about me I didn’t expect. It’s a wonderful way to connect with someone in a small, but sincere, way.

Remember little details about people and then followup on them later. This applies to everyone, from family to close friends, to acquaintances.  If my friend tells me about some concerns she has for her class, I try to ask about it later. Or if the same post office worker waits on me again, I might ask how his daughter is doing in art school.

Remembering things about people shows your interest in them and instantly bridges connections between both of you. It can transform mundane consumer interactions, it can brighten a day, it can overcome a previous negative interaction. Recalling the name of an acquaintance, the professional interests of a colleague’s partner, or the weekend goings-on of a friend or family member is a simple way to let someone know they are important to you–and worth remembering!


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

Easy way to boost your day: form a smile and give it away!

I just returned from Los Angeles last week. First trip to California and it was great! We went to Rodeo Drive and Venice Beach among other places. Fully expecting to have the Pretty Woman experience on Rodeo Drive, I made sure to put my best face forward to test my possibly unfair assumption. To each person who greeted me, I turned to them with a truly genuine smile and asked them how they were that day. It was amazing how they warmed up to me. The young woman at the Coach store and I spoke for awhile about our respective origins (Tokyo and Iowa), two other women and I exchanged our delight in the beauty of a Jimmy Choo shoe. I wonder how many of those sales people are ignored every day even though they are expected to promote the fluffiest of natures to their clientele. I bet I may have cheered up at least one of their afternoons!


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

She needed a Be Nice. card

While I was in LA last week, I only encountered one real occurrence of rudeness. We were running late and needed to get our bags from the bellman of the hotel, who had unfortunately gone missing. I asked the concierge, James, if he could get our bags so we wouldn’t miss our flight back to the east coast. He left to get the key and when he asked my friend for our baggage ticket, a woman who was in town for the same conference as me stepped in and said, “I need my luggage.” James said he needed to get our bags first and she responded snidely,  “I’ve been waiting here longer than anyone else and should be waited on first. I’m already ridiculously late!”  She had not been waiting longer than us, but we both kept tight lipped as James bewilderingly left to get her bags. She left with a smile and without offering him a tip. Then he returned to get our things.

Though I was ready to give her one of my pamphlets, I decided to forgo the opportunity since it would have caused us further delay and further stress for James. Let’s hope she figures out how to be a little nicer next time.

When we get impatient, I think it is important to remember that we don’t know the situation of those beside us and should always consider that they might be in an even greater hurry than we happen to be. This was definitely the case that night and poor James (who was not the bellman in the first place) was put in an uncomfortable position because of it.


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