“Me First”

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Yesterday I took my granddaughter shopping for boots at our local independent shoe store. She has specific needs to fit her feet, and we always go there for the service they provide. Needless to say, most of the customers have particular needs and waiting on them takes a little time. We know that we will get the same attention when it is our turn.

I asked our favorite sales woman how she was. She said she was stressed by the customers “who had changed” from her original time with the store. When I asked why, she just repeated that they “had changed.” But watching her deal with two other customers I was able to see what she meant. The other two acted as if they alone were present and that they alone should be getting service at all times. This despite the obvious, that our sales woman was serving us also.

On the way home my granddaughter chatted with me about what I thought about what our friend had said at the store. I told her that many people are pretty selfish. I suggested that you may have to be taught to share and to recognize that others exist. Current American consumer culture constantly suggests that “you” are our only concern, that “you come first,” and that “you(the customer) are always right.” It is very easy to absorb this message and take it with you when you go to a store. What counter balance might there be? Once you are out of school, who reminds you to share? No wonder the internet is full of “selfies,” pictures one takes on oneself. Who needs other people? We can live in a world where we are “#1.” But as the old song said, “one is the loneliest number.”

13 thoughts on ““Me First”

  1. Elizabeth, this post reminds me of my first jobs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when customer service was a value I was proud to master. I am grateful that I grew up in a home where courtesy and manners were modeled and taught. Sometimes I feel that the “conveniences” provided by modern technology have contributed to lowering the bar for courteous and attentive person-to-person exchanges.

    Anyway, I am glad that your granddaughter has had the experience of getting shoes from an independent shoe store over time; and with you, her grandmother; also getting some input from a longtime sales associate.

    1. Thanks for adding your thoughts. I think that many young adults have spent more time on screen interactions rather than real face to face. The two types are very different. I find impatience seems to be fostered by screens, though I am not sure why.

  2. Another well done post, very thoughtful, on a topic that causes me to rant sometimes…being self-consumed is such an unlovely personality trait. AND I’m honest enough to say I wore it for decades…I could make justifications, my abusive/neglectful upbringing, but what’s the point. The good news is that when I hooked up with JESUS, the Holy Spirit’s transformative power began the process of sanctification–for which I’m so grateful. I’m able to like myself better now that I see I’m not the center of the world! Blessings to you 🙂

  3. It is certainly a growing trend. The trend seems to be the increasing recognition of our rights and wants, while at the same time a general decline of the appreciation of our responsibilities and duties. Having these in balance seems to be the most likely way to a healthy individual and a healthy society

  4. This is a world wide thing, Elizabeth, it is not only in the US that people behave like this. It rears its head in the work place too, and strangely, the very people that think they are number one are rarely the ones who produce the most.

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